Heinz's Report - April 05, 2004

The End is Nigh.....

I don�t know how much longer the ski hill can remain open. You can actually see the snow evaporate off the hill during the day.

Between when we start out for the day in mid-morning and when we return by early afternoon, we can see a marked difference in how much snow remains in our back yard. The groomers are desperately trying to find snow anywhere they can and move it to keep the trails down to the lifts open. The worst connection is to the Bear Express where the trail from the Bear�s Den to Dipsy is getting narrower every day. The only real way is to use Elk, but careful navigation and trade-off is required between the slop on the sunny side � skier�s left - and the hard frozen part of the run in the shade on skier�s right. Another dicey connection is down to the Boom Chair from the Haul-Back. Most of the left side (again in the sun and skier�s left) of Lower North Ridge is bare with only the shady part on the right with some snow cover � about 20 feet wide. Wallaby is worse, with most of the big right hand turn gone � careful route planning between the bare ground is required. Meadow down to the Timber Chair is getting very wet and soggy � water skis would be the required equipment - but bare spots are still thankfully rare.

Higher up the hill the skiing is still reasonably good, but conditions vary by the hour and from day to day. We usually start out in Cedar Bowl and Cruiser has been remarkably good in mid morning and in the sun, but this morning it was still very hard at 11:30. Concussion Chutes have been quite good for the past weeks, but they are getting very soft and heavy by noon already. Most surprising has been the condition of the big, steep three in the front � Decline, Sky Dive and Stag Leap. The usual Volkswagen sized bumps have collapsed in the warmth and the runs are very skiable and pleasant. Stag leap is even smooth in comparison, but getting soft and heavy. However, because of the variability in the conditions, today they were closed because they didn�t soften up enough. The north facing ridges such as Easter, and Cedar Ridge are experiencing the same varying conditions � sometimes they are closed because of ice - and then are opened later in the day when the temperature softens them up sufficiently. It�s becoming difficult for the ski patrol to keep the closure signs up to date as the conditions change so quickly. It�s a bit of guessing game, but keeps the interest up.

I�ve heard that the Powder, Pedal, Paddle has been moved up to this weekend, so I�m guessing that this weekend may be the end of it. The forecast is for double digit temperatures for the rest of this week and going into the weekend. There�s only so much the groomers can do to keep the lifts open.

At the end of the day I got the bikes out, removed last year�s dirt and winter�s dust and decided to go for a quick turn around the resort. It�s time to think about all those fine summer adventures coming up!

The Ski-in to our house. If that little bit of snow on the right goes, that's it for me!!

The Elk Valley with no snow. The locals are saying that we are about a month ahead.

The evidence of the groomers trying to keep the trails down to the lifts open by moving snow from wherever they can.

Bingo on Cruiser. Still hard by mid-day today.

Rod in Curry Creek. Soft and heavy!

Alice and Bingo in Curry Creek. Watch out for those trees sticking out now.

Joe in his annual Speedo run. I wish I looked that good at 72! (Photo courtesy of Barb Watts)

Time to get that bike out and head out to new adventures