Craig's Report - October 18, 2004
First Fall Tease
The first tease of winter has arrived in Fernie and as such things go, it was better than most. A nice white blanket was draped over everything this morning and the snow continued to fall heavily until about noon. Of course I know it will almost certainly disappear soon, at least from the lower slopes. Indeed I hope it does so I can put away our woebegone trampoline and complete other overdue fall tasks, but it is a promise of things to come and definitely made for a delightful walk on the mountain.
The snow was rather wet and slushy when I headed out in the early afternoon, but above the Bear's Den it dried out and by the top of Bear it had deepened to well above my ankles, perhaps 20 cm or so. If there had been a base under it, it would have provided some very nice, slightly dense powder skiing. As it was, the depth was an almost perfect compromise for both climbing and descending, although not really deep enough for carefree galumphing down the mountain.
Untouched snow seems to count even when walking and above the Bear's Den the were no tracks other than a few from the local deer tribe. I couldn't say why the combination of solitude, dynamic weather and undisturbed snow is so appealing, but it certainly does the trick for me.
It is pretty much an annual tradition that as soon as the first flakes fall, there will be some eager folks trudging up the mountain to pit themselves and some sacrificial boards against the thin snow and thick rocks. So I wasn't surprised when on my way up I encountered a couple of snow boarders and a small dog heading up for the day's delights.
On my way down I encountered them again trying to make the best of the lower part of Bear. Apparently their pooch, a cute little terrier, was having some problems with snow matting into its fur, so the fellow was boarding down with the dog in his arms. Given the conditions, I wasn't sure who was braver (crazier?), the dog or the boarder. However at the Bear's Den, the dog's tail was waving away and he certainly seemed happy enough. The boarder seemed content too and as I left the mountain, they were nearing the bottom of Elk, still on the boards.
Since my new toy makes taking video very easy, I am experimenting by including this link to a short clip of boarder and dog. However even though it is only about 15 seconds long and highly compressed, it is still over 800K. :-(