Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 72 Not another track in sight

First just to start I got the info on why Lone Fir was close yesterday from a patroller buddy. After they had cleared the Saddles they tested Lone Fir and found that there was considerable air under the surface so that the solution was an explosive charge which by that time couldn't be done because there were so many people on the hill, result the chute was closed to be on the safe side, so the question is answered.

Todays report will be of little or no use to anyone wanting to find out what conditions are like for inbound skiing at Fernie as I hardly did any - more of which later. Hope this clarifies the arguement that seems to be going on a number of other sites about the validity of my blog, roughly the positions are that the official sources don't like it as I don't toe the official line and the real skiers who want to know what's happening think it's quite useful. If you agree tell a friend.

As forecast the day broke overcast but not all that cold (-2) and warmed steadily until by the middle of the day it was +7 at mid station on the hill. Luckily the precip held off and as a result the conditions on the hill held up much better than you would have expected with only slight softening at the base which shouldn't set up too badly as it cools.

Working on the basis that yesterday the Old Side was closed most of the day and today showers were forecast for the afternoon (thankfully wrongly) I figured that it would be a good plan to go Old Side in the morning and New Side in the afternoon. So off to the Old side and a drop down Steep and Deep which wasn't all that steep or deep but was ok skiing. A return through Kangaroo which was back to it's icey, ugly, tufted, lumpy self and all the better for that. Boom Ridge and Boom were both full of soft bumps filled in with blow in and great soft skiing.

Next time round I hiked Fish bowl, ducked the out of bounds fence and skied all the way down to the bottom of Fish bowl in totally untracked deep powder, followed by the usual hike out to Red Tree road to get back to Haul Back. This was much enlivened by a female moose who was hanging about on the trail and didn't take the hint to go until about half way through the morning.

That was it for the day for me. Six, or possibly seven loops through Fish bowl top to bottom - I can't quite remember how often. There was one other guy going out there (I guess from the tracks as I never saw him/her) and each time we each went one bit further before dropping in so that all day I had fresh untracked snow never crossing another track all day. By late afternoon I was just on my own ( hadn't actually seen anyone out in the bowl all day) and finished with an amazing run off the steep chutes in the middle of the bowl which were very deep untracked snow in the gullys. I know it's risky but it is a matter of judgement and to me there is nothing quite as nice as as sking way out of bounds in fresh snow with no one with you or near you - but you must weigh the risks carefully.

Runs back were always through the (ugly) Kangaroo and (nice) Boomerang with the occasional flick down Boom Ridge by way of a change. Totally knackered at the end of the day by all the hiking but just time to get across to the New Side to link up with buddies (Rod and Joy) for a last blast down Skydive which was beautiful and soft but, horror of horrors, tracked, which was a bit of a shock for me after the day I had.

A totally awesome day, possibly one of the best ever but due entirely to conditions that existed outside the resort boundaries. Temps cooling and some precip in the air, could be in for a half decent few days of heavy snow low down and ok stuff on top.

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