Saturday, March 17, 2018

Day 106 Happy Paddy's Day

And for those PC individuals who think we shouldn't call it Paddy's Day I suggest you have a word with my many Irish friends on the subject who feel pretty strongly that we should. Of course the day didn't start well with England losing the rugby to Ireland and at Twickenham to boot. Never mind my Ancestry report said I was 31% Irish so it was a great win for us. Actually the DNA report also shows my next most significant source of genes was Scandinavian (Viking) which may explain a lot of things.

No new snow and a day that was mostly bluebird with few high clouds and a temp of -4 on the front deck as I was drinking my coffee. I give up with the weather forecasts as today's (published this morning) gave a daytime high of +2. The dogs in the street know that if you have a sunny day at this time of year in Fernie it is going to get way hotter than that and sure enough it was +7 as we drove away from the hill tonight having been several degrees warmer during the day. I know the forecast would have been the "in the shade" (or more accurately "behind the Stevenson's Screen") temp but come on, we all knew what was going to happen.

Although it was a Saturday it was not that busy and the general view was that with Lake Louis having had a big dump a lot of the Calgary weekend traffic headed up there. We decided on yet another New Side day looking to ski in the north facing "winter" slopes and venturing on to the south facing slopes only later in the day after they day softened. It goes without saying that the Timber Top to White Pass Load was through the trees on lookers left on Lift Line which as I said yesterday are in great condition and surprisingly steep and tight in places.

I went out to try the Saddles only to find that the Reverse Traverse was closed, presumably to keep traffic out of the frozen crud on Concussion. Yesterday they relied on education by way of signs to achieve this but I guess with weekend crowds they thought that education might not be the way to go. Lynda (enjoying day 100 for her) had dropped 1-2-3s and was surprised to find me waiting at the bottom for her. Diamond Leg Trees made up for my disappointment and I pushed right into the steeper tighter trees at the bottom all day.

Next loop we dropped the Gun Bowl (Knot Chutes were also closed for frozen crud reasons) which was pretty ribby but just starting to soften. Anaconda in the trees in between the chutes was good winter skiing as was another Diamond Leg Trees drop. The Reverse Traverse was open so we went out to High Saddle which was a bit more worn than yesterday but still ok edge to edge jumping. Below the chute it was rather firmer than yesterday but still good winter snow. Just like yesterday all our exits from that area were via Easter Bowl which was nice firm bumps taking an edge and Freeway which had been newly groomed.

We decided to try the Fraser Tooth and once again it was very good with winter snow on a firm base and great steep tree skiing. Last run before lunch we hiked up Lone Fir and found the chute hardly touched since yesterday. This chute is usually so tough that I have a very fixed line that I ski but now it is so mellow I took the opportunity to ski in all sorts of places I never go and avoided the final gully altogether by staying on the high left shoulder. The fan underneath was of course awesome and Easter remained in good shape.

After lunch Knot Chutes had opened so we dropped a rather slushy Jim Chute before heading to Anaconda. Just for a change I went right across to about Anaconda 5 and found some good untracked lines in the trees - Diamond Leg Trees were the exit again. The had also opened Polar Peak and although I didn't think the skiing would be any good I felt I ought to go up just once to show willing. Only the Coaster side was open and I was right - Crusty was very scratchy with a gnarly entrance and the fans across from Tower 6 were no better than ok but at least they were soft. I took High Saddle and found that since morning it was getting trenched out in the lower section and hasn't got much life left in it. Skiing below the chute and Easter Bowl were at least as good as the morning and were not sun affected as they just about remained in the shade.

With the High IT open Cobra Rock was calling and the entrance and steep tight right hand chutes were probably the best skiing on the hill today. Diamond Leg Trees were still in good shape. I just had time for a quick rip out to Low Saddle which after a couple of bumps and rocks in the top was very mellow and the right/left cut into Perch Chutes was also good winter snow. Easter Bowl continued to stay in good shape and may end up as the last large area of good snow on the hill if this weather keeps up.

Last run of course was Skydive and it was ugly. The bumps in the top were steeper and tighter than they had been and then there were a few good turns. After that the mid section was sun affected and setting up and the lower section was rock hard and covered with death cookies all the way down. Far and away the worst run of the day but in keeping with tradition we ripped it in one with no breaks.

There was line up to get in the Griz Bar but as it was Paddy's Day I made an exception to my rule and lined up. We had a great evening and Lynda celebrated day 100 in much the same way as I had celebrated mine last Sunday. And so now they are calling for some snow (maybe) tomorrow afternoon but I am so disillusioned with the forecast I am ready for anything.

Finally may I say hello to my small but loyal following in Vanuatu. I see I get a couple of hits from there most days so I thought I ought to say Hi and hope that the skiing in Vanuatu is awesome this season.


  1. Yes, Paddy's day is 100% acceptable, Paddy is short for Pádraig which is the Irish for Patrick. Those who say “Patty's Day” need a very swift kick up the arse, it’s something that makes 99.9% of Irish people’s blood boil

  2. Very true Simon, just don't ask me to try and explain to anyone here how to pronounce Padraig or we will be here all day.