Fernie, B.C., Feb. 23, 2018

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Fernie, B.C., Feb. 23, 2018

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:12 am

Friday was the day the Canadian deep freeze was supposed to moderate, but it didn’t really, except around the base area midday. Temps up high remained in single digits F all day with thick overcast most of the time. We are also alternating days between Castle and Fernie because of high winds predicted Friday and Sunday. If wind closes Castle’s Red chair, that loses about ¾ of Castle’s terrain. The less likely loss of White Pass at Fernie would still leave about 60% of terrain open.

We got on the hill about 10:30 and skied the old side as we hoped to meet a local blogger http://www.billhandley.com/ who writes even more detailed reports than the originals from Craig Morris, who has retired to Vancouver Island. Per that blog conditions had been ugly with rain to nearly 6,000 feet Feb. 4 followed by over a week of hard freeze. Fortunately it dumped 2+ feet Feb. 14-16. Groomers were good top to bottom. Only occasionally would turns scrape down to the old subsurface in high traffic or steep confined spaces. In those steeps it was easy to make turns in the abundant chopped soft snow and while I would sometimes hear loud noise at the end of a turn, it was really nothing to throw off the line I was skiing.

We warmed up on Bow and China Wall in Lizard Bowl. Back up the Bear chair we skied Cedar Center, soft snow on skier’s left up high and a very smooth groomer the rest of the way. View across Cedar Bowl to Snake Ridge:

After riding the Haul Back T-bar and Boomerang chair, Tseeb and I dropped into the steep north facing trees of Cedar Ridge. By pushing skier’s right we extended that fall line quite a bit, and here is Tseeb near the bottom of it.

After another Haul Back and Boomerang chair, we skied the Boomerang bowl under the lift and got to the base about 12:50. Liz got some lunch but Tseeb found Bill and we headed up the Timber chair at 1:15. Just after we loaded we discovered the snow host Bill was not the blogger Bill and so we did not have a local ski guide for the afternoon. At this point we also found out that while there was little wind on the old side of Fernie, there plenty while riding the Timber chair so it felt every bit as cold as Tuesday and Thursday though far from the extreme of Wednesday. Tseeb and I skied the 123’s and Currie Bowl back to the base and retrieved Liz.

Liz took two long laps through Currie Bowl while I showed Tseeb some of Fernie’s more sporting lines. We first traversed past the closed Polar Peak base to Corner Pocket, the highest entry to Easter Bowl. In 2013 Liz and I had to step down over about 10 tires with aid of a rope. This year all but 2 of the tires are buried and I watched someone sideslip down without the rope and followed suit. The sideslip was tight and tuned out to be not so easy for Tseeb, who was on 186cm skis vs. my 180’s.

Easter Bowl was by far the best snow of the day though the steep upper part had flat light. But it was very soft and smooth and gave way to some low angle powder on the apron below. Here I watched someone else take the lower Saddle entry into Easter.

Here is Tseeb after he emerged from Corner Pocket.

By the time of our next ride up Timber it was snowing and blowing hard. From White Pass we took a somewhat sketchy traverse to one of the Knot Chutes, made more challenging by the marginal visibility.

For our last run we tried to find Skydive, which I have never skied and is often blogger Bill’s final run of the day. This involves a long Alta-worthy traverse past all the entries into Easter Bowl and to the spine of the ridge separating Lizard from Currie Bowl. We found a first cleared run which was narrow and we could only see huge bumps at the top of it. But I saw a clearing just beyond to skier’s left, and when I inspected it was a steep gladed area with lots of cut up powder. So it was an easy call to ski that, which was probably the Easter trees dropping into the lower part of Lizard Bowl.

At 4:30 we found blogger Bill in the Griz bar, had a nice chat and hope to get in some skiing with him Sunday. I skied 23,000 vertical Friday. Once again I was sparing with the camera due to weather.
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: 10036
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

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