Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 1 An Awesome Opening Day

Actually today was an awesome day's skiing full stop, the fact that it was the official opening day of the hill was just a bonus.

The day started at temps of -8 with a forecast for it to rise to about -4 before cooling down with cloud in the morning becoming a bit sunny in the afternoon. All this proved true but with light mountain snow falling for most of the day not giving any kind of coverage but creating a nice wintery feel to the day. Temps were -12 driving off the hill in the evening.

Being opening day we got to the hill just after 8 and had a lot of banter with buddies in the locker room, particularly over the 35 lb weight loss I achieved during the summer. We thought carefully about where to start and decided on the old side. Our theory was that everyone would be on the new side where we knew there were stability problems whilst the old side had been skied over on preview weekend (last weekend) and had 68 cms of fresh during the week to give some great powder to trash.

Official statistics said that the base was 107 cms which seemed about right but there were some very deep pockets in places. Having lined up at 8:20 we were one of the first up the hill and with the exeption of first lift didn't see any line ups all day - I am told there were some on the new side. As you would expect in Fernie at this time of year there had been very little grooming leaving most of the hill in it's natuaral state which is what most of us think is the right way to do things.

Spent quite some time in Lizard bowl getting the ski legs back in place and found fresh tracks most of the early morning. As things got a bit more tracked we moved across to Cedar bowl via Boomerang, Cedar ridge, Boom ridge and many places in between - again plenty of fresh tracks. Even managed to poach a couple of trips down Kangaroo which was nominally closed ( coverage not avi or I wouldn't have gone there) a first for opening day. Last run before a late lunch was to hike out beyond Snake ridge to Steep and Deep which certainly lived up to it's name with some quite tight alders on the ski out but again fresh snow most of the way.

At a late lunch we heard that Currie bowl had opened quite late so we headed up the new side to investigate. It may be my imagination or the fact that the new side snow was unskied last weekend but there seemed to be less snow and certainly less good snow on the new side. Of course it could just have been me getting tired.

Lift line had a lot of hazards, as did Surprise trees, the gun bowl, 1-2-3s with avi debris and Concussion accessable only from the low traverse. The ski out in lower Barracuda and the whole area to the left of Gilmar trail was much less rocky than is often the case mid season. The new side skiing was ok but not as good as the old side and I was glad to be on my rock skis on more than one occasion.

Despite feeling knackered after a full opening day I decided on a traditional finish by hiking out to Skydive from the lower traverse. The new "bridge" at Currie Creek has made life much easier on the traverse but I still fear it will encourage skiers who's ability isn't up to the terrain to venture out there. Skydive was very challenging with a lot of obstructions and definately not for the faint hearted but skiing it on opening day was another record.

A couple of quick beers in the Griz and then home - good to see all of the old faces. Did consider going to the hockey but after last night when the Riders played badly and lost 1-2 we decided that we were bad luck and in any case laying in the hot tub in -12 under the stars drinking beer did have it's appeal.

If today is anything to go by we are in for an awesome seasoon.

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