Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Day 5 not very good but could be worse

Lets deal with the "could be worse" part of the title first. The west coast of BC is being hit by a Pineapple Express ( a warm wet whether event) which is dumping rain on the coast and moving inland. As of late afternoon today Fernie had experienced the warming trend but not the precip. So in that respect things could have been a lot worse. Looking at why things are not very good you have to look at three aspects of the current skiing, available terrain, current weather and ski conditions. dealing with them in order -
Available Terrain - As anticipated yesterday the Timber Chair is down for maintenance and will be for at least the next two days meaning that the whole of the New Side is Closed. On the Old side everything beyond Dancer in Lizard is closed as is everything beyond Trillium in Cedar. In the Old Side triangle Cedar Ridge, Boomerang, Bear Chutes, Linda's and all associated runs are closed. In effect we have less than 20% of the total terrain available, by my calculations, and an awful lot of that just groomers.
Current Weather - as stated we have a huge warm up with temps today on the way to the hill +3 and on the way back +4 with even up the mountain temps getting up to +5 or more during the day. The rain may have held off for the most part today (although it did drizzle a couple of time all over the hill) but this evening it is raining hard in the valley. Temps suggest that this will be the case all over the hill, or at least for the limit parts available to us.
Ski Conditions - as a result of all of the above the skiing could at best be described a spring skiing which is ok in April with a 4 metre snow base but in December with only one metre at the snow plot and less than half of that over most of the hill it leaves something to be desired. The groomers were ok soft snow but everything else was soft mush getting mushier as the day wore on or as you skied to lower elevations on any given run.

With so little to entertain or challenge I strapped on the DPS Wailers for the first time this season - say what you like about the limited skiing , there wasn't much chance of hitting rocks anywhere. With 112 under foot they felt like big stable charging platforms, and that was exactly how they were used all day.

Lynda decided to take a rain check on the grounds that "there would be better days to ski this season" and really who could argue with her. Actually anybody who has ever tried to argue with her about anything might say that but in this case she had a point. All day, all I could do was to loop Bear chair and Boom Chair taking what variations I could find. For the most part they were -
Bear - and all groomers like North Ridge, firm, taking and edge with slush on top, ok if you like that sort of thing.
Cedar - to the skier's right of Cruiser there seems to have been a lot of undergrowth work done during the summer and it is now a nice open piece of freeriding terrain all the way down from the chutes just off the Bear chair to the Cedar Centre trail.
Cedar Ridge - good untracked snow in the top but very heavy low down in all four of the routes I took down. By mid point the snow balls were sloughing hard and the turns were a real piece of heavy work in the melted snow.
Linda's - ok in the top but so heavy by the mid point that we bailed into Lower Boom Ridge and even that wasn't a stroll in the park with super heavy untracked snow.
Bow and Bow Trees - the trees appear to have been gladed and were ok but heavy. Below Tower 6 trail it all just became hard wet work with alders to make things just that bit more interesting.
Cascade and beyond - the few runs to the far side of Lizard just produced either twiggy soft groomers of super soft ( and closed) ungroomed runs.

Today was just about on the lower end of ok skiing even by early season standards. Tomorrow, assuming no new terrain is opened will probably be a lot worse. As I am typing this the rain is falling hard on my back deck and at +4 is probably falling all the way to the top of the hill. Even if the snow plot shows new snow tomorrow it will only be for the very uppermost parts of the available terrain and everything else is likely to be pretty crappy. I will go to the hill as I have a season's pass after all what else would I do but if I was going to have to pay for tomorrow I don't think that skiing would be high on my agenda - let's hope that by some miracle I am proved wrong.

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