Friday, November 28, 2014

T minus 7 and dripping

Yes, we are experiencing just about the wettest conditions I can remember in Fernie which is not an ideal curtain raiser to a ski season, but more of that later. Despite my earlier misgivings it did look for a while as if we would be getting a bonus weekend this weekend and as late as the management meeting on Wednesday the matter was still to be decided. Unfortunately conditions since then mean that the chances of some early skiing have gone west in a big way and now the best we can hope for is an on time opening next Friday.

Since last posting a report we have got things pretty much in order for the winter. Our skis are still to be picked up from being serviced by Straight Line but I was in there earlier today and they have promised I can pick them up on the way to the pub this evening. The hot tub is still to be fired up but Alpine Spa have said they will be round to do it on Monday and they have always been very reliable. Of course the bank didn't have our credit cards waiting as promised but they do have approval for them and assure me they will be in our hands by the end of next week - so everything is well on the way to being in place.

The big story is the weather. It was snowing when I reported on Wednesday morning and it continued to snow all Wednesday so that by the end of the day we had about 20 cms on the ground. Suddenly on Wednesday evening we had a rise in temps and the snow turned to rain. Since that time (48 hours ago) it has rained continuously and very hard in the valley. Yesterday temps got up to + 8 and never dropped below +4 on either Wednesday or Thursday night. Today temps started at +5 and are now dropping, currently at +3 and still raining hard.

The result has been rain to the top of the hill and the snow going to heavy elephant snot I would imagine although I can't get up there to check. This is no bad thing as a patroller buddy of mine was telling me that there was a very nasty faceted layer on the hill which was likely to case stability problems during the season. With this latest good soaking the layers should be bonded well and may form a very good base for the remainder of the season - in that respect this rain event which has robbed us of the bonus weekend may be a blessing in disguise and we have just had to take one for the team.

The outlook is even crazier than the events of the past couple of days. Temps are forecast to fall rapidly tonight so that by morning we have -20 on the mercury with a wind chill of nearer -30. With so much standing water in town and on the roads I hate to think of what getting about is going to be like tomorrow. On top of that the precip is due to continue turning to snow during the evening and giving us maybe 40 cms of snow in the next 24 hours. Of course if the weather system stalls over us we could get hit by a complete snow bomb of much more than that. Add in winds of 70 klicks and it looks like we are in for a full on winter storm with warnings already posted for the whole Elk Valley.

All these forecasts are for the valley and we may have even colder weather, more snow and stronger winds on the hill so perhaps calling off the bonus weekend is no bad thing.

So it looks like we will have to spend the next week in our current regime of getting up, going for a swim at the Aquatic Centre, wandering around town to sort out odds and ends for the house while we have the chance. Entertainment so far has comprised early nights and just once going to the movie house to see the new Warren Miller snow porn which was pretty good entertainment and a great chance to catch up with some ski buddies. Saturday night should be our first hockey game since arriving but we may decide to take a rain check, staying inside in the warm looks an awful good way to spend an evening given the forecast weather conditions.

 Continue to watch this space for further reports probably earlier next week.

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