Jay's Report - March 02, 2007

On Special Assignment - Island Lake Lodge

While my fellow Craig�s Reporters and were pigging the legendary Fernie powder the other day, I was a few miles up the road at Island Lake Cat Skiing Lodge on a self imposed exile, a special assignment if you will. Island Lake Lodge can be a little like Alcatraz. You�re stuck there in what seems like an island surrounded by seas of powder that you would surely perish in if you tried to float out on your own. You are in a snow Cat with like minded men that have creative applications of good strong language and all have the same addictions. There are wardens (guides) that force you to endure miles of pillow soft vertical turns on your long suffering legs. And when the time comes for you to leave, they march you out to a snow Cat and unceremoniously drop you off in a parking lot leaving you to stare aimlessly, wondering what the hell you are going to do with the rest of your life.

So it was the last few days. I�ve been skiing for about 40 years and I have never; that is, NEVER, had a bigger or better powder snow experience (except perhaps in the 70�s when I hallucinated that I did, but really didn�t). It was ridiculous, sick, outrageous, unbelievable, amazing, euphoric, tantalizing, unforgettable and on the virtual edge of being far too much fun to take. My image of these last few days will be a life long Happy Place. When I�m in need of a Cappuccino at 5 pm on Sunday and all the coffee shops are closed; when a Mountie pulls me over for speeding on Hwy 3; when the Ghost Riders lose a hockey game; when I�m at the top of White Pass and Currie Bowl is about to open but I�m totally starved and I don�t have $20 to buy a baked potato; when I�m riding my Hobie Cat down the hill at night and approaching the snow fence by the reservoir; when it�s pouring rain on Boxing Day and I�m staring at my Christmas present (new skis), crying; when I have to go to the bathroom and I�m standing next to the Bear�s Den; when I�m in the line up at Extra Foods and some jerk at the check out is counting out dimes, nickels and pennies; I will remember with grate fondness and affection��my Happy Place.

Speaking of coins, it is inconceivable how our esteemed Guide, well known local Steve Kuijt, managed to launch himself into Butt Dart folklore by amazingly dropping $2.19 in coins (all at once) into the competition beer stein with unabashed confidence. We know you�ve been practicing Steve but we still love you anyway. And yes, we�ll be back next year to kick your Butt Darting Butt.

I missed seeing Van Morrison in Calgary to partake in my special Island Lake assignment. But I was thinking that Van the Man no doubt had powder snow in mind when he wrote, �You fill my world with gladness, take away all my sadness, ease my troubles that�s what you do.�

It�s -2 C at the hill. The forecast looks promising for Griz Days this weekend.


Tom's head.

Gary, I think.

Mr. Smooth

Max Factor

Big Don.

Snow Farming

Mr. Happy Feet


Max Factor

A small portion of Steve Kuijt's prized ski collection. This alone is worth the trip up to Island Lake winter or summer just to see. Steve also has a similiar collection of ski boots dating back to the days of the Inca.