Friday, January 27, 2012

more snow

well, one great week was followed by another, as it started snowing again early in the week. not as much snow this week, but the thicker quality actual made the turns as good, and for some of us, better. personally, i love the creamy texture we get when the temps are in the mid to upper 20's. especially since we just do not get the 2+ foot dumps. (like Fernie, who recieved two feet last monday night and then a foot during the day on tuesday. lucky few who timed that one right)

right now the resort is in Fantastic! shape. everything is completely filled in and pretty well packed in. sure, you can still hit some rocks in different cliff bands, as i did trying to get into a tight chute in the western bowl cliff band, but it was worth it, as the apron was full, untracked and deep.

i keep thinking about trying to find some ice to get up, but it keeps snowing, and after a brutal december, well, sometimes it is best to take what the snow gods give you when it is there, cause things can change quickly here.

had to turn down an offer to Turner Mtn. today, as we are headed south to Ovando (where it snowed nearly 3 feet in town last wednesday. that means on mon/tues, Fernie got close to 3 feet, and on Wed. Ovando got nearly 3 feet. right in the middle, well, we did well, with perhaps a foot on the mountains, but only 4-6 inches in town. so we continue to suffer the worst nordic year i have seen here in my 20 years. too bad, but there is some grooming still going on at Big Mtn and into Ironhorse) from Ovando, we are heading down to ski at Discovery, where I have not been in 20 years, so I really do not know how it is, but the backside sure looks like fun.

on a non-powder note: for any and all dog lovers, or friends of dog lovers/owners. please do not feed you pet:

anything with
any "food" product from China.

both of these are toxic to our loved ones, causing severe stomach and liver issues. also, though usually safe

Rymadil can prove an issue as well, so any sign of problem with this product should bring immediate cancellation of use.

all for now, cbm

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

crazy lite

that is some light snow, and with the temps staying cold, it will continue to stay that way for a day or two more, before a small warming trend comes in. i heard two different guys who had lived in steamboat, compare it to some of the lightest snow they had skied down there, (which, if you do not know, is known for some of the lightest "champagne powder" in the world) this was in two different conversations.

for those into the out of bounds, well, the canyon is up to and over the head. but with it so light, you are actually skiing the bottom still. hopefully it just keeps piling up and we leave the hard packed base to those who want to ski groomers.

if we do get more snow and warmer temps, we will once again see a pineapple cake effect, with warm snow on top. this can be tricky, and it can also be very dangerous, especially given the ridiculous snowpack we have right now.

but it sure seems like we are on our way into winter and out of the extended high pressure autumn that has been nagging us for the past two months.

Friday, January 13, 2012


okay, i am ready to say the skiing is good. not great, like the typical Big reports say, but good. we have a pretty solid base, with mediocre coverage, but enough to carefully get where you want to go. the BC is in nice shape, FOR NOW! the addition of much new snow on top of several troublesome weak layers can (should i say, will) spell for a big avy cycle! so, of course, here comes a good sized cycle, moving in tomorrow, and building up strength into mid week and beyond. i don 't want to get too excited until it actually hits, so will temper my expectations, but i have my fingers crossed.

after a good conversation with an old time local, who was here thru the brutal winter of 2000/2001, he convinced me we are in much better shape this year than that. so again, with the addition of a good cycle, especially one that is extended, should make for some amazing skiing. front country to start with, then side-country, and finally, hopefully, after a avy cycle or two, some settling, some bridging, we could find ourselves in some incredible backcountry skiing for the second half of winter.

it might finally be time to break out the new, fat, early rise skis my incredibly, beautiful, wonderful, wife bought me for xmas!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

sun shine

okay, for those of you who suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder, our continued sun has probably been a huge boon to you. but for those of you who do not suffer from this typical affect, but have what i call "reverse affect disorder" (too much sun resulting in little to no snow)times are tough. if you have tons of money, perhaps head north, as far as Ak, as it has been pounding up there since October. or if you have even more money, head across the big bay to Europe, as they are into a big winter, and of course the options there are unending.

but for those of you, like myself, where this is not an option, settle in for a bit, keep your fingers crossed and know that surely it must start sooner than later.

that is really all i have to say right now. it is just a tough go. the long range forecasts and "la nina" effect still point to a moist cold winter. i just got to believe that if the greater high pressure breaks down, here and off the pacific, and all the other climate effects stay in place, it is going to go off, here and elsewhere, and all us knuckleheads will go out and get crazy. until then, try not to go crazy upstairs.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


as i sat up early this morning, a bit before dawn (getting up this early is a result of a post holiday cheer reduction plan, which in turn results in early bedtimes), i began to hear some rumbling noises that at first i thought might be the wood in the stove settling, then realized it was rain pounding on the deck roof, and wind knocking the swing against the house. ah, if it were only april.

BUT IT IS NOT! it is fucking january. sure, sometimes it rains here in January, but usually after it has already snowed for a month to two. now, well, you know. what little valley snow we had is gone. i swear, on tuesday, in kalispell, with my car's thermometer reading over 45 degrees, grass was greening up.

there were two positives yesterday, but unfortunately they are accompanied by the negative side too.
first, our beloved ski patrol, always trying to make things a bit better, opened the Western Bowl (or hellroaring basin, if you prefer) to the traverse. the skiing was actually pretty good, but one knew the traverse was going to be tough. and like so many other things i have noted of late, it is the worst i have seen it. but what made it even worse still, was that for some reason, snowboarders do NOT know how to read. it appears, in my unofficial survey, that 20% of snowboarders are illiterate. not one, but two signs implored snowboarders to avoid the basin, as the traverse was tough. still, there they were. and they were not the experts that can manage such obstacles, but the intermediates. cluttering the trail and making it even more dangerous and onerous. i swear the patrol would have been better if they had encouraged snowboarders onto this traverse, as certainly they do not want to do what the "authorities" would suggest. i felt as though it were like telling a teenager to NOT smoke pot, or NOT drink beer! and of course their response would be "well, if mom and dad don't want me to try something, it must be great, and here i go, into hellroaring basin"

the second positive, is the glacier nordic club is now grooming some of the old nordic system at the base of the Big. they have actually gone down into haskill basin and connected to the ironhorse trails, which, being on stoltze land, is optional for all to use, not just those that can afford to live in ironhose. (the "r" is purposefully left out) this now gives us a more close to home option for nordic than blacktail or issak walton. unfortunatey, the trails are quite thin, as expected. plus, as many of you know, it is mostly an up and down course, so the climb out of the hole is daunting. if you are not up for a hard workout, or not in skate ski shape (who is) i might suggest using your old waxless classic set up. also, with the warm weather, the trails got soft and many pole plants were touching down to terra firma.

well, as the light comes thru on a new day, the rain and wind have abated, at least for now. certainly winter will start any day.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


well, i wish i could open with some amazing stories of deep powder and unabashed bliss. but unfortunately, the reality is, we are in what i am now calling the worst start to winter i have seen in my 21 years in the valley. although the resort is mostly open, and offers some good skiing, it is still shallow and there are numerous obstacles to watch out for, not the least of which were the holiday crowds. fortunately, the lift lines stayed at a reasonable level, and the weather was at times fantastic, it is just not happening yet. and worse, the weather forecast is pretty minimal going out about 10 days. i keep thinking the big push will start any day, but am losing some confidence.

this could all be calmed with a nice storm or two that at least brought enough snow to cover our valley and open up the nordic ski options, but that too looks off in the not immediate future. i have heard report that the glacier nordic club may begin grooming up on the old mountain trails any day, and am trying to confirm that. in the meantime, essex and blacktail offer decent options, if you are willing to drive an hour or so.

the backcountry remains extremely limited and with new snow and high winds late last week, i was concerned with high avy conditions. but for now at least, what can be found seems moderately stable. i would not go hucking into anything loaded or exposed, but gentle skiing may be good on mind, body and skis.

so for now, i continue to look for options to keep my body active, and keep my mind off the late november conditions here in early 2012. perhaps our friend kevin, somewhere searching for wind in the baja of mexico, found the right thing for this winter. certainly this was not the best year to be unemployed. i am certain that if i find some work, the snow will start, so perhaps i should make that sacrifice sooner than later. i am trying, for if that is what it takes to wake the snow gods from their long slumber, well, someone has to do it.