August 19, 2000
We arrived home yesterday from a car (fly and rent) trip through Eastern Canada
and found the valley choked with forest fire smoke. We had heard of the large
fires in Montana, but were unaware of the numerous fires around Cranbrook and
Koocanusa. One plume was even disturbingly visible behind one of the peaks down
the valley and the wood smoke taste and smell was obvious whenever you were
Fortunately it was much clearer today my son and I managed to slip out to check
out what was happening with the new chairlift. We opted to wimp out and ride
the Elk Chair for the first half of our ascent. Our season passes granted us
a free trip, but only after having to climb up to the ski shop to get a ticket
<grumble>, so the net result was that it might have been quicker to walk.
Riding certainly was easier though.
The Bear T-Bar is now gone and a significant amount of terrain modification
is in progress to accommodate the increased traffic that a high speed detachable
lift will bring to upper Lizard Bowl. Quite a bit of the foundation work for
the lift has also been done. The accompanying pictures and captions have the
highlights of what we came across.
Now I wonder if they have any plans for that T-Bar?
Perce Rock, on the Gaspe peninsula, was certainly one of the most spectacular
pieces of scenery we encountered on our whirlwind Eastern trip. Indeed the Gaspe
was by far the most scenic area we visited, although to be fair when we visited
the Cape Breton Highlands portion the weather conditions were far from ideal.
We dropped in on friends who ski in Fernie in the winter and in the summer operate
a small (in terms of rooms and cabins) resort on something like 800 acres of
gorgeous sea side property in Port Daniels on the Gaspe. Here they clown with
Tara and Chris by practicing their ski stances in anticipation of the coming
Unfortunate timing meant we could only stop here briefly, but anyone considering
a trip to the Gaspe should really check this spot out at www.chaleurchalets.com.
The new building at Lizard Creek Lodge is looking much more finished these days.
The Bear T-Bar is no more <sniff>. The towers have been removed from the
old lift line (left center) and a wide new run (Upper Dipsy? Upper Lizard Trail?)
has been cut from the Bear run to the bottom of Ballet.
Looking down the new lift line from where Tower 8 will be, on Ballet just above
Dipsy. Many of the tower locations already have the foundations in place, but
some, like this one, are still just holes.
This shot shows the top tower and top station foundations from the top of the
Bear run. The patrol shack is at the extreme right.
The relative positions of the gun tower, lift top and patrol shack are clearer
in this image. The off loading area will be somewhat higher than before, but
not as high as the gun tower.
The reshaping of China Wall. I don't think they are done with this yet, but
it appears there will be a fairly wide corridor with a moderate pitch crossing
the steep section from the skiers right to left. This is vaguely reminiscent
of Heartland and it appears that steeper terrain will remain for those who prefer