Craig's Report - July 01, 2006
The Summer Season Begins
The Canada Day weekend marks the beginning of the summer lift season at FAR and perhaps lured by a run of hot sunny weather, there seems to be lots of people here to enjoy a few days in the mountains. The majority of the lift passengers are still comprised of gladiator robed two wheelers, but it was nice to see a fair number of families and other folks out for a stroll on the mountain. And what a day it was for a walk on the slopes. In truth the last week has been way too hot for my taste and best left for those heat lovers who I suspect have a tad too much reptilian blood in their veins, but today was more moderate and with the benefit of an early start (well I call 9:30 early) and a bit of Lost Boy Pass breeze, a climb up Siberia Bowl was quite bearable.
While only the Elk chair runs on weekdays, on weekends the Timber chair runs as well, but with only a couple of mountain bike routes available. The trail down Falling Star was heavily mangled by the cat work last fall and also has some major fallen tree blockages in the forest farther down. As a result the trail crew hasn�t managed to get this open yet, which offered a nice secluded way up despite Timber running. The other closed trail is Downhill in Currie Bowl, which also has some cat damage and while Megasaurus was open, there were a few spots that would require lifting your bike over obstacles.
The big news concerning work on the hill this summer is the talk that a restaurant is going to be built at the top of the Timber chair. I have heard that this will be on the order of a 1000 square feet and yes, it will provide on hill washroom facilities for the new side. This will undoubtedly be particularly appreciated by folks wishing to avoid trips to the bottom on those days when the lower slopes are, um, humidity challenged. I am not sure of the exact location yet, but have heard it will be on the saddle somewhere to the right when you get off the chair. No construction has started on the building itself yet, but they have been busy improving the cat track from the bottom, presumably to accommodate the necessary construction vehicles. An extension to the patrol hut at the top of White Pass is also underway.
Conditions at the top of Timber were so nice I decided to continue up to White Pass, where I was further lured on up to the top of Polar Peak - something I haven�t done for perhaps a couple of years. The weather continued to be glorious, but half way up the ridge to Polar, I happened to look over my shoulder and now being high enough to see over the mountains, discovered lots of troubling looking clouds bearing down on us from the Kootenay valley. Mountain tops and lightning never seemed like a great idea to me, so I was rather breathless after hurrying to the top for a few pictures before heading for the presumed shelter of lower ground.
It did get quite dark at times with ominous rumbling, but so far the local action has been restricted to a few quick showers interspersed with periods of sun. A thunderstorm still seems likely tonight, but the forecast for the next few days is a return to beautiful, sunny, but depressingly hot 30 C days. And yes, I know that you Aussies would consider that sweater weather down under.
At quarter past four it is a lovely 22 C on the porch under what are now mainly cloudy skies.