Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 96 conditions officially down graded to very crappy

Of course when I say "officially" what I mean is that I am down grading the conditions here on the blog - I dare say the real offical sites are striking a somewhat more positive note. The reason for my down grading is that despite a little more terrain being open today the continuing warm conditions now mean that anything ungroomed or not subject to heavy skier traffic simply won't support skier weight and you just dive like a submarine when you try to ski it. Add to that the fact that the rain started mid morning and just got heavier and heavier as the day wore on and was liquid all the way to the top of White Pass which was the highest point of the hill open, then you end up with very crappy conditions.

I suppose the real test is that we came off the hill at lunchtime today because it was so bad. I have only been off the hill that earlier three times this year, Christmas Day when we went for a huge lunch and twice when I had to drive to Calgary airport to pick up guests - it was that bad.

Overnight temps never got below +4 and were at that going to the hill in overcast conditions. About mid morning the temps started rising and were +6 as I drove away from the hill. About the same time it started to rain, quite light at first but then harder and harder. By the time I was sitting in the Griz Bar having my second beer just after 1:30 it was coming down in stair rods (an English expression meaning it was peeing down) and going all the way to the top of the hill. We actually got pretty wet walking from the Giz to the car which was in line 1 of Lot 2 so hardly any distance at all !

We went to the New Side as it had been closed yesterday and found most of it was still closed. From White Pass we just had the Highline/Heartland guts which were groomed and off Timber it was Puff to White Pass and Deep Sea or later Falling Star to base (the former only partially groomed but well skied in) and that was it. Everything else you could think of Currie Bowl, the I Bowl, the Gun Bowl, Lift Line, Sib Ridge etc were all closed.

The conditions were socked in and with temps well above zero even at the top the groomers were soft mush on a hard base and getting softer all the time, particularly when the rain started. We spent the morning looping White Pass with the odd foray into the very limited pieces of off piste available - they were uniformly ugly and too soft to ski easily, or in some cases at all.

Late morning we ran to base down Deep Sea which was mush on a bump base in the top and unusually was probably the best skiing on the hill. We had just time to do one run on the Old Side up to Bear and like yesterday found most of it closed and the groomers slush on a hard base. About that time the rain started to come down so heavily that being able to see through the goggles started to become an issue and we decided that was as good a sign as we were going to get that the skiing wasn't going to get any better.

I never like to leave a hill early as I always think that you can squeeze something out of the conditions no matter how bad they are. Today proved that even with my enthusiasm (and I do get criticised for taking an over optimistic view of skiing in Fernie by quite few of the regular skiers) there are some days when you just have to run up the white flag and head for the bar.

Tomorrow doesn't look like any great improvement but I will be there to give it go.

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