Tuesday, November 28, 2017

T Minus 3 or maybe 4

Arrived late last night after the usual long day which involved a Gatwick/Calgary flight followed by a Calgary/Cranbrook flight and finally a rental car pick up at Cranbrook airport. It was the first time I had tried West Jet for the long haul and I have to say I was very impressed. Ok, you have to add the cost of hold luggage, pay for your meal and rent a tablet to get in flight entertainment but even with all that it was still £300 for a single flight ( my onward flights to Ecuador at the end of the season are already booked) in an extra leg room seat. Compare that with Air Canada where I would have had to pay £600 for a return flight (standard seat) and not use the return flight. The reason for that strange comparison is that a one way flight with AC would have been £1600 (yes pounds not dollars) and as long as they continue with the insane policy of charging two and a half times as much for a single flight as for a return I will be flying with West Jet.

Of course I only have had a chance to get a very early impression of conditions her but what I see gives me some cause for concern. Around town it doesn't look like winter at all but rather like spring with piles of melted snow and everything bare and brown. The reason of course is that after a great start with good snow we have had two days of pouring rain and very warm temps in the valley. The rain seems to have gone to the top of the hill and although there is snow cover it doesn't look great and the outlook has gone from a bonus weekend last weekend (which was cancelled) to opened day appearing to be put back from this Friday to Saturday (according to the RCR web site) hence the somewhat enigmatic title of today's blog. So even if we go on time it doesn't look like we are going to get a vintage opening.

The Weather Network isn't helping much. The computer model they have for Fernie really seems to struggle when we get these warm westerly air streams when temps just don't go below freezing even at night. I know a few years ago some guys from the hill did sit down with them to try and work out what was wrong but to be honest things haven't got any better. In these conditions we get daytime highs of about +6 and night time lows of +1. The modelling forecasts daytime highs of +1 and night time lows of -5. In my opinion forecasters spend far too much time looking at their computer screens and not enough time looking out of the window. The result is that they see no problem in calling for a daytime high of +1 in a day while at the same time showing a current temp of +5. I guess telling everyone that the Weather Network forecast for Fernie is rubbish will be one of my less controversial statements of the winter.

So, today starts (after coffee of course) with getting the car back on the road, picking up new credit cards from the bank, getting the car insured, getting the cable TV switched back on, arranging for the hot tub to be fired up, laying in some food supplies and getting the skis to the hill and collect the season passes - lets see how much we actually manage.

Watch this space for further reports, particularly on when opening day will be.

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