Fernie, B.C., Feb. 25, 2017

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Fernie, B.C., Feb. 25, 2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:30 am

I had some concerns skiing Fernie on Saturday, but it turned out to be another great day. I could not get lodging in Fernie for the weekend so had to stay 20 miles away in Sparwood. While the mountain was busy I never waited more than 5 minutes in line and ended up skiing 32,400 vertical for the day. When I came down from Currie Bowl about 10:30AM Timber chair was not moving and I heard later that it was down for maybe half an hour. But I passed it by and went up the Elk and Bear lifts and continued my ski day uninterrupted.

I had adjusted my schedule to ski Castle Thursday/Friday because high winds were predicted Saturday. Those might shut Polar Peak at Fernie, but if they closed Castle’s top chair I would lose ¾ of the terrain there. Winds were moderate riding the Bear and Timber chairs. Polar Peak was indeed “polar” with gusty winds and I had to wear mittens for that but at least it was open. Overall temps were in the 15F range on most of the mountain but well into the 20’s at the 3,450 foot base. There were sunny breaks through the morning but after lunch it was solid overcast like the past two afternoons.

I started up the Timber chair just after 9AM and took several laps on White Pass. There were 2cm of new snow which made for soft cruising on the groomers.
IMG_8730.JPG


Off the groomed, Shakey’s Acres near the top of White Pass was good but the firm subsurface became evident about halfway down White Pass at similar elevation where it began at Castle. I finally departed White Pass via the 123’s.
IMG_8732.JPG


Lower down I skied the groomed center of Currie Bowl.
IMG_8733.JPG


Polar Peak had just opened so I was tempted to return but when I saw the motionless Timber chair I moved on to the “old side”of Fernie, which turned out to be fortuitous. The old side tops out at 5,545 feet so I started with groomers near the Bear chairlift and in Lizard Bowl.
IMG_8734.JPG


But I noticed a couple of local kids dropping a tight entry into Cedar Ridge, so on my third Bear chair I gave that a try. To my pleasant surprise there was still quite a bit of soft snow in those trees so I worked my way skier’s right and encountered minimal hard snow before hitting the groomer 1,000 feet lower.

I recalled local Craig Morris’ comments that it snows more on the old side of Fernie than in the 1999 expansion terrain even though the latter ascends much higher. Craig has left Fernie for Vancouver Island, and his last ski day there was with Liz and me in February 2014. http://tumblr.redtree.com/post/78020945 ... l-bottom-a" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. His Fernie ski site is still online with detail reports and pics from 1996-2008 plus 2011. Still useful for prospective visitors is his annotated trail map: http://www.redtree.com/trailmap" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. Clicking on a run marking reveals a picture and comments about that run.

Cedar Bowl clearly had the best snow of the day so I returned in the afternoon. But it was now 11:30 so I wanted to get down to the base and beat the lunch crowd. After lunch I went back up Timber and White Pass to take my shot at Polar Peak.
IMG_8735.JPG

I first skied Shale Slope, the broad ~30 degree slope looker’s left in that pic. It faces south but it was way too cold for any melt/freeze. However Shale Slope takes some direct wind and had variable surfaces alternating between wind pockets and more exposed packed sections. Riding the chair I could see that the liftline was similar. The “Bear” runs looker’s right drop below the base of the Polar Peak lift and thus require a run down Currie Bowl and 3 lifts to return. The good news is that they were leeward of the strong winds and well filled in with Mammoth quality windsift. The top 500 vertical of Papa Bear is a sustained 40 degrees and thus needs to be skied conservatively but I could really rip the lower section in the deep windsift.

I then took the Reverse Traverse to each an opening to drop into Lizard Bowl. I the past I have rope/sidestepped down the old tires in Corner Pocket, but this time I traversed farther down. High Saddle was steep, narrow and twisted out of view in the by now less than ideal light. I moved on to Saddle, which was still plenty steep and had a couple of small rocks on the middle to avoid. Zoomed pic of Saddle with a few boarders who perhaps found a softer line cutting through the trees below the notch:
IMG_8740.JPG

Nonetheless the broad apron below Saddle offered quite a leftover few powder turns.

From Lizard Bowl I skied to the Bear chair and took the long traverse to the far side of Cedar Bowl. I dropped into the Snake Ridge trees which had the most powder I found Saturday.
IMG_8742.JPG


Lower down the slope funnels into tight gullies which sometimes contain partially buried alders.
IMG_8743.JPG

I stayed high on the ridge and eventually crossed skier’s left into lower Gorbi Bowl. As on Cedar Ridge snow was mostly packed powder down to the groomer at ~4,500 feet.

You have to exit Cedar Bowl via the Haul Back T-Bar and the Boomerang chair. I dropped into King Fir from the top of Boomerang, a slightly shorter version of Cedar Ridge. I made my last Cedar Bowl lap down its center which is less steep than the Cedar or Snake Ridges. Cedar Glades:
IMG_8748.JPG


Looking back up groomed Cedar Center.
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Skiing my last run back to the base I passed by Fernie’s snow plot at 5,380 feet.
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Saturday was my 9th consecutive ski day, and with a 5 hour drive to my next stop in Rossland I decided to take Sunday off. I thus missed 13 inches of new snow at Fernie. However as of 10:30AM Polar Peak and most of the bowls remain closed for avalanche control. But the new snow should ensure excellent skiing over the next week with the continued cool temperatures.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
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Re: Fernie, B.C., Feb. 25, 2017

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sun Feb 26, 2017 5:23 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:Saturday was my 9th consecutive ski day.

Impressive Iron Man feats of endurance this season. =D>
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Re: Fernie, B.C., Feb. 25, 2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:25 pm

I may not set a days skied record this season, but all of that piste bashing in Austria has put a new season vertical foot record within reach. I'm currently at 35 days and 791K vertical. That is a pace typical of tseeb and well above my average. Mammoth announced at the end of January they will be open to July 4, certainly the earliest I've ever heard that.

If James would like to pick a season to extend past early April, this is the one. The spring welcome mat is out from me for Mammoth (I'd recommend Memorial Day if you want to minimize vacation days), as it probably is for admin in Utah too.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Fernie, B.C., Feb. 25, 2017

Postby EMSC » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:08 am

Tony Crocker wrote:I thus missed 13 inches of new snow at Fernie.


Too bad you missed on it, but sounds like a good thing for me. I'm scheduled to ski Fernie on Wed this week.
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Re: Fernie, B.C., Feb. 25, 2017

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:27 pm

EMSC wrote:I'm scheduled to ski Fernie on Wed this week.

Where else are you going?
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Re: Fernie, B.C., Feb. 25, 2017

Postby EMSC » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:08 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:
EMSC wrote:I'm scheduled to ski Fernie on Wed this week.

Where else are you going?


Castle and then Banff area for 3 days.
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Re: Fernie, B.C., Feb. 25, 2017

Postby takeahike46er » Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:25 pm

Nice report!

I know all about that crusty layer. I visited Fernie a couple weeks ago. Was planning to hit Castle as well, but the drive wouldn't have been worth it for similar conditions. Conditions at Kicking Horse were great, however.

Fernie:
http://forum.nyskiblog.com/Fernie-B-C-2 ... 301130369-"

Kicking Horse:
http://forum.nyskiblog.com/Kicking-Hors ... 130369-754"
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Re: Fernie, B.C., Feb. 25, 2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:58 pm

Castle may have been worth it. A rain line of 5,500 is top of Timber or Bear chairs at Fernie and below only Polar Peak and the upper half of White Pass. 5,500 is below most of Castle's best wide open fall lines. You either hit the Cinch traverse on the south side or some other groomers above the dense trees on the north side, in both case above 5,500. While I think you should have tried Castle one day, no question the trek to Kicking Horse was a great call.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 9794
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
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