August 19, 2000

Home Again

We arrived home yesterday from a car (fly and rent) trip through Eastern Canada and found the valley choked with forest fire smoke. We had heard of the large fires in Montana, but were unaware of the numerous fires around Cranbrook and Koocanusa. One plume was even disturbingly visible behind one of the peaks down the valley and the wood smoke taste and smell was obvious whenever you were outside.

Fortunately it was much clearer today my son and I managed to slip out to check out what was happening with the new chairlift. We opted to wimp out and ride the Elk Chair for the first half of our ascent. Our season passes granted us a free trip, but only after having to climb up to the ski shop to get a ticket <grumble>, so the net result was that it might have been quicker to walk. Riding certainly was easier though.

The Bear T-Bar is now gone and a significant amount of terrain modification is in progress to accommodate the increased traffic that a high speed detachable lift will bring to upper Lizard Bowl. Quite a bit of the foundation work for the lift has also been done. The accompanying pictures and captions have the highlights of what we came across.

Now I wonder if they have any plans for that T-Bar?

Perce Rock, on the Gaspe peninsula, was certainly one of the most spectacular pieces of scenery we encountered on our whirlwind Eastern trip. Indeed the Gaspe was by far the most scenic area we visited, although to be fair when we visited the Cape Breton Highlands portion the weather conditions were far from ideal.

We dropped in on friends who ski in Fernie in the winter and in the summer operate a small (in terms of rooms and cabins) resort on something like 800 acres of gorgeous sea side property in Port Daniels on the Gaspe. Here they clown with Tara and Chris by practicing their ski stances in anticipation of the coming season.

Unfortunate timing meant we could only stop here briefly, but anyone considering a trip to the Gaspe should really check this spot out at

The new building at Lizard Creek Lodge is looking much more finished these days.

The Bear T-Bar is no more <sniff>. The towers have been removed from the old lift line (left center) and a wide new run (Upper Dipsy? Upper Lizard Trail?) has been cut from the Bear run to the bottom of Ballet.

Looking down the new lift line from where Tower 8 will be, on Ballet just above Dipsy. Many of the tower locations already have the foundations in place, but some, like this one, are still just holes.

This shot shows the top tower and top station foundations from the top of the Bear run. The patrol shack is at the extreme right.

The relative positions of the gun tower, lift top and patrol shack are clearer in this image. The off loading area will be somewhat higher than before, but not as high as the gun tower.

The reshaping of China Wall. I don't think they are done with this yet, but it appears there will be a fairly wide corridor with a moderate pitch crossing the steep section from the skiers right to left. This is vaguely reminiscent of Heartland and it appears that steeper terrain will remain for those who prefer it.