Friday, February 13, 2015

Day 71 a surprisingly good half day

Let's first deal with why it was a half day. I had to go to Calgary to pick up Lynda who has been back in the UK for a couple of weeks and in fact I am typing this sitting in arrivals waiting for her and my Irish buddy Fiachra - if they are anything like on time I will have to finish this off when I get home so be prepared.

The drive to Calgary was quite an eye opener and showed that the snow drought is not just confined to Fernie. It was warm temps all the way with highs of +15 all the way along Highway 22. Needless to say there was no snow to be seen by the road (predictably high winds) but more worryingly as I looked to the mountains on my left which are usually very snow covered and white there were significant bare patches - looks like my assessment of just how bad the conditions were yesterday may have been a bit of an understatement.

We had no precip over night and temps on the way to the hill were +4 suggesting yet another 24 hour period when temps at no time fell below zero. During the morning I noticed temps at the Bear load of +5 and as a result everything was turning soft and mushing even at the top of Bear.  More to the point as I was leaving the hill to drive down the valley in temps of +10 we had some clear sunshine which if it persisted into the afternoon would have had a devastating effect.

I didn't get a chance to go to the New Side but reports suggest it was nothing special and the Gilmar Trail had deteriorated to the point where it was closed. Getting off the New Side could become a real issue over the next few days particularly with the high holiday (Alberta Family Weekend) traffic expected. We went to the Old Side and stayed there all morning as I had to off the hill by midday.

My fears yesterday that the new terrain that the heli bombing opened up would not be worth it proved to be unfounded. Cedar was still closed just beyond Cruiser but Lizard High Traverse was open all the way across to Easter and gave us some spectacular views of the biggest, wettest and ugliest avalanches I have ever seen there, We jumped into Bow Trees which had been closed for days and managed 3 loops back to Bear in untracked soft snow, always nice to get first tracks.

On the Bear Chair we looked across to see if the sign line in Easter was down but it did not appear to be. When we skied across there we found this to be right but for some reason no one was skiing in to lower Easter to take advantage of the untracked snow. It was great and crisp most of the way down becoming mushy just above Freeway which skied remarkably well, perhaps it was the ice base of a few days ago giving almost corn snow.. There only appeared to be one other set of tracks coming out with us so that is how we spent the morning up until noon just laying our new tracks just beyond the old. By noon it was time to leave and in any event the snow was starting to get very mushy and people were beginning to find out that Easter was open and good.

So all today goes to show is that it is quite possible to have a great days skiing (well ok a half day anyway) even in the worst of conditions, you just have to poke around and stay positive. The precip forecast for the weekend has been revised to rain turning to snow on Monday but as I said, it's just one day at a time for me.

1 comment: