John's Report - December 16, 2007

Pretty Good

From “not horrible” to “pretty good” in one week; “not bad”! Making things even better from my point of view were the sparse crowds on the higher elevations. The 500 California college kids don’t arrive in force until Sunday night & the locals, taking advantage of FAR’s Community Appreciation Day free ticket give-away, tended to ski to the main groomers such as Bear and & Heartland.

Saturday saw a light snow all day; not a lot, perhaps two inches, but enough to cover the worst of the ice and put something down, which was a dense creamy snow that covered the nastiest stuff and allowed one to cut an edge. That's all it took to do wonders for Saturday’s Hill.

Arriving at the top of Lizard around 11 am on Saturday I was surprised to find lots of open tracks at the top Lizard Bowl. Bow trees was particularly soft allowing for uncut arcing turns over a very controllable surface. However, the next trip, which involved the bottom ½ of Freeway, was an icy journey, with the only option being to bomb the bottom of Freeway's ice since as attempts to check speed resulted in a frightening lack of control.

A brief foray off on to Cedar Ridge quickly revealed that area is not yet ready for prime time but Cruiser, which still hasn’t been groomed, was very nice off to the left. Even the bottom flats to the Haul-back were in good shape.

On the New Side, some of the main runs looked really icy but the lesser runs such Puff and the area below the Timber Traverse were in good shape.

The big surprise of the day was Bootleg Glades, which is my favourite way out of mid-Currie when I am not inclined to skate Trespass back White Pass Chair. Not only was Bootleg skiable, it was really skiable, offering good, trustworthy turns the whole way down. At first, I couldn’t understand it - how could it be early season & no stumps, dead falls, tangles of bush or rocks? The answer my friends was a major effort by FAR to turn Bootleg a real run, instead of jungle expeditionary trip. The top has been radically thinned and the thick treeline at the bottom of the first pitch is now very nicely thinned out and the alder thicketse on the second pitch has been reduced to a manageable Alder parkland, with many options for passage. Well done FAR.

We still need lots more snow but as its getting better all the time.

Day Lodge has seen a Face Lift

The Top of Bow Trees was nice & soft...

... making for some pretty powdery turns

Dipsy to Bear Chair had lots of traffic. A good thing it has a wide run as there were many many sliders prone to irratic, high speed movements all over main runs on the Hill.

This was taken from the top of Cruiser Gully at the bottom near where Cruiser & Cedar Centre more or less meet.

Same Gully but taken from the bottom in the vicinity of lower Spruce.

China Wall was closed off & for good reason - even side-stepping & slipping wasn't going to get you through the tangles.

White Pass once again lived up to its name on Saturday.

Bootleg, the highlight of the day. This picture of Bootleg was taken on Trespass Trial. I wasn't going to chance the run until some youth headed down & said, "if we can do it, you can too.". Thinking this was likely true, I followed.

This picture gives some idea of the clearing that has taken place on the 1st pitch. Note you can see right through the trees to opening below.

This picture is taken at the bottom of the 1st pitch of Bootleg at the former tree line and is of a view over the previously nearly impassable second pitch overlooking the bottom section of Gilmar Trail at the bottom of Currie Bowl. Everything on the far right was alright!

This of the last steep on Gilmar trail, looking up Currie Bowl. Still need lots of snow before this will be fun.