Monday, December 10, 2012

Day 10 missed out on the opening of Snake

It happens to the best of us. Today I nailed my colours to the New Side with the idea that the best powder would be under the Saddles. In the event a number of my buddies confirmed that the best skiing of the day was when they opened Snake Ridge on the Old Side for the first time this year and they had untracked thigh deep powder top to bottom - ah well, some you win some you lose.

We seem to be between weather systems at the moment. Conditions are overcast but with no real precip and temps are warming so that day time highs will be only a little below zero for the next few days. After that we are due another snow cycle but as I have often said forecasting more than 24 hours out in Fernie is a total crap shoot.

We arrived at the hill with temps of -7 that rose during the day to -2. It was fairly clear at the bottom but as we got to the top things socked in and the light became very flat and viz very poor. As we went up it became apparent that the New Side had been subject to a pretty serious wind event overnight.

Lift Line was wind crust at the top but nice and soft on the way down to White Pass. The whole White Pass area had been wind affected so that on updraft slopes it was hard swept crust but with deep wind blown ridges and very deep powder where the wind had deposited the snow. This would not have been a problem if the light hadn't been so bad that none of this was visible. We had several exciting runs working hard on the crust and getting stuck in deeps.

We went out to Surprise Trees a couple of times and found that the tree cover had protected the surface and the trees gave shadows for good viz. There was still plenty of untracked lines through the trees. We then hit Anaconda on a couple of loops still trying the near, newly gladed chutes. As we guessed these were lee side slopes so the snow was deep and soft with all yesterdays tracks filled in.

After a hot choccy break we went to try Corner Pocket in the hope that the powder below was filled in from yesterday. In the event the powder was ok but it felt like there may have been a bit of down draft wind to pack the powder in to make it a little heavy. After that it was -

Cougar Glades - a bit like Surprise Trees and still lots of untracked lines but a bit twiggy on the exit.
Corner Pocket - as I had linked up with a buddy we did it again and still found untracked slightly heavy powder.
Decline - great soft snow but very interesting terrain and untracked lines lower down.
Cougar Glades  - again, just as good.
Siberia Ridge - tried it for the first time this season. Nice soft powder as far as the choke which was quite easy to negotiate with no rocks showing. Below all the summers brush work became apparent and the run was clear of twigs and wonderful soft snow on very rough interesting terrain.
Skydive - as usual the final run down which was soft snow and uneven terrain and hard work for the last run of the day.

Beers, hot tub, bed - end of a good day, wonder what tomorrow will bring.


  1. Bill,

    Thanks for all the reports. Im heading out ot Fernie for the first time in January and your posts are really helping me with the suspense/wait.

    My ritual in the morinings for the past 10days is grab a coffee and read your blog. It builds the excitement for my trip.

    Keep it up!!


  2. Glad to be of service - see you in Fernie