We certainly missed Griz while he took a little vacation after Christmas and we were certainly glad to see him get back to the job a couple of weeks ago. Today though he finally got serious and presented us overnight with 37 cm of new on the hill. This was enough to even get the sloth couple up on the hill shortly after the big yellow bus carted the kids away.
Alas our first impression was how much Fernie has changed in recent years. A veritable mob was awaiting us at the Elk Chair while the Timber Chair was closed pending avalanche control. This on a Thursday in what should be a fairly low part of the season.
We eventually abandoned this wait for the long traverse from the top of Deer.
It may not have been faster, but it was probably a bit more interesting.
Once up on the mountain it was easy to see why there were lots of folks enjoying the 20 cm rule. Although not fluff, the snow was fairly light and certainly most pleasant to swoosh through.
Getting untracked or even unchopped was pretty tough though due to the hordes cruising about. Timing was everything and when we missed the rope drop on Cedar Ridge by half a chair ride, we discovered that everything that was left was well sliced and diced. This was a far cry from a few years ago when the job of slope trashing fell to just a few dedicate bush bashers. The folks who have been here for 25 years or more must have even sorrier tales for their beer.
It was of course still extremely pleasant everywhere, particularly off trail.
Other than Bear, Cedar Ridge, the Boomerang runs and the Timber Chair runs in
the afternoon, everything on the upper mountain was closed due to avalanche
hazard. This wasn't surprising as it continued to snow quite hard throughout
the day except for when Griz took a brief lunch break.
There was much speculation that White Pass would open in the late afternoon and it appeared they were all ready to go, but finally announced that it had been decided to leave it closed for the day.
I took my first run down the gladed chutes to the skiers right of the Timber
Chair near the top and despite the theatre view from the chair (I hate skiing
under chairs), it earned my seal of approval. Some caution could be advised
when traversing over though, unless one is partial to some very seriously steep
At 7:50 PM (yeah, I know it is late, but given men's day lessons, bar, beer, etc. it is amazing there is anything at all - lucid will have to wait for another day) it has almost stopped snowing and the temperature has risen to 0 C at the house. Not good! Oh the thought of all that lovely untracked powder being spoiled by r-, ra-, you know what I mean. :-(
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