Craig's Report - January 10, 2006

The Good, the Bad and the Closed

The Good was very good; the bad was not so bad and the closed was widespread. The hill reported well over a meter of snow in the last week and over 40 cm in the 24 hours before this morning's report and the snow continued most of the day up top. Unfortunately the Fernie curse was active at the bottom as it alternated between snow and rain before finally settling on the latter. Up top there was a ton of snow that while not fluff, was very high quality and stayed quite good down to about the top of the Haul Back or even a bit lower in Cedar. Below this it was very heavy, but not really annoying until you got to my driveway where it engendered lots of moans and curses from both my snowblower and its operator.

As expected, Currie was closed as was Lizard right up to the Bear lift line and the only things open into Cedar this afternoon were King Fir and Spruce. For a while even the White Pass chair was closed as they took a few extra shots at the head wall above Timber Bowl. I thus spent several runs in the old side �triangle� (plus King Fir), cycling on the Boom chair with mega snow and few folks about. It was all eerily reminiscent of skiing here 15 years ago.

Despite the limited number of folks, the even more limited amount of open terrain was quickly tracked and even mogulled, but that didn�t matter for it was all still good. The feel was definitely prime Fernie and that feeling was definitely good. Not so good was how completely soaked I eventually got. Once I found myself riding the chair with ice water sloshing around in my crotch while my body tried to involuntarily impersonate a eunuch, I knew it was getting time to leave. Indeed it seemed to get colder up top as the precipitation ceased in the late afternoon and I soon was quite chilled. From what I hear another band of snow should move through tonight. The Griz is apparently a busy boy these days.

I have received a number of emails asking what I know about the avalanche in Lizard on Sunday. The short answer is not much beyond media reports and the very little bit I have been able to see in the limited visibility. According to the Canadian Avalanche Association bulletin, it released 400 m wide and involved 9 people. As far as I know there were no serious injuries. The slide came down Bow and ran all the way to the Cat Flats at the bottom of Bow/Arrow. The area above Tower Six road had been closed all day and I heard today that at the time of the slide, Tower Six road itself was closed at Arrow.

AT 16:40 it is an unfortunate 2 C at the house, cloudy and they are bombing the hill again

I am not silly enough to say where this was taken. :-)

Dave, the hill�s security dude, in the Puff trees.

Not much I can add to this.

A proper Fernie winter scene in the trees beside Boomerang.

More good stuff beside King Fir.

This was about all that was available in Cedar Bowl today.

Crowds weren't much of an issue. On the Boom chair.

Even in the fog the avalanche closure signs seem pretty hard to miss, so I was surprised that they felt it necessary to post patrollers to watch for poachers. However the first time I got to the top of Boom and the guard was missing, I�ll be damned if someone didn�t just blast straight in through the signs. The sad part is if he did get in trouble, other folks would risk their lives to try and save his miserable carcass.

The choke point at the Falling Star switch back is now well covered as indeed was everything I encountered today.