Thursday, December 3, 2009


Well last night was the first proper hot tub. Temp down at -12 so the steam formed a sort of ice crust in your hair but it didn't matter as the water was 104F so you were plenty warm enough, a bit nippy getting in and out though.

This morning dawned as a perfect bluebird day but with the temp down at -21 on the mercury and -27 with windchill. Sat eating my breakfast eggs looking out of the window at the tree squirrels in the back yard raiding their nut store then running up the trees to sit on a branch and feed. Can't help but wonder how animals with so little body mass survive these temeratures.

Went to the aquatic centre for a swim and tried out the new snow tires in the frozen snow covered parking lot. They were awesome, I really had to try to get them to slide. Swimming looking out at the snow covered mountains was, as has already been said , very cool. A good day to make sure you dried your hair before leaving the building if you didn't want to have an ice crash helmet by the time you reached the car.

Tasks today involved returning the DVD to the library, getting some more food at Extra Foods and checking out the Art Station. This is the railway station that hasn't been used for that purpose since the last passanger train ran through Fernie in the 1960's. It's now a very good community art centre and always worth a visit if only to drop in at the excellent Blue Toque Diner - for European readers a toque is a woolly hat ! The current exibition is art priced at under $101 which seems a good way of going about art to me - may drop back and buy something before Christmas.

Afternoon was spent at the hill where they have blown loads of snow on the lower mountain so ski outs at the weekend should be ok. Bumped into a patrol buddy who had just come down from "working" and said that White Pass was pretty good but there was a lot of wind picking up and we shouild expect some windcrust.

Played with the transceivers taking it in turn to bury then find them. It was a useful exercise if only to remind you that the direction pointer on a digital beacon may point at 180 degrees from the target and you should always keep an eye on how the distance is moving as well. It always amazes me the number of people who carry beacons and never practice with them. We watch the DVD that comes with the kit at the beginning of each season as this also covers how to organise a self rescue - I know we all know this stuff but when you need to use it you want the actions to be second nature. We also have practice days like today.

While on the subject ( gets out soap box) what about the people who just turn on their transceivers in the boot room each morning, check they are flashing and head out. The fact is that just because a beacon is flashing doesn't mean it's transmitting, even if it is, it doesn't mean it's on the right frequency and it certainly doesn't mean it's receiving. Guys, just take two minutes each morning to do a walk by check with a buddy (we always do) to make sure everything is working. Who knows, the life you save by doing this may be your own.

Had a restoring beer in Kelsey's on the hill after an our of beacon recovery practice and then home for a quiet night in. Driving into town I noticed the beaver lodge by the river on the right and that there were mud tracks in the snow so it looks like the beavers are still out to play.

Forecast has shifted as usual. Environment Canada are still calling for a cold dry spell but the Elk Valley local forecast (usually a better bet) is now calling for flurries tomorrow and snow on Saturday with quite warm highs of around -6. The snow fall is only supposed to be 2-4 in town tomorrow but last year when they called something like this it dumped 30 so fingers crossed.

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