Sunday, November 27, 2016

T minus 6 and counting

Well the last time I posted it was all about what I had been doing, this time it will be more about what I hope to be doing.

To finish off old business the rest of getting settled into Fernie went pretty well. There were problems with IT connections but all these were solved and Friday afternoon the rental SUV went back to Cranbrook Airport and we were down to just the good old big red Ford F150 truck. Of course that was a sign for the tire low pressure warning light to come on but that turns out to be just a duff sensor so I am not even sure I will do anything about it.

Even the secondary tasks like putting up the Christmas lights on the deck and the outside trees (not switching on until 1st Dec of course) and sweeping off the back deck have been done, the only thing left is to sort out all the ski gear which will be later on today. We have even started our routine with our first visit to the gym (12 km treadmill run) first hot tub (a great way to wind down on the back deck) and our first hockey game last night (a 6-4 win over Kimberly, which as we chant is a girls name) so things are settling down.

Turning to the skiing, well, needless to say there was no bonus weekend. Visits to the hill confirm that the lower mountain is very thin indeed with no obvious track down to base. Looking up at the runs the coverage in the Meadow looks very sparse and I think the best we can hope for is for some artificial snow tracks to be created to link the upper mountain to base. On web cams the upper mountain looks a lot better from about half way up but talking to people who have been up there working it all sounds very "early season" to put it mildly.

The snow reports continue to show a base building slightly above 1 metre but for all the reasons already explored what the snow depth is as the snow plot has very little to do with what the skiing conditions will be like all over the hill. One of the main problems is that with the unseasonably mild temperatures that we have been having ( last night was the first time since I have been here that night time temps dropped below zero and that was only to -2) the option to make snow on the lower hill which is the hill's "get out of jail free card" at this time of year just isn't there.

My worry is that conditions are starting to look a lot like they were for the past two El Nino years  with snow being promised in the forecast either disappearing a day or two before it is due to arrive or the temps when it does arrive being way higher than forecast so what we get is rain in the valley and even quite along way up the hill. Of more significance is that the precip we have had at low plus temps (+2 on Friday) has come down as rain whereas it would more usually fall as snow, indicating that it was falling from a very warm air mass in the upper atmosphere. This suggests that the moist air moving off the Pacific which drives our weather systems is warm which in turn argues for the ocean being a lot warmer than forecast - in other words if not exactly a continuing El Nino at least something like it. For those interested in weather it is this phenomenon which has cause so many temperature inversions over the past few years as the warmer air aloft flows in from the west.

Of course the jury is still out and the ocean temps are being measured as falling although it was the fact that they were not having such a significant effect of air temperatures that caused Environment Canada to pull their La Nina forecast for this winter back in the Fall. The short term forecast (ok it's the weather Network so let's not put too much faith in it) is for temps to fall during this week at least to the point where snow making will be possible which gives me a lot of confidence that an opening (if not a spectacular one) will be probable as scheduled for next weekend. Looking at the 7 day forecast they (the Weather Network again) are calling for an awesome dump of snow next (opening)weekend so by this time next week we may be rolling around up to our necks in snow in sub zero temps and all my worries will be proved to be groundless - I hope.

So there you have my thoughts on what may or may not. Watch this space for further reports as we get nearer opening day.

No comments:

Post a Comment