Friday, March 4, 2011

What the hell am I doing here

Yup, that's the question I am asking myself. Back here in Cornwall it's spring. Clear sky with the sun glistening on the sea, grass green, daffodils fluttering and dancing in the breeze ( with respects to Mr Wordsworth) lambs playing in the fields etc - looks like a scene from the Shire in Lord of the sodding Rings.

Just spoken to Lynda on the phone who tried to play down (not very successfully) just how good things are in Fernie as she was about to set out for the hill for yet another day of maximum powder - temp - 2, another 13 cms of fresh, base at about 340 cms etc. When I left she did say she would be taking things easy but from where she says she has been skiing and the fact that she is getting in the Griz bar every evening with our buddies it's doesn't sound like much has changed to me.

All too depressing for me with a few days "stuff" to do here before heading back. Flying Wednesday skiing from Thursday, just hope they leave a little for me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 87 totally out the other side of awesome

What a time to be going back to the UK to sort out a few things, just in the middle of the best snow cycle we have had in the past 3 years - not saying that much given the poor snow record of the past two years.

Some facts, we had 28 cms overnight making 63 cms in the last 48 hours. At the start we had a snow base of 329cms but during the day we must have has another 15/20 of fresh as it puked snow all day. Temps started at a surprisingly low -17 and didn't get up much above -8 at mid mountain even though the forecast was for +2. The result was awesome, awesome snow all over the hill all day with tracks getting filled in almost as fast as you could ski them.

There was the usual fiasco with the opening information as we got to the hill. Timber was closed so we went to Deer where we were told that Bear was closed but Boom was open. We skied down to Elk to give us access to Boom where we were told that both Boom and Bear were closed. Getting to the top of Elk we saw that Boom was loading and getting there via Kodiak we were told that they had been open all morning - you sometimes wonder if the right hand even knows it has a left hand.

No need to comment on the conditions, all yeserday's heavy pow had been skied in and the new snow had provided great cover so for the most part it was bottomless stuff that you could just point your skis anywhere you wanted. The sign line was down at Alpine way but with a bit of work you could get across to the edge of Snake but this wasn't needed as all the nearer stuff (Cedar ridge, Linda's, King Fir, Boom ridge including the trees to bottom right, Boom, Buck shot etc) were all super deep and great skiing. Best Old side day I can remember in what was over the knees powder by lunch. Even Kangaroo (5 times) was soft mellow bumps and we even tried the trees to the skiers left of the roo which is something I have never done.

After lunch we went to the New side and found that it was just as good as the Old with Anaconda open but Currie closed. A rip down Siberia ridge confirmed it as the most neglected run with the bit after the gnarly section just ahuge rolling terrain park of deep soft snow.

The rest of the day we looped Knot chutes (tight knot, fraid knot, slim, thin and jim all several times) and then all the Anaconda chutes all deep and sloughing out as you skied them and then down through Bootleg Glades. A buddy on the lift made a great suggestion that Surprise Trees had probably been neglected (everyone going for Anaconda) and he was right. Three great loops through Surprise had filled in all day and were so deep it was unreal.

A final rip through Jim, Anaconda 2 and Bootleg Trees was a great finish to the day. Now back to the UK for a week so no reports unless I can get Lynda to do them or do them myself second hand based her phone calls.

Recieved an email from RCR trying to excuse their actions of yesterday when they closed the hill first thing to allow first track skiers to get to the powder while the rest of us waited. Needless to say the expanation was full of holes and I have gone back pointing these out, a further response is awaited - watch this space.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 86 what a PR disaster

What I am talking about is that we had 10 cms yesterday, another 25 cms overnight and possibly as much as another 10 cms today with the starting base now 309 cms. What were we all talking about in the bar tonight, the awesome skiing ? no, closures, lift break downs and the deliberate holding up of opening to allow first track customers to get priority. Only RCR could take one of the best days skiing conditions ever and manage to piss off their customers in this way.

We drove to the hill with 35 cms of fresh in the report and with it still puking down snow. Conditions were obviously overcast but temps were -2 at the bottom, about -6 at the top and all day the lower mountain temps remained around zero giving good quality but quite heavy powder. The day had all the makings of totally awesome conditions.

We went to Deer to access the old side triangle but when we got to Bear we were told that it wouldn't open until 10. At the base we had been told that Timber wasn't going to open any time soon. We skirted Bear and with a bit of pushing got to Boomerang which we knew was a safe area only to be told that was also closed until 10. Everyone's tempers while they waited were much improved by watching the first trackers ( those who had paid cash to be allowed up the hill) being allowed to ski the closed terrain simply on the basis that they had paid - how much longer are we expected to take this crap.

When Boom eventually opened just after 10 we had a great rip in knee deep powder down Boom and Buck shot. Followed by similar in Boom Ridge, Cedar Ridge, Kangaroo and King Fir. All was only lightly tracked and although the snow was a little heavy it was the deepest and most awesome powder we have had so far this year. This was followed by the next disaster when Boom chair broke down for 40 minutes. Luckily we weren't on the chair but we did have to hike up to Cedar trail to get out which was enough of a pain to take the gloss off the morning.

We went to the New side and found all of Timber open but all of Currie (including Anaconda) closed. We looped in and out of Knot chutes, Surprise Trees and a couple of runs down through Triple trees. Again all of this was good deep snow but not as good as the Old side with a bit less snow and not quite such a good base. Great skiing all the way up to lunch time.

After lunch we went back to the Old side and found that most people had been scared off by the morning break down off Boom so that with the new snow that was falling and the considerable blow in it was almost untracked on top of the overnight snow which had been evenly skied in to the existing base. The result was that we could do wide fast GS turns wherever we wanted in Boom, Kangaroo, Boom ridge, Linda's, Cedar ridge, King fir etc. Reports came that Timber had been shut down by high winds so the Old side call was a real good one.

Finished with a rip down Boom ridge and then a swing into the trees on the right and a trail out through Cedar trail. Again totally awesome powder well over knee deep as it had been all day.

Sitting here with -11 on the deck, a blizzard warning for the Elk valley, puking snow and another accumulation of 10 cms on the top of the hot tub since I cleared it earlier this evening. Tommorrow looking equally awesome, lets see what RCR can do to upset their customers when everything is going their way.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Day 85 Getting better all day and awesome in the outlook

So overnight there was a light dusting of 2 cms of fresh and temps on the way to the hill were about -11. During the day base temps came up to about -4 but further up we had -9 most of the day with strong ridge line winds and overcast conditions. Snow was falling as we arrived if only in a light no moisture form. It carried on all day getting heavier so that by the end we had around 10 cms of fresh with a forecast of another 25 cms to come overnight.

We went to the New side on the grounds that on a Saturday and Sunday the Old side will always have been tracked out by members of the breakfast club, first tracks groups, snow school staff and generally anyone who through money or influence can get to the snow ahead of us regular fare paying customers. The New side remains ( quite rightly in my view) a simple first come first served proposition.

We thought about cutting back into the Gun bowl but the viz didn't look good and we headed out to Skydive for first tracks for the 5th time this year. Stag Leap was really great soft and with only the Tracks of the three guys who jumped in in front of us. Cougar Glades was untracked and nice fill in powder starting to build. After that it was Secrect chutes, Spinal Tap, Easter bowl and Window chutes before lunch. All of these were good and getting better as the snow started to build. A late lunch.

Didn't see much advantage in trying anywhere else so went back to the new side for the afternoon. Much the same as this morning we looped -
Window chutes - one last time to see if Simon could land the log drop for the first time, he couldn't
Lone Fir - Steep and soft in the chute but just awesome soft underneath and into the avi trees, the best snow on the hill so far this year to date.
Spinal tap - just getting better with more fresh, more blow in and more snow pushed into the creek bed from either side.
Stag Leap - filling in and becoming the best and deepest front side run.
Currie Creek - great soft snow in the creek bed with all the bushes now gone.
Skydive - as always a big soft rolling terrain park of fresh snow in these conditions.
A special mention for Mitchy chutes which was always pretty good on the ski down to White Pass.

As we left the hill it was puking snow as it is on the deck now with a deck temp of -6. Forecast is for at least another 25 cms overnight - watch this space. Simon has extended his stay by two days on the strength of what we have.