Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 4

Today was a typical pre Christmas day at the hill in Fernie. It was deserted so much that we didn't really share a run with anyone all day. It was cold ( -16 on the mercury at the bottom and way colder up top and with the wind chill) for some reason it always seems to turn cold just after opening. There was no new snow because there never is much before Christmas and as the fresh had been skied over you had to go hunting for good lines.

I love this time of year because all the runs which might be quite easy later in the season ski tough. They are full of tree stumps, big rocks, bushes and all manner of early season hazards. The only way you can ski them is by being right on your game all the time and as long as you stay clear of the groomers ( which we do) everything is challenging. A lot of people think I am a bit odd for loving this kind of skiing (actually a lot of people think I am a bit odd for a host of reasons including this) but apart from full on powder this is my favourite skiing.

Hit the new side hoping for a repeat of yesterday and were disappointed. It had suffered massive wind damage in the night so there was no soft and everthing was lunar landscape. The wind was brutal and the wind chill had to be way down in the -20's. We figured it had all blown over the ridge into 1-2-3's but that proved to be even worse. When the mountain mist blew in giving really flat light we took it as a sign that the new side was not the place to be and headed for the old side.

The great thing about Fernie is that if the old side is bad, the new side is usually good and vice versa. When it is heavy, wet and even raining down low you can usually get good fresh snow up high on the new side. When the new side is brutal with bad light ( like today) the old side is usually warmer and skiing in the trees gives good viz.

Went all over the old side which had some good blown in snow. We were on a two break strategy as always in the cold weather - ski 2 hrs, break for a half, ski 2 hrs, break for a half and ski for 2 hrs. At the first break met up with Andy who is a ski instructor we skied with a bit last year. He skied the middle section with us and we had particularly good runs on Snake ridge and Cedar ridge.

Last section was the same all over the old side finishing with runs on Boom and Boom ridge which were challenging for all the above early season reasons. Lower Lynda's was closed and we couldn't work out why until I was told that there had been 3 mooses on there earlier that wouldn't move - didn't see them though.

Next few days is getting colder with no new snow. This means that the tough conditions will get tougher and there will be even few people so happy days. A patroller buddy I talked to on the lift made a great suggestion of where to ski tomorrow which if it comes off will be awesome. Where is that ? no chance, I don't want to see anyone else there - tell you about it tomorrow.

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