Friday, January 23, 2015

Day 50 still a pretty good day and some advice

First of all the advice on how to read weather reports produced by ski hills and here I mean all ski hills not just Fernie. You must understand that the forecast is not an independent forecast such as that produced by Environment Canada but rather a piece of corporate advertising and in advertising as in war truth is the first casualty. When a report says that we will get 10 cms of snow with a snow line at 1700 metres it does not mean that we are going to get 10 cms of snow. Everything below the snow line (and some people might call it the rain line) will come down as rain. Given that 1700 metres is well up the mountain the report is actually saying that for most of the hill it's going to rain with some snow on the very top - it just doesn't come across that way. This explanation is prompted by the number of people who expressed disappointment to me late afternoon as it started to rain when they had been expecting new snow - what actually happened was exactly what the forecast said, it's just that people didn't really understand the meaning of the forecast.

It was warm on the way to the hill at about zero degrees and was the same in wet snow/rain as we drove away. During the day the upper mountain temps hung in at around zero and at the base it was maybe a degree or two warmer. It was overcast in anticipation of the precip which finally came mid afternoon. We had everything from wet snow to rain to freezing rain to ice and a lot in between. Not a huge accumulation but by the end of the day it had consolidated as freezing rain on top and wet snow below. We have to hope that if things cool overnight then we may actually get some much needed new snow on our very thin base of 142 cms.

There had obviously been another wind event overnight and for about the third time this week the wind produced some good snow which the general weather has failed to do. We  went to the Old Side and had a great time skiing Cedar Ridge from New Lift Line on the left to King Fir on the right many times over. The wind had sifted in nicely giving smooth flat soft snow to ski on. Linda's was bit harder than the rest but Boomerang Ridge was as flat and soft as I have every known it and Boom bowl was wind groomed most of the way down the skiers right. Run of the day was the upper section of Kangaroo (from the sides of course) which was soft deep and untracked all the way through but rather twiggy and overgrown in the middle section - I hit it 4 times it was so good. The lower section was very crunchy but getting better with skier traffic.

After an Old Side morning we had lunch in Big Bang Bagel (excellent) and as I was putting on my skis I noticed the base plate on the heel binding of one of the skis was in several pieces. I did a quick switch back to my Shoguns for the afternoon while Lynda took the DPS Wailers back to Straight Line. They fixed everything under warranty and I was able to pick the skis up this evening ready for use tomorrow - great job guys and a fine example of how these things should work.

The afternoon was spent on the New Side where the viz in the top of White Pass was non existent and we were starting to be hit by some very mixed precip as described above. Decline skied very easily with the bumps soft and some new snow on top. Next lap we went to Cougar Glades/Stag Leap and had another very good run on a firm base but with a soft covering of some sift and wet new snow. Next was Touque Chutes/Spinal Tap both of which were filled with great wind sift and soft snow and skied as well as I can remember this season. I filled in a short loop on Siberia Ridge and just like yesterday it was firm on top, ugly in the choke (as always) and very nice terrain skiing down to the groomer.

And so we came to Skydive where I found myself alone for the first time in ages. It was raining freezing rain giving the surface a light crusty feel which was ok and lower down it turned to rain and a mushy surface - naturally it was a non stop top to bottom run.

The bar was busy but we found space and drank beer. Picked up my skis on the way home and decided on another quiet night in. As we sat in the bar the precip was coming down as anything from snow to rain and all stations in between. Around town we had zero degrees and wet snow. As I look out of the window it is coming down as very wet snow/ rain, so only the Griz knows what we will get when we get to the hill tomorrow.

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