Craig's Report - November 11, 2006

A Rather Pleasant Surprise

As last week�s �Pineapple Express� scrubbed all the snow off of the hill from the top of Bear down as well as significantly reduced the snow above that and caused a number of minor washouts on the cat tracks, the forecast from Environment Canada that the valley might receive up to 15 cm of snow last night was certainly very welcome. Alas all the morning brought was a mix of rain and snow and a measly couple of centimeters of gruel in the driveway. What�s more the new web cam at the top of TImber didn�t look promising either, so it was a very pleasant, if rather exhausting, surprise to find myself wading through snow over my knees on upper Bear this afternoon.

The rain line appears to have been just above the base, for even by the bottom of the Bear lift, the snow was hiking boot deep and when I got on to Ballet (just above the Bear�s Den), I was slogging through dense powder up to the top of my gaiters. By the top of Bear it was at least up to my knees and coming back down Bear Ridge the frozen snow on my sweat pants made a nice lines just around my lower thighs.

It still amazes me how fast it can go from zero to something that even I might have skied, well at least on old skis (alas anything other than an old body is no longer an option). Surprisingly, no one other than critters had seemed to venture much above the Bear�s Den. Normally this time of year it seems the boarders at least are out if the grass is so much as frosty, so I can only assume that like me, most folks did not expect that much snow farther up or perhaps unlike me, they weren�t stupid enough to climb it until a trail was broken.

I mentioned that the top web cam now appears to be situated under the Timber Chair top station and from it you can see the new Lost Boy�s cafe and deck with Timber Bowl in the background. So far so good, but the top of Timber sits directly in the blast of the winds coming through Lost Boy�s pass and often gets scrubbed rather clean, so I wonder if there might not be many days when, like today, the snow looks thin when, I suspect, there is probably lots just a few meters away. I guess time will tell, but for now it might be worth keeping in mind that the conditions might be much better than they appear from there.

At 17:00 it is overcast and 1 C (as it has been pretty much all day) at the house.

A view of Lizard Bowl from the top of Bear. Note the picnic table that is almost buried.

The start of the walk wasn�t so promising, with just a thin layer of slop.

By near the bottom of the Bear Chair the depth had increased to reach the top of my hiking boots and it was starting to dry out. This is looking up Lizard Trail and the bottom of the chair is out of the shot to the right and a bit above me.

Easter Bowl and Lizard Bowl from near the bottom of Sunnyside. By this point the snow was a dense powder and up to the top of my gaiters.

Upper Lizard Bowl from the Bear Chair offload ramp. The gun tower is at the right and the top of the Face Lift is just visible towards the upper left. Here the snow was over my knees and even walking on the flats was tiring.

You don�t often see the top of Bear with completely undisturbed snow. This from the Bear Chair top station.

Cedar Bowl

The top of the Boomerang chair with the town of Fernie fuzzily in the background. It was lightly snowing up here at this point.

Skiing Bear Ridge probably still wouldn�t be smart, but it looked nice and if I had brought skis, I am sure I would have tried it.

This is about half way down Bear looking towards the Bear�s Den.

If you look closely you can see the transition from dark to snow covered trees is just above the valley floor. This is from a little above the Bear�s Den and near the top of Kodiak.