Sunday, December 3, 2017

Day 2 This is the end - with apologies to The Doors

Day 2 and I am already in serious trouble over my blog and likely to get in more trouble as the season progresses. I do not need more trouble in my life (particularly if I am not getting paid for it) so the blog ends today. For up to date news and information of conditions in future refer to the official sites which provide this information.

66 comments:

  1. I am saddened. I am hoping the passing of time may change your decision to stop the blog. I have been a long time reader and thank you for your informative daily posts.

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  2. This is very sad Bill as a daily follower of your blog since it started I have found it genuine and informative with that good ole dose of English satire sarcasm humor call it you will no less with true reflection of what is going on. If the powers that be don't like it then yep two fingers to them Bill - I hope something can be worked out as I will miss the evening blog !

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  3. Sad to see it go! Found many gems in your blog, and as a new resident to Fernie it helped me get up to speed quickly. Thanks for all your effort!

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  4. This is sad Bill. I saw you at lunch today and wanted to say hi and thanks for all the good info you put up. I can understand the circumstances for quitting, to me RCR is loosing fantastic accurate reporting for fernie.

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  5. I think you're bluffing.
    When have you shy'd away from a little trouble???
    Keep on charging... On the hill and in the Blog!

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  6. Bill. I am very sad to read your blog post this morning. For some time, you have been a part of my winter morning ritual. Have a coffee and read Bills Blog.

    In Alberta, you would be protected by the Fair Trade Act. It protects consumers who post product reviews from any repercussions. In BC, you might want to check the Consumer Protection Act.

    As your daily account of where you skied and what the conditions were like, is really a product review, you should be protected by the laws of the land.

    I hope you get this sorted out, as I will miss your blog terribly. In the meantime, I will hope to ride the odd chairlift with you, to get your inside scoop on the ski hill we all love.

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  7. Terrible news. I would have hoped that Fernie management would understand that your blog actually brought more skiers to the mountain. I am not pleased.

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  8. Bill, sorry to hear the news, re your blog. When conditions suck back East, I dream of dropping into Papa Bear, or say Concusion, and your accurate description of conditions brightens my day.
    Capt. Ray

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  9. For clarity the Resort
    In no way have asked Bill to suspend his report.

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    1. Has the resort contacted Bill about the blog in any way or asked for certain restrictions on content?

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    2. So if Fernie did not make this decision it had to have come from RCR then. Thank you for clarifying.

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  10. @R Siggers I sincerely hope not as Bill (and Craig before him) have been awesome advocates for the resort.

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  11. A real shame. As a fellow Brit I’ve always looked forward to your forthright reviews Bill of conditions in Fernie having spent a season there myself many years ago. I do hope you manage to resolve what ever issues have arisen to cause you to pull the plug only two days in to what might be shaping up to be a stellar season. Here’s for hoping some good news soon.

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  12. Bill, gutted, been coming to Fernie since 2002 moastly winter but now more in summer due to my twins loving the biking BBQ culture and stuff. Skied with you a few times and have to say I read your blog daily even when I can’t afford to come some winters, it just gives me a connection to my favourite place on earth...hope you can sort this out or shift to a stealthy alternative site.
    All the best,
    Mark from Manchester/pinnacle ridge

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  13. Sad to see the blog end. Above all other things, your detailed reports helped me study the trail maps and find some of the best terrain Fernie had to offer as a transplant from the East Coast. The snow reporting was great, but the info on the rain line was immensely valuable when deciding on a day trip down from Calgary. Hope you have a great season and keep getting 100+ days!

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  14. Typical move by RCR. this blog brought them far more good publicity then bad. I will personally be staying away from all RCR resorts this season. Why Drive to Fernie when Calgarians can just go to Castle and ride a superior mountain

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  15. "Serious trouble" Bill? And yet Robin Siggers is denying that RCR has asked you to stop the blog... Your Day 1 report said conditions were much better than most people had assumed, encouraging potential RCR customers. What's the problem with that?

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  16. Bill! No, this is worse than a heartbreak on prom night!

    I have been reading for years and truly found your insights helpful. I even got at least a bakers dozen also hooked on your blog. Every day off i would read the blog before hitting the slope.

    I think we should petition the resort to name a run after Bill. Has anyone else done as many days as this man? Sky Dive should be Bill's Dive now.

    Thank you.

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  17. I second the motion. Bill's Dive has a nice sound to it.

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    1. Or Bill’s Middle Finger. Covers a number of bases and pays homage to his “love” of the term “the fingers”

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    2. What's the real story for its end... R Siggers states the Resort did not ask Bill to suspend his report!

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    3. Read the report almost every night , will miss !

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  18. Bill, please reconsider! All I want for Christmas is Bill's blog back!!!

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  19. "To restrict things further Boom Ridge and Boom Bowl were closed due to conditions although this closure was (as the bard said) honoured more in the breach than the observance."

    " After that we got to looping Linda's (awesome deep untracked powder) Boomerang (see Linda's) and all parts in between"

    -Bills Day 1 post

    seems to me its that you ski closures and then write about it...
    wont get respect if you give none

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    1. I wasn't going to comment but I can't let this pass. I describe skiing Linda's, coming up Boomerang Chair and skiing all the parts of Linda's in between the closures on each side. The sign at the top of Linda's was flipped to open, a point not disputed by hill. They intended it to be closed and my crime was to ski a run that was showing open when I should have known it was closed.

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    2. You aint bullshit bill fer nothin

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    3. Brilliantly framed argument - do you read much Oscar Wilde

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  20. Bill, glad you’re back on-line.

    Yes, we saw some poaching on Opening Day. There were fewer signs and ropes than mid-season, but independent of the who, the quip about the Bard sort-of suggests approval – which I found surprising, coming from Bill.

    There’s another aspect lower down in the post, ‘…like so much we had skied was deep untracked powder but with dead fall adding to the many early season hazards that we just had to air it over to get down.’

    Folks who’ve been there will know that following October’s massive wind storm there’s a lot of blow-down. Some of toppled trees are pretty treacherous and the hazard could increase with white-out (never at Fernie). Some runs, like Morning Glory, will probably be closed for a while and maybe until there’s some serious chain saw work. With the additional hazard, I’m not surprised by concern from the Hill.

    I hope that this blows over (sorry) and that the blog will resume – it’s a highlight of the Fernie winter.

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    1. Stew - Thanks for your comments, I always welcome well thought out a reasoned debate on a subject. Unfortunately too often all you get is anonymous mud slinging from the side lines or repeated party dogma which is of little use to anyone and where for the most part I refuse to engage.
      My concern on opening day was the number of people who were skiing closed areas with nothing being done. I took to counting how many I saw each time up Boom chair and concluded that I could reckon at least 100 plus all the ones that were there when I didn't see them. I don't think that my remarks indicated approval, they were intended to reflect the apparent indifference to this rule breaking by the hill which to my mind indicated approval by the hill - much more serious than anything I may write.
      You rightly identify the problem of deadfall which combined with the thin cover makes for some very challenging conditions. This was my whole point with Linda's run being shown as open while everything around it was closed. Had this been an avi closure then it would have been obvious that the sign had been flipped by a member of the public and the run was closed. Because of the conditions that you describe it was quite feasible that the run was safe and open while everything around it was closed due to conditions. For two days after the runs were open a closed sign was down at the top of Boom Ridge which means we had to interpret what was meant. I feel the worst I am guilty of is a mis understanding of what was intended and the threat to pull my pass for this was a massive over reaction - in those circumstances I don't see the blog restarting any time soon.

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  21. So RCR douchebaggery is responsible. Threatening to yank a pass based on a very loose and vague interpretation of someones own writing is ridiculous. I'm from the Calgary area with a Mountain Collective and RCR discount card, so every resort is fair game each weekend. The reports in Bills Blog are a major factor in where I decide to spend my time and money. This is especially the case with Fernie's chronic condition exaggeration. Without reliable reports I'll just go elsewhere and I emailed RCR to let them know that. Everyone else who does the same should email them as well.

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  22. This is pretty petty. I am disappointed in Fernie management. Would it not have made more sense to reach out to discuss linstead of shooting first ike reactionary todlers?
    I can assuer the hill that, minor quibles aside, this blog has done them vastly more good than they can obviously appreciate.

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    1. I really liked reading the blog,but it strikes me that it is Bill that is being petty here. Told off for poaching - big deal, get over it. Pulling his blog in protest - I doubt that RCR give a damn, in fact they probably view that as a bonus.

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    2. Incorrect - the reason I have stopped writing my blog is because of the threat to remove my pass. If I was just worried about being told off by RCR I would have stopped the blog years ago.

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  23. Bill, your blog was the first thing I checked today as I prepare for the forecast snow dump next week. Without it, I'm more inclined to stick to Louise. You've provided great insights on the hill, including the more recent thorough commentary of the risks involved with the early conditions. You are instrumental to the ski community. Don't let some over-zealous patroller pulling a power trip lessen your gift!

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  24. I wonder how the conditions are at Fernie at the moment? If only there was an unbiased someone willing to share their intimate hill knowledge with me over the internet...

    Sigh

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  25. Guys-Thanks for all the comments of support and the dozens of emails I have received direct, they are much appreciated. Unfortunately, and I hope everyone can appreciate my position, as long as the threat to remove my pass based on what I may write in my blog remains active I would be unwise (that's posh speak for dumb) to continue writing. Of course the blog could start again tomorrow if the threat was removed or substantially modified but I don't see that happening any time soon.

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  26. Bill, your blog will be greatly missed.

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  27. This blog has regularly prevented me from cancelling weekends in Fernie. From Calgary if I see warm temperatures and minimal new snow I assume Fernie has turned into soup. Their daily snow report is a joke. But before I cancel my stay at Lizard Creek, cancel restaurant reservations, and decline to buy lift tickets, I check this blog.

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  28. On the upside we can all go back to referring to the Three Fingers... Anyone up for Breakfast Club?

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  29. All I want for Christmas is Bill’s blog back.

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  30. What happened to free speech ? If there are any corporate threats here then ignore them. There are enough lawyers that read Bill's Blog that can dive in and help. What a scandal!

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  31. sure would love to hear how the hill is. Thinking about heading there tomorrow. Oh well.

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  32. Why don't we just use this comments area to update on ski conditions? Yesterday was fabulous knee deep pow all over the hill. Temps a very manageable -15c. Elk Chair was on the fritz on and off but crowds were limited due to a serious highway incident that closed the highway East of Fernie for much of the day. Another 22cm overnight but temps sinking below -20c today will make for more champagne powder and cold toes.

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    1. Posting conditions in these comments is a fantastic idea!

      Date: Saturday, December 30th


      I hit the hill expecting the usual long weekend crowds but was pleasantly surprised. Living in town, it was obvious there was going to be snow (for some reason the app is reporting 3 cm, but it was definitely more like 20ish cm of powder on the hill today.)

      Maybe the -15 to -20 degree temps scared many of the tourists away, and the fear of crowds kept the locals away. I didn’t wait in a single line all day. And there was still untracked snow off the reverse traverse as of 3 pm.

      The snow was light classic powder. Maybe a bit firmer than blower powder. It wasn’t even across the hill, there were definitely areas deeper than others.

      There’s still a lot of brush and other obstacles. The snow we’ve been getting has unfortunately been cold and light enough not to stick to these obstacles and you still need to ski with a bit of care.

      In particular the reverse traverse has a few very sketchy sections between concussion and cougar glades - a few exposed rocks, some bushes.

      Other than that - fantastic ski day!

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  33. So typical of the Hill Nazis. Criticism to them is a capital offence,not something to be considered and used as a basis for improvement. Personally, it doesn't matter to me; I am off to Mexico.
    Bill, I don't blame you for protecting your pass.
    Bob Stockey

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    1. Your comment is totally out of order. "Hill Nazis"? WTF are you talking about? He was reprimanded for poaching, not for criticism. In my experience the people working for the ski hill are well intentioned and do a fine job, and I think you should be ashamed to have used that expression to describe them. You are a disgrace.

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  34. Hey Bill, thanks for all the fantastic info you've provided over the years! Here's my update...

    Conditions on Thursday were fantastic. Not much open, but what was was knee deep. Wife and I had several great laps along the ridge between bear chair and lizard bowl, and some fantastic Cedar laps. Didn't check out timber although I believe it opened at about 11:00 or earlier...

    Saturday was much busier, and much warmer. Boomerang was the place to be, deep snow still available in lots of areas. Coverage is great in all the areas we hit, with only one of us hitting any rocks today. This feels like the Fernie I remember!

    On another note: As a patroller at another resort, I hope that conditions change and you can continue writing your blog. Your real life, boots on the ground reports are exactly what we need to make informed decisions about the equipment we bring to the hill, the areas we choose to ski or ride, and what to expect. I have found your blog extremely valuable over the years. Thanks for the effort you've put into it!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Thanks - actually my runs of the day today were the trees between Window Chutes and Spinal Tap which I had never much skied before. Maybe closures have a positive effect in that they force us to ski stuff that we would not normally ski. You could access the trees with not much side stepping from the Old Side and it was great skiing with some very testing lines in the trees.
      As I have said before the blog could re-start tomorrow if the hill were prepared to remove the threat to pull my pass over what I may write but unfortunately they appear to have no interest in finding a way ahead that may work for the both of us - in fact they have made no contact with me whatsoever that might lead to a reinstatement of the blog.
      Actually an interesting point of speculation might be to link the huge amount of poaching that has been taking place over the past few days and my initial problems. This poaching has been taking place in avi closed areas at a time when the avi risk is off the scale. I spoke to a volley patroller who was policing one of the fences and their instructions were to speak to anyone poaching. Compare this to my treatment when taking 6 turns under a fence that was just a conditions closure where several dozen skiers had already skied the area with no one getting upset about it resulted in me getting an email threatening to remove my pass. Anyone have any ideas why this unequal treatment should be handed out?

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    3. Hi Bill, typed out a long reply and had computer issues... DOH!

      Wish I knew how to get this sorted. Maybe the Patrol Leader has no idea this is going on? I think your blog really helps people make informed decisions to stay safer on the mountain. Hope to see you back in the future somehow! If not, enjoy your skiing and sailing! I'm heading to the hill tomorrow, hopefully the sunshine will allow more terrain to open. Planning on hiking to the top of W/P if Currie ends up opening...

      Cheers

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  35. Chrissi & KonstantinJanuary 19, 2018 at 3:56 AM

    Dear Bill,
    We are certain you are enjoying the winter in Fernie and would love to hear more about your daily explorations!
    I have also send RCR a message to complain about their overexaggerated treatment and hope they change their minds soon!
    Anyhow, have a great season and enjoy the Pow in Fernie!
    Best,
    Chrissi & Konstantin, Switzerland

    "Dear RCR management,
    We are living in Switzerland and have been traveling to Canada and the RCR resorts many times the past years. We are huge fans of Bills Blog (http://www.billhandley.com/2017/12/day-2-this-is-end-with-apologies-to.html?m=1) which was not only helpful information about current snow conditions and tipps for great runs but it is also enjoyable to read news about Ferny, Bills daily experiences and made us remember the good times we had in Fernie. By closing down Bills Blog (or by threatening him to take his seasonpass if he continues) you really made us upset and we are missing a daily routine which we really enjoyed! It was also great for us to compare snow amounts to what we got here in Switzerland and encouraged us to plan the next trip to Canada. Now, you took away many people's beloved opportunity to follow Bills tracks! You should know that you punish not only Bill but upset a lot of other snow lovers with your threat to Bill as well!
    I hope you change your mind soon!
    Best regards from Switzerland,
    Christina "

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  36. Thanks for this guys, sounds like you are having a pretty awesome snow year in Switzerland.
    I would be interested to hear if you get a reply to your email. RCR have steadfastly refused to make any contact with me since their original email where they threatened (and here I quote)"Our Senior Risk Management Team will have to further investigate this matter to determine if further action is required". At the time of writing I have heard nothing so I have no idea of the outcome of the deliberations of their Senior Risk Management Team and if I am to expect any further action from them. I would have expected to have heard something by now but apparently not.

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  37. Jan 21. Was in Fernie this weekend on family vacation. The day was overcast with gusty winds. Spent the morning riding the deer chair with my daughter. Dropped the kids off and spent the afternoon looking for good snow with my wife. Heard that snake ridge opened and was tempted to go that route. But my preference for the new side coupled with limited time pushed us that way. First run was through Currie which was decent heavily tracked snow. With anaconda and the traverse closed options were few. Next were two laps through surprise trees which was soft untracked pow if you were willing to get into some tight trees. More open areas were getting tracked out. Next were two laps through bootleg glades. Was amazed that at 2:45 we were only the third and fourth track through there. Especially with how much was closed. Both laps were excellent untracked snow. Getting a little heavy/ crusty closer to the bottom. We worked our way skiers right and were not disappointed. All in all a great day with good coverage all over the mountain.

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  38. We got out to Skydive on Saturday in the 15 minutes the traverse was open before Concussion avied om the first convex roll and closed it for the rest of the weekend. The run down Skydive was in the top 5 of all time. Sunday they opened Snake and we had awesome loops through Steep and Deep, Gorby and Snake Main until they were tracked up. Finished with a side step from the Old Side up into Skydive but got seduced by the Brain which was deep and untracked all the way down.

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  39. Hi Bill. Just curious if you have considered putting your blog on Facebook or something else that is not a public domain? You could make it a private page so you would be able to control who follows it. You could make everything anonymous as to who is writing it. You could even set up the Facebook account in a fake name with a fake email address. Maybe RCR would still find a way to screw you over but just a thought.

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  40. Funnily enough I have been thinking of something like this but the logistics are a bit daunting and I could just end up in the same place as where I am now. I am still hopeful that someone at RCR will respond to the olive branch which I have extended and get in touch with me to try and agree a way ahead but I have to say I am not holding my breath.

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  41. Disappointing to hear that RCR have not responded to you as yet. Highlights the complete unprofessional handling of the initial situation. Just looking at the comments here shows how much the blog is missed. It is kinda cool to have people start posting their own versions which has started me thinking while I stare out the window looking at the snow falling with a full knee brace on .....

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  42. General observations on the resort this year include how terrible the summer grooming effort has been in the last few years. Despite all the snow, vast areas of the hill are covered in alder. Not only is it ugly, it's dangerous. Runs that barely exist anymore include Sunnyside, China Wall, China Chute, Black Cloud, vast area of Red Tree, Curry Gully, many parts of Lizard Bowl. Some try to argue that it's essential to keep the snowpack stable. BS. Most ski hills in Europe are on the alpine where there is no vegetation and it actually makes the snowpack a lot more predictable to not have outcrops of stuff. Apparently a lot of grooming time 2 years ago was spent cleaning up Parking Lot 3 for the real estate plots. Which brings me to the other observation - parking is nearly done - on busy days they run out of parking space. You can hardly believe a business model exists that now accommodates fewer visitors, rather than more, in the future. Also all those people driving round in circles, past an empty lot with a sales caravan on it, parking somewhere where they get a ticket warning them they will be towed and then skiing alders are the very people who might have wanted to buy a condo on the new lot. Not very likely after that experience. A few other things: the grooming report now no longer includes whether the XC area has been groomed, the tendency to use that report to describe conditions as being better than the are seems just infantile - sure that works to bring people to the hill once under false pretences, but never again, just seems such a short-term approach. I think there should be a proper Patrol report, with real snow conditions, tips on which aspects to ski, etc. Kind of like Bill's report used to do. The one thing I do not knock are the closures which I realise frustrate a lot of folk. A twitchy snow pack means that safety must be the priority, but with people jammed into a smaller area the poor summer grooming effort makes things that much worse.

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    1. In regards to your grooming/brushing comments there were large fire hazards in SE BC this year. Machines likely were not allowed to operate on the hill and clear anything due to fire risk. Coverage on the mountain is great compared to even a month ago, if your having problems avoiding obstacles may I suggest some ski lessons?

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    2. Ha ha! I guess the resort does monitor this blog!

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  43. Well... If the resort is monitoring this blog, perhaps they can shed some light on why Polar Peak lift hasn't been running. Rumor is that it is done for the season. Maybe a mechanical issue? Or maybe the top to bottom rain caused an ice layer and it is too dangerous? I would love to know.

    Or maybe it is just a rumor and the lift will run as soon as the avi danger clears. Any info would be welcome.

    Thanks,

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  44. Very much wanted bill’s blog this weekend for guidance on condition and ski selection - it really is too bad the blog isn’t running anymore.

    Here’s a report for today:

    Started as classic “dust on crust” with nasty refrozen chunk off piste and groomers on anything below white pass the bottom of the white pass lift. Even the groomers required a bit of caution.

    Skiing white pass lift, there was softer crud that was actually quite nice to ski off piste. Shakey’s acres, cloud 9, the trees above highline were all quite nice.

    There was also significant accumulation throughout the afternoon. Seemed to be the perfect snow to recover the hill - not heavy flip, but it was heavy enough to stick to the icy sections - seemed pretty perfect snow for the situation. Probably should be a pretty good day at the hill tomorrow!

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    1. Thanks for the report. Does anyone know where to find real time weather info for the mountain? Unless I'm missing something, the resort website is almost worthless except the Griz Fresh Snow Cam. Is there anyplace to find real time temperature and wind information? What about the snow plot/weather station next to the Great Bear Quad? Is that info available somewhere online?

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  45. Temperature @ Bear Plot: http://www.weatherlink.com/user/beartop
    They used to stream live data from the study plot on this page, but for some reason this year it has stopped: http://www.mountainweather.ca/data/STUDYPLOT.HTM

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    1. Thank you for those links!

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  46. Report for today (feb 7):

    Warmer temps at the hill. Nice soft crud with some excellent wind grooming on lift line and concussion. Will get ugly if it refreezes without snow, but there is snow in the forecast - let’s hope it comes and refreshes the hill

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