John's Report - January 11, 2007

PROOF POSITIVE - Fernie has the Best Snow in the World

With frigid temperatures predicted until Saturday, the preference was to stay in and read about skiing. I�ve suggested, and heard others say, the BC Rockies may have the best skiing in the world. On Thursday night, using the website, about 460 ski areas worldwide were arranged by snow depth. Fernie is in the top twenty, but for the reasons set out below, we and a few dear neighbours, are actually in the top five (the ranking of the five can be debated over beer).

Number one was Mt. Baker, WA; a rain-soaked volcano just south of Vancouver�s Lower Mainland. Speaking of which, who guessed that Grouse Mtn on Vancouver�s North Shore is #2? In fact, most of the top 20 are on the soggy coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest (yes, even you - Whistler/Blackcomb).

In the Rockies, where we actually ski on powder and not cement, of the top 20, the only places of any significance are: #14 Schweitzer Mt. in N. Idaho; #15 Whitewater, near Nelson, BC & #19 Fernie. To round off the list: #21 Lake Louise, AB; #24 Castle Mt., AB; #26 Kicking Horse near Golden, BC; #35 Big White, BC & #37 Sunshine, AB.

In contrast, the first big US name is Squaw Valley, CA at #30, followed by our neighbours in Whitefish, Mt. at #45; and then Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and all with a base much less than ours.

Best in the world, that�s what I say. Anyone wishing to argue the point has to buy the beer.

I last skied Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. Tuesday afternoon brought rain to just below White Pass Chair & just above the Bear�s Den. Above the rain, up White Pass, was real nice falling snow but thick fog.

The view on Tuesday around 2 pm into Currie Bowl from the top of the 123s.

The blind trip across the traverse into Currie Glades was worth it, with what seemed to me to be at least 10cm of fresh powder in the trees.

Some of this powder was undoubtedly wind-sift blown off Timber Ridge. This picture, taken above the cliffs in Currie Glades, gives some idea of the intense winds on Tuesday. The same winds kept the higher elevations of the mountain so beautifully groomed over both Tuesday & Wednesday.

Wednesday, the snow stopped but the winds continued, keeping things silky smooth. This picture, taken around 1 pm, shows lots of clean lines on Sun Up.

Wind grooming at work on Wednesday in Lizard by Facelift.

I'm not exactly sure from where I took this picture of Timber Chair & Lost Boys.

Likewise, with respect to this picture of Concussion (Currie) Ridge and the Saddle.