Tuesday, March 10, 2009

10th March

Well, here we are at day 78 and another interesting day. The morning kicked off at -25 with the windchill down to -35 so again a day for being well covered up and with no exposed skin unless you were really into frostbite. The report from the hill said only 1 cm of new snow which was probably right having fallen at the end of yesterday afternoon. There was some good wind sift blown in which was quite heavy but ok if you worked at it, temps never got much above -15 even at the base.
About 10 in the morning the Meat Hook ( the Face lift) opened for the first time in several days giving us access to the unskied powder in the top of Lizard bowl. The crowds quickly built up not only because the meat hook has limited capacity but mainly because many of the skier don't know how to grab and ride a rope tow and as a result spend lots of time falling off the tow line and taking several tows to sort themselves out before loading can start again. The sign at the bottom of the tow says experts only so it is hard to work out why these idiots try and ride a lift they can't handle to ski some powder that they can't manage.
This set the pattern for the day skiing knee deep powder above the meat hook and moving out further on the traverse every time to get untracked snow. By the last run we were round as far as the pitch under Corner Pocket but still finding untracked snow - just. Last run of the day traversed all the way across Easter bowl and found the tight way into Spinal Tap which made for an interesting finish to the day.
The Whitepass debacle continued with the lift remaining shut all day and it's opening still uncertain despite an expert being brought in form Edmunton ( why they know about chair lifts there who knows). I don't have a problem with the lift breaking down, accidents happen. I do have a big problem with the response of RCR which is to do nothing. This weeks guest Dave enquired today asking that as 20% of the hill was not accessable by lift (30% of the tougher skiing) could he have a refund on his ticket. The answer was no refund, no price reduction, no chance of any movement. The ski hill industry has to be the only one where they take your money for the service, don't provide the service then expect to still charge you the same.
I have heard many comments from vacation skiers that they will never come back to Fernie because of this. I have to agree if I were thinking of coming to Fernie now I wouldn't unless I either knew that Whitepass was open or I would get a reduced lift ticket. This is such a dumb decision as it saves a few hundred bucks in refunds now and cost thousands in future lost income - another example of RCR not understanding their own business. On the bright side the more vacation skiers don't come to the hill the better for us.
Good wings night at the Pub and too much beer - a little warmer in the morning perhaps but temp on the deck is -18 and falling


  1. I was on the White Pass chair a week gone Monday when it first broke down. For a while it looked as though they would have to rope us off, but eventually they managed to inch us to the top. The chair was working later that day and I think on Tuesday and Wednesday, but its eventual closure definitely took the edge off my week of skiing.

    We got a whole $5 food voucher for the original delay but, as you say, diddly squat for the lack of utility later in the week.

    Now back in UK.

  2. Yup.that sounds like RCR, generous to a fault