Craig's Report - September 11, 2007

Sweet September

September might be my favorite month in Fernie. With the summer lifts closed, quiet has returned to the hill along with crisp nights and beautiful, not too hot days and while it is still summer in most of the Northern hemisphere, the upper mountain has already taken on fall colours. Of course these aren't the extravagant affairs of an Eastern fall, but it is still quite lovely. With the danger of being a slightly moving obstacle to those with skill having passed, I have even ventured out for a few slow motion mountain bike runs.

I have seen no sign of any major changes to the hill for the upcoming season, but there does seem to be a fair amount of fine tuning going on, as has been common the last few seasons. I have heard that there will be no attempt to put snow making into lower Currie this season, but that the river work was undertaken because they had all the permits in place and they didn't want to miss the opportunity to get it done.

In addition to the new washroom at Timber top, blasting and cat work took place in a number of places around the mountain this season, including the top of Deer and the ski patrol trail from Currie, the Fall Out run that was added last season, the traverse across Lizard at the top of Bow, the entrance to Diamond Back at Trespass Trail and apparently the narrow rocky bit at the top of Currie Powder, although I haven't seen that myself. I imagine there are other spots I have missed or forgotten as well.

Coming down Timber bowl today, I could hear chain saws working away in the Big Bang, Mitchy Chute area, but could not make out what they are doing. With luck they may be opening up some of that stuff on the skier's right, which could allow a lot more of the slope to be easily used. There was also a helicopter flitting around, which appeared to be dropping stuff off on the ridge above Lizard Bowl. I have heard that they are installing some sort of cable up there to allow the patrol to travel more securely along the ridge for avalanche control. This could be a big plus if it means they are able to open things when socked in weather would otherwise keep the helicopter grounded and the bowls closed.

On a personal note, my son, having completed an uncertain couple of years of mechanical engineering at the University of Alberta, has decided to take a year off and sample the real world in an attempt to determine if engineering is really for him. So if you happen to know of any semi short term positions for an engineering student on hold, please either drop me a line and I will pass it on to him or contact him directly at He has a very brief story about himself and a resume at

At 17:00 it is sunny and 27 C at the house.

Timber Bowl dresses up in fall garb. Looking up Heartland from 100%.

Fall Out, the new alternate added last year at the bottom of Falling Star, has been completely cat groomed to remove the stumps etc and smoothly contour things.

As the only new structure on the hill (well there is a new carpenter's shop as well), the new washroom at the top of Lost Boy's has already been over represented in my reports.

Chain saws were buzzing over on Big Bang/Mitchy Chutes, but I could tell exactly what they were doing.

Completing work started last year, the entrance to Diamond Back from Trespass Trail has been re-sculpted down around the first steep part.

Polar Peak and the Currie Chute from Trespass Trail, just above the Bootleg Glades.

A colourful look up Concussion Chute to Polar Peak.

Logging and earth scraping have redone the entrance to the ski patrol trail that links lower Currie Bowl with Stag Leap.

The trail itself has been widened and smoothed so it appears it might be possible to groom it in the winter.

The slope on Stag Leap between the exit of the trail and the top of Deer has also been re-contoured and now has what looks like it will be a cat track down. This and the next picture were taken from the Deer chair unload.

The top of Silver Fox has also been smoothed and should reduce congestion on the track leading over to the Bear Chair load.