Friday, December 31, 2010

Day 27 time to put things in perspective

This morning started with no new snow and temps of -27 at the base and much the same at the top. It was a pretty clear day so temps did rise to mid teens around early afternoon but during the morning with wind chill I would imagine that on the New side the apparent temp must have been somewhere in the low minus 30s.

When it gets this cold the effect on the snow is pretty predictable. The skied out slick patches (and there are plenty of those) become even slicker while the soft snow becomes very very heavy and grabby on the skies. The result is being bundled up with cold muscles and difficult conditions the skiing becokmes very tough. Of course if you are in to groomers this doesn't matter but as had been said before this blog is not written for groomer skiers.

In the midst of all this is the most amazing hype being put about in the media about how good the skiing is this year in Fernie - it isn't. Fact is that the base at 146 cms is very low for the time of year. This day last year (which was reckoned to be a pretty poor snow year) it was 188 with snow in the forecast that we don't have. We have had only one day of significant snowfall in the past three weeks and with the holiday skier traffic, almost everywhere is hard, scratchy and tough skiing. Icey bumps abound and most of the traverses are a challenge even to good skiers. I'm still pretty happy with what we have but then no one considers me normal and I just want to put out a reasonable counter balance to the ridiculous media hype that I see out there.

Today we rattled (quite literally) round the New side and found as described a hard scratchy base with heavy cold snow in clumps on top. All the usual places were visited with no one particularly outstanding although the Gun bowl was probably the softest snow on the whole hill.

After lunch we decided that the wind chill on the New side was just too much to bear so we went to the Old side. The snow was running so slow in the cold that the Cedar traverse looked too hard work so we just stuck in the old triangle. Cedar ridge was ok, Lindas was very scabby and in fact the best snow seemed to be on Boom ridge where at least you expected icey bumps. As it was we were up and down the ridge about 4 times and it was fun if challenging every time.

Only one trip through Kangaroo which was hard as always and a bit slower as I had to help out a couple of skiers who had got in there by mistake and were looking for a way out.

Finished about half an hour early as there is only so much cold a body can take. Had a couple of beers in the Griz watching Canada lose (yes lose) to Sweden in the hockey - ok it's only the group stages. Just about to have a hot tub under the stars in -20 to welcome in the new year.


  1. Bill,
    Happy New Year!

    I noticed there were no comments attached to any of your posts and thought that this needed to be rectified. Since discovering your blog, I eagerly anticipate each one of your daily posts and have to say that I have a lot of respect for you getting out there every day and skiing for most of the day, even when the conditions aren't that great.

    Keep up the good work - for it deserves to be saluted!