Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 89 an unexpected road trip to Kimberley

The reason for the unexpected road trip was that Fernie was closed due to avalanche control. I expect they will claim that they weren't closed as the Elk chair and the Mighty Moose were running but as these access less than 10% of the hill and none of the interesting stuff the hill was to all intents and purposes closed. Interestingly they were charging 50% of the ticket price for 10% of the hill and the web site says that tomorrow only the Old side will be open so we will have less than 50% of the hill but full ticket prices will apply. I can't see anyone in their right mind accepting this and actually coming to Fernie to ski while this is going on.

When we arrived at the hill we were told of the situation and that our season passes would be good at Kimberley today. We threw our skis on the roof and drove to Kimberley and by 11 we were on the first lift going up. Because of our late arrival we skipped lunch and skied straight through to 4.

Kimberley had 13 cms of fresh overnight and it seemed to have come down on a base of fairly bumped up skiing giving soft bumps with some great untracked snow. I didn't know the hill so we just headed out to what looked like the toughest areas and cycled the Easter and Tamerack chairs skiing in the Black Forest and Vimy Ridge areas.

Whilst nothing was as tough or as steep as Fernie there was still some good fun stuff to be had. Particularly Fuzzy and Flapper felt a bit like Skydive on a rather watered down basis but the soft bumps were great. Out the other way Vortex was the best of quite a lot of runs which had a nice terrain park feel with creek beds and shoulders. Given what was on offer in Fernie we had an outstanding days skiing in bright sunshine and plus temps of around 4.

During the day we heard that highway 3 to Fernie was closed due to an avalanche east of the bluffs. We stayed for a couple of beers and nachos and by the time we had finished as we drove back we got word that the highway was clear so not all bad.

So tomorrow is a Saturday on the Old side only, pretty ugly I would think. Not to bad for us season pass holders but if I was a vacation skier from the UK (say) trying for my one ski break of the year looking at $1.60 to the pound, no discounts for multi day tickets, not being allowed to get reductions with the Ski More card because the hill has done a deal with European tour operators to allow them to keep their cut of ticket sales rather than pass it on to vacationers, and now most of the hill shut then I don't think I would come back to Fernie any time soon. Good news for us - less people on the hill.

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