Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Day 47 Kimberley

As explained yesterday the morning was spent today getting Lynda ready her return to the UK and then dropping her a Cranbrook Airport - I'm sorry I mean the International Airport of the Rockies. As my buddy Simon was arriving from Ireland on an evening flight it was not worth coming back to Fernie for the afternoon so I decided to ski a half day at Kimberley.

Actually a seniors half day pass was a bit under 50 bucks including tax so I was not exactly betting the farm by giving this a try. Unfortunately the 5 dollar reduction for being a Fernie season pass holder only applied on full day tickets but I was happy with everything except how easily they were convinced that I was a senior - they could at least have pretended that I didn't look that old.

On the drive out west which took just over the hour I noticed the temp rising steadily so that it was -3 in the parking lot when I got there and also -3 as I pulled into my drive back here in the Elk Valley this evening. Conditions were overcast and we had light snow all afternoon which did give a minor accumulation.

I have only skied Kimberley once before but my memory didn't fail me. The whole of the central and lookers left part of the hill is easy intermediate skiing and of not much interest to me. The lookers right upper section of the hill is a series of single black diamond runs most of which had not been groomed and this looked the most promising area for me.

I spent all afternoon looping off the top of a triple chair which accessed the area of which I speak and just dropping down varies runs and lines that looked interesting. I always ended up at the lowest part of the hill and had to get lifted back by a rather creaky old double chair although considering we have the Elk Chair and the Haul Back I am in no position to criticise.

Kimberley seemed to be suffering the same problem as Fernie. They have had some snow but no great quantity and what has come down has been light and dry and so not giving the solid coverage on any ungroomed runs. Most of the runs I tried had significant amounts of twigs and rocks coming through and some very significant terrain features that were not fully covered. Three times I tried to get in the trees between the runs and each time I ended up surrounded by dead fall or alders or both - I abandoned my plans for tree skiing.

The hill has a rolling lift closure pattern and just as the double chair closed and I had to make my way back to the main base area I discovered a really nice area of tree skiing that was crossed by a number of culverts where the only way across was to ski snow bridges on fallen trees - great fun. I just managed to get a final lift up the main high speed quad and by cutting left got back into my newly found tree run. This time I cut in even further and got some good untracked lines although the final drop onto the cat track which looked like a nice soft steep snow face was in fact about a foot of fluff on a rock face which slid out as soon as I hit it. It was bit of an inelegant drop but I made it with no great harm done.

After a couple of OJ and sodas in their bar (it wasn't the Griz) I picked Simon up and drove back to Fernie. On the way snow was starting but that now appears to have stopped. The hill forecast (Fernie that is) is calling for tons of snow over the next couple of days but with a danger of rain at lower elevations in the middle of the cycle. Personally I'll take whatever we get.

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