Friday, December 5, 2014

Day 1 and we have lift off

Ok, so that's the last reference to space talk this season, from now on it's pure skiing. And for those who don't want to spend their time reading a long ski report the summary is that we had a pretty good, no make that very good opening day. Of course other more official sources may talk about "awesome" and "fantastic" skiing but the truth is was that it was just very good, but Fernie's very good is way better than the superlatives of other ski hills so I am one happy bunny after day 1.

It was a nice -7 on the way to the hill today and it probably stayed at about that all day and was exactly the same temp driving back from the hill this evening, of course this just could mean that the gauge on the truck is broken but I suspect not. During the day we had a warming inversion which pushed up the mountain temps to around -3 which made for some very mellow skiing.

All day we had flurries of varying intensity which probably put down about 4 cms of snow, at least that was what the accumulation on the truck looked like at the end of the day. As it was overcast light was very flat but one of the few advantages of early season conditions with alders, bushes, logs and small trees pushing through the snow is that there are plenty of landmarks to see (and avoid if possible) so depth perception is not the problem it might be later in the season/

A lot of the hill was open with all of Lizard bowl and Cedar bowl open on the Old Side although Easter bowl, Boomerang Ridge, Cedar Ridge and Snake Ridge were all closed due to coverage issues. On the New Side Currie bowl was closed and the only real skiing was the White Pass core and the runs below to base. I guess about only 40% of the terrain was open but for opening day that isn't all that surprising and we should see rolling openings as the season progresses.

We hit the Old Side and skied all over Bear, North Ridge and Cedar Bowl. There was a hard ice base from last weeks rain where there had been grooming but mercifully a lot of the area hadn't been groomed and in those areas it was deep soft snow, enough for me to rate this as a full on powder day. Of course the first few runs were tough on the legs and it seemed as if we had forgotten how to ski but as we got our ski legs back we ripped around all over the Old Side and particularly on the margins of Cedar bowl. There were rather less crowds than I had expected and the upshot of that was that there were plenty of untracked lines to be had.

After lunch we tried the New Side and it was a little disappointing. Up in the Gun Bowl the snow was very good but lower down the ice base was pretty firm and the bushes in places like Highline Trees were a bit tight. Back on the Old Side we had to look harder for fresh lines and found them on the Sunny Side shoulder and by dropping the cutes off Bear into the top of Cedar and then cutting right into lower Cedar Ridge. By this stage of the day the legs were struggling to react fast enough to the undergrowth that was evident.

We ended the day by taking a few runs up and down Lizard bowl and finding fresh powder on the edge of Easter bowl. By that stage the legs were gone and a top to bottom run from Bear top to the locker room on groomers (which were pretty chopped up and more like free riding terrain) was about all I could manage non stop. After that it was a great evening in the Griz Bar meeting old friends and swapping stories of the summer and the days skiing. Now home and ready for an early night. I can't remember many opening days when I didn't even see a rock, let alone hit one.

The outlook is for a warming trend with a possibility of some snow/freezing rain tomorrow. After that temps hang around zero and we may get a rather big snow event Sunday night if forecasts can be believed. Looking beyond that there is quite a lot of snow in the forecast but as I always remind people "forecast" is the word they use to describe the numbers you choose on your lottery ticket and we know how often that turns out to be right.

Day 2 here we come.

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