Friday, November 20, 2015

T minus 14 and counting

Oh, yes things are getting very exciting as we move towards the opening of the ski hill scheduled for just 14 days from today. The question everyone is asking is will things open on time and what will conditions be like? Here I have to put in a warning and say everything I have learned comes second hand from friends based in Fernie plus what I can glean from the internet. My conclusion is that we will get an on time opening but it probably won't be one of the awesome openings like some of those in the past.

Things were looking pretty good until about a week ago when we were hit with a rain event which went right to the top of the hill. The severity of the event was apparent from the Mountain Cams which showed all the trees as snow free ( all the snow washed off by the rain) and the rain runnels in the snow at the top of the Bear Chair which were visible even on cam.

Since then things have got better with some more snow covering the rain affected areas and things generally looking a bit more wintery although we may come to regret the layer that will have been created later in the season. The Bear load cam is up and running (having been down during the worst of the conditions) and showing ok conditions in the upper Lizard are but still rather sparse lower down. Significantly there is a large white cloud in the lower left cam which means that snow is being made on the lower hill and with good sub zero temps forecast between now and opening day snow making should continue and the ski offs will be covered even if it is only by artificial snow.

The current conditions show a base of 61 cms which would be at the snow plot just above Tower 6 by the Bear with a lot less snow as you move down the hill. As I said this would make for an ok, but not spectacular opening on the upper hill with the lower hill covered on the ski offs by artificial snow. There is a bit of snow in the forecast over the next 7days. Beyond that time frame the forecast shows a cloud/snow/sun mix which experienced readers of the forecast know means that they have no idea whatsoever what is going to happen and the forecasters are just coving their bets. For us that means that the final 7 days before opening are still up in the air and depending on how the Griz treats us we could be getting a significant change from the current position for the better (hopefully) or worse.

From my point of view none of this is going to matter too much. We will be flying out and arrive at Cranbrook on the 8th as this is the earliest the docs will let Lynda fly after her hip op. I figure it will take a couple of days to sort out our winter lives such a stock up the house, fire up the hot tub, get the truck insured and on the road etc. So my first day on the hill should be exactly one week after opening assuming everything goes to plan.

So lets keep our fingers crossed that the next 14 days do bring some heavy natural snow and we get a spectacular opening on time with a1 metre plus base - we can always hope. At the moment last weeks rain scores things 1-0 to El Nino and we want to even to score and get ahead if we can.

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