John's Report - December 12, 2005
Opening Weekend - My Two Cents Worth
After waiting eight months for the opening, the day had finally arrived. On Saturday there were moments of sunshine (the next best thing to a snow storm) and the riders on the Hill (sounds like a Door�s song) were sparse; which while surprising, was a good thing as the base remains relatively thin. However, at the lower levels the many new snow machines were working overtime making for safe riding on the lower slopes - a blessing after last year.
As was reported by Jay & Craig, Saturday�s snow was rather crusty off piste. I tried to stick to the groomers given the months I spent as a couch-potato. This was trickier than one might think since it turned out that few of the higher runs were actually groomed. I suspect that grooming threatened to expose too many rocks & stumps.
Sunday was quite different. The sun was out in full force and the off-piste had been sufficiently tracked by people younger than me, thus reducing Saturday�s menacing crust to a softer, kinder version of its former self. But I paid the price for being lulled off the beaten track & put four major gouges into the bases of my skis. The Timber/White Pass & Currie Bowl areas proved to be the real danger spots. However, the good folks at FAR�s ski repair shop are fixing all the damage for just $10.00 - now that�s good customer relations. Thanks guys.
While errant rocks may be the bad news, the good news is cheap beer!!! Continuing with last year�s tradition, I ended the day by quaffing a couple of pints at the Griz. The bargain beer of this season is Kokanee, which is selling for just $4.50 a mug - fifty cents less than last year! Truly good news. The non-bargain draft beer is still $5.50 a pint & consists of Kokanee Gold, Kootenay & Fernie 1st Tracks (if memory serves). The food at the Griz still has a long way to go. The only thing that appeared worth eating were the Nachos ($14.00) with less appetizing fare going for around $10.00. However, despite this short coming, the Griz still the place to go for cheap beer, fast times and good music.
In the interests of journalistic balance, I visited Kelsey�s on Sunday. While the food selection is definitely better, beer costs between $6.31 & $6.96 - not the place for those who like to overdo it on budget. The draft is Kokanee, Kokanee Gold, Canadian, Rickards Red & Stella Artois, the latter two being the $7.00 brands. Nevertheless, the bar is a good place to staddle up if you are inclined to have a meaningful conversation with a complete stranger.
The weather outlook for the next few days does not look especially promising but one thing I�ve learned during my 10 years in the area is not to put too much faith in the weatherman.
Rocks or snow, I�ll be back on the Hill within the next couple of days because any way you cut it, it�s a joy to again be on the boards.
All in all it was a fine weekend.