Monday, December 28, 2015

Day 18 the day the crowds show up

Today was the day that the Christmas holiday really kicked off in Fernie. When we got to the hill just before 9 we could only just get in parking lot 2, at lunch we had to sit down in the locker room to eat our sandwiches and this evening there was a small line to get in the Griz but that seemed to be more to do with checking ID - they didn't ask for mine, should I be offended ? Despite all this the lift line ups were not bad and we only had to ride single once. Out in the far areas of the New Side we saw a few more people but it was never what you would call busy.

A lot of my buddies get very up tight about these holiday crowds but personally I take a slightly different view. There is no way that the hill could operated based on the few of us that ski the hill mid week particularly in Dec and Jan. What is happening in these busy times is that the crowds are effectively paying for our seasons mid week skiing and as such we should be really happy that they show up. As a gesture how about trying to be super nice to a visitor tomorrow and maybe even showing them some quite nice places to ski - of course I am not suggesting anyone should show them the best , you have to draw the line somewhere.

Overnight we had about 4 cms of fresh snow raising the base to 196 cms which no doubt will settle over the next few days. On the way to the hill it was -7 and all day it seemed to be about -5 all over the hill and overcast. Actually we had very light snow all day which I doubt accumulated a measurable amount of snow but did at least add to rather than take away from the snow base. The upper mountain was all tracked up powder from the previous few days and with the temps keeping the snow in good shape it was pretty nice skiing everywhere,

Lynda was on her third day of skiing so we had some low key skiing while she tested the strength of her new hip. Up the New Side we looped White Pass several times through the Gun Bowl, Highline Trees, Highline and Quite Right. We then pushed out into Currie Bowl and we had two good loops of Alpha Centauri and lower Concussion which were all very mellow as was the ski out through Gilmar Trail.

Late morning I met up with buddies and skied some other lines while Lynda continued to loop. We hit Knot Chutes which were chunky but soft and Surprise Trees which were really very soft in the trees but getting a bit tracked up in the open areas. The run down for lunch was Polar Peak Mamma Bear which was super deep but firm and Touque Chutes with still some soft lines if you knew where to go. The final exit was Spinal Tap which is starting to get a bit slick in the high traffic areas. Lynda finished just after 1 which is not bad for 3 months after a new hip but with the very crowed day lodge it made for a relatively short afternoon.

After lunch we went back up Polar Peak but the viz had gone and it was closed very shortly after we skied it. Papa Bear was just about the only way we could grope our way down and it was at least soft - I guess. Cougar Glades still had some untracked lines and Stag Leap was yet again improved in the lower section. Next time round was a Decline/Window Chutes loop which was some excellent skiing in  upper Decline as soft bump skiing and then soft snow in the trees and good skiing in the chute which was a little scratchy in the choke.

We had some time to spare so we hit Siberia Ridge which remained great soft lightly tracked skiing but rather technical in the choke as always. Last run we took Lazy Locals into the top of Big Band and found some great untracked steep lines on the near side. Last last run of course was Skydive which as always was soft terrain skiing on top, mellow in the flat mid section and and tough twiggy skiing in the lower pitch

A couple of beers in a very crowded Griz Bar and then a quiet night at home. Could this be the peak busy day of the Christmas holiday period or is it just a taste of things to come.

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