Posted by on Thursday, March 13, 2008
I've looked into NonStop Snowboard quite a few times; they're a company that specialises in providing instructor courses and improvement courses in Canada. One of the resorts that they operate from is Fernie.
While we were out there I received a couple of emails from Tom Gordon-Walker at NonStop; it turns out he was reading my blog, sweet! Nice guy actually, and after chatting some, I figured it would be worth checking out the Red Tree Lodge, seems as though it's run by the NonStop peeps and he asked if I could let him know what I thought...
The Red Tree lodge offers both a restaurant and accommodation. Given that we were already sorted as far as digs go, Ciara and I were there for the food and drink only.
The first thing that I noticed was the atmosphere; a fairly young vibe, fresh and relaxed. The service was prompt and friendly, and continued to be so throughout the meal.
The food was good and there was a selection of local beers on offer. What was refreshing with the Red Tree Lodge was the menu itself - a little more varied than can be found elsewhere in Fernie.
To top it off, the price was nice. Nothing expensive, simply a fair meal. It's often the case that when new restaurants open they get some of the simple things wrong. Not so with the Red Tree. I was impressed throughout and would definitely recommend a visit it you're in Fernie!
As we were leaving I took a little look around the place. Having not stayed there I can't say much about the rest of the lodge - so here's the official scoop from NonStop:
Red Tree Lodge:
We are proud to be the new owners of a 40 bedroom ski lodge in the centre of Fernie. The ski lodge in Fernie, has undergone £500,000 and has a comfortable welcoming atmosphere with numerous social spaces and fantastic facilities.
As the owners of our own ski lodge and restaurant we can be confident that NONSTOP Ski is the only training company to not only offer first class ski coaching but also fantastic accommodation, meals and recreational facilities.
The ski lodge has spacious bedrooms each with brand new modern furnishing, queen size beds and ensuite bathrooms. Bedrooms have stunning views of the local mountains and some have private balconies.
Communal Sitting Rooms:
We wanted to ensure there are plenty of communal social spaces in the lodge where our clients can meet and socialise, chill out playing cards or watch a DVD. There are four communal sitting rooms spread throughout the lodge each of which has:
- Comfortable sofas and armchairs
- Cable TV & DVD player
- Wireless internet
Yep, that's right... no ski lodge would be complete without its own indoor swimming pool and spacious hot tub and ours is no exception. So after a hard day riding powder you can loosen your muscles with a few lengths of the pool and a sociable soak in the hot tub.
The lodge also has its own 100 seat restaurant and bar. We have designed this space with a really comfortable homey feel so that it becomes as popular a space to read, play cards and socialise as it is for eating. With a wood burning stove, plenty of comfortable sofas, dining tables, a well stocked bar and fantastic food this is the heart of the lodge. The restaurant is open to the public and serves dinner and breakfast for all our course participants prepared by our team of professional chefs.
Films are good - especially after a hard days exercise on the mountain. We have therefore dedicated a whole room for watching movies. With an overhead projector and rows of comfortable chairs this is the place to sit back, unwind and enjoy an evening in with a good film.
If you want high performance it's important to keep your equipment in good shape. We have a room dedicated to tuning your skis or snowboard with tools and supplies for waxing, edge sharpening and gouge repair. Each of our courses includes a training session on how to tune your gear so you get the most out of your skis or snowboard.
Posted by on Thursday, February 21, 2008
It's almost been two weeks now since I returned home from Fernie. Since then I've spent a lot of time at work, including both days of last weekend, which has delayed any updates here.
So what next?
If you've been reading my posts over the last few weeks you'll know that we were really lucky with the weather in Fernie - we had awesome snow. So good in fact that what I'm about to say doesn't really bother me that much.
You see, during the three seasons previous to this one, I've always had at least two trips planned. In those situations, returning home from the first trip never feels bad, because you know you're going away again. Then, when you return home from the last trip of the season, you still don't feel bad because you know you've had a good fill...
This time around though, I'm done. I knew Canada was going to be more expensive than the usual trips to Europe, but to be honest, it was more expensive than what I thought was a conservative budget.
And I'm content. Actually, more than content. Stoked. I only need to think back to one of the many powder days we had and I'm happy with this season's riding. Happy that I chose Fernie.
As well as looking back however, my thoughts are now starting to focus on what I'm going to do inbetween now and next year. What am I going to do in the off-season? Will I set myself any goals?
- First, there's good riding to be done here in the UK. Last year I kept a tally of days riding and it totalled 9. That was between April and January, which is roughly 1 day per month. That's not bad, but considering I was aiming for 2 to 4 times per month, I want to do better this time.
- I'd like to land some clean 5s on Halifax's kicker. In fact, I'd like to set out some trick goals for the summer - but I'm gonna give this some more thought...
- I'd like to get out on my skateboard more. Last year was abysmal. I missed it.
- I'd like to continue reading about avalanche safety and get in some more practice with my beacon - particulalry with multiple burials. Along the same lines, I'd like to do a review on the Tracker DTS using some video.
- It would be nice to get some riding in on a glacier sometime. I've been to Deux Alpes in summer and Les Diablerets in late autumn - I'd go back to either in a flash. I also think Ciara would like to try an all girls camp.
- Late last year I wrote a couple of reviews for the World Snowboard Guide - UK slopes. If I get the opportunity I'd like to write some more.
- I'd also like to invest in some better camera equipment, perhaps for stills, but more likely for video. It's expensive though...
Posted by on Friday, February 08, 2008
Friday: Our last day on the hill - it was pretty awesome, I'm stoked that we signed the trip off like this...
Mart and I started by heading up into Lizard Bowl; I'd have liked to be first in the queue, but the day before was fairly heavy on the hill and we finished things off with quite a few beers in the evening. Lizard wasn't fully open the day before, so we knew it was going to be fresh at the top. We weren't dissapointed:
That first run through Lizard was sweet. The top half was fresh all the way, while the bottom half was more tracked, but still yielded nice fresh turns - you just had to pick and choose a little.
Back on the Bear Chair, and when we got to the top we found Cedar Bowl had been opened - the first time in a few days. It was looking deep.
We made a bit of an error when we dropped straight into the bowl - the top part is pretty mellow and when it's deep like that it's not really possible to get anything going. Still, we turned up on one of the shutes from KC Shutes and it was still looking good:
When we got to the bottom of the bowl Mart decided a quick binding set-back was in order. He was on his DH; keeping it afloat is difficult when it's deep - just like the T2. I was already rocking my front binding set back by about 1 1/2 inches, which makes a big difference. Sick!
The loop back to the top of Cedar is pretty long: use the Haul Back t-bar, ride down the Boomerang chair, ride down to the Bear Chair and then take that to the top.
We were set on traversing further across the bowl to drop in on steeper terrain. We decided that seems as though we hadn't yet travelled down Snake Ridge, we'd make the full traverse and hike to get there...
It was easily worth it! Snake Ridge can take you down to the run called Steep and Deep - a slogan for Fernie itself. I'd have bought the day's lift ticket purely for that first decent down Steep and Deep. We weren't the first to go that way - but it was just about fresh. Totally awesome. With the terrain being steep it was so easy to just float your way down. Huge face shots. Probably my favourite run in Fernie, except maybe for one of the decents on the Cat Day.
As soon as we got to the bottom Mart decided to head back for The Fish. That's what it's made for so I couldn't argue. I hooked up with Ciara to take a run through Lizard and pick up some snacks from The Bear's Den. I had no intentions of coming off the hill for lunch!
It didn't take Mart long to get back to the top, at which point the three of us met up with Simon and headed back towards Snake Ridge. No doubt this terrain was a learning experience for Ciara, but it was worth it. It can be hard to commit to a steep line but she did get a few decent turns in. Still so much fun just to try it.
Here's a shot of Snake Ridge. We also got to take a look at Fish Bowl.
We ended up taking four runs down Snake Ridge. We dropped into Steep and Deep twice and Red Tree twice. By far the first run was the best, but the others were still worth the treck. I took a little bit of video on my still camera the third time through. Even with quite a bit of traffic through there you can still see that there're great lines.
We were pretty wrecked by the end of the day. Mart and I took the last run by ourselves. We wanted to hit it one more time but we couldn't make it with the lift timings for getting back; probably a good thing.
What a way to close things out. Fernie is awesome - steep and deep!
Posted by on Thursday, February 07, 2008
Thursday, 18:00: I'm sitting in the apartment, the Internet connection has been back up for a couple of days now, I've got a can of Kokanee and a bag of BBQ crips - it's been an epic day.
I woke this morning and let the alarm clock tick over on snooze for around 40 minutes. Yesterday was a good day, fully packed, Mart, Ciara and I just lapped Siberia Bowl. It was empty, had some decent fresh snow in there, and there're lots of good hits to jib on. Great.
Going to bed last night I had this winding down feeling; there're only two days to go, we've been so lucky with the snow, let's just cruise the last couple of days and try to get some photos/film. Mart had said yesterday: wouldn't it be sick if we had a nother big dump before we had to go back? Naturally my response was yeah! But I also said I thought it was unlikely, given how much snow had already fallen. That's why I was snooz'in this morning...
The I heard a knock on my door: Gav, wake up, it's dumped big style. I was up like a rocket. How much? And it went from there. Looking out of our window there's a childrens play area just underneath - it was full of snow, at least a foot deep. How is it possible to get this much snow?
I wanted to take photos. I wanted to get the video camera out. But there simply wasn't time. We wanted to be first in the lift line...
As it happened, we were the 6th chair up. That's 20 people on the mountain before us. The first run this morning was out of this world. We headed up the Timber and then down towards the White Pass Chair. 30 - 40cm of fresh. I had my stance set back this time and was rocking it. Whoops all the way. Probably the best day yet on the hill.
Like I said before I was really wanting to get some pictures or some film; but given that it was a week day, it was too quiet to not get everything you possibly could. Seriously, after getting off the first chair and making our way down to the next chair (White Pass), I looked up at the first chair we'd been on, which is a four-man. It was: empty chair, two people, one person, empty chair, another single...
Epic powder and hardly anyone on the hill.
I didn't wait in a single queue all day long. Unbelievable.
Curry Bowl opened mid-morning but we didn't hit it. Everyone was lining up while we were taking fresh lines through the White Pass area all morning long. There's this face that takes a five minute walk to get to and it keeps just about everyone away, especially when it's mid-week. It's steep and deep. Mart, Simon and I took seven runs through there this morning, and we only saw one other group take our line - once. How is that possible when you're riding in-bounds?
I rode a fresh line every single time. It was the best yet. I wish I had some pictures to show how good it was. My bad. The powder was too good to pass up.
The line we took led us onto a cat track that Mart and I started dropping barrel rolls from - into deep fresh - right under the chair. It was a good feeling. We got some decent whoops from the lift. I rode one of them out clean. Sweet.
Epic day, probably my favourite yet. I even got two fresh runs through Lizard while people were having lunch.
Gotta go now as we're heading into town for dinner. There's one word to describe today: Awesome!
Posted by on Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Tuesday: We headed straight up to the kicker this morning. It was still in good shape and there was a good dusting on the landing, which was encouraging. I hiked it a few times to smoothe out the run-in and then Mart and I started to session it...
We had the unfortunate job of having to turf a couple of guys off. You see, after being there for around 15 minutes, two guys rocked up and decided to hit up our kicker. At this point I was still getting the run in sorted, which was full of fresh snow. This guy takes a line, spins a wild three and then starts hiking back up. He walked straight up the run in - trashing it with every step. I asked him to use the boot pack that I'd faithfully put in the afternoon before! He was still drunk - so he said. Anyhow, after he hit it one more time Mart and I asked him if he would mind leaving it to us...
To be honest, they were ok about the situation. They understood. After spending a couple of hours building a kicker, sorting the run-in out and laying in a boot pack, it's bad craic for someone else to rock up and session it; especially without asking. That's just the way it is.
After that it was a good morning. Hiking a kicker isn't easy work, and with just two people, if you want some shots and photos, there's some waiting around. But it was so much fun. Pleased with our creation we tried some decent airs. I think we got a few nice clips - not all makes by a long shot - but good clips non-the-less.
It was hard leaving it. We knew that once we did others would circle in like vultures and shred up the landing. It's so true.
But here's the crazy thing. As the morning went on, the landing got better. It was snowing pretty hard, so each jump was counter-acted with fresh snow. So sweet. We left the kicker at around 13:30, and as we set off down the hill we were riding fresh! Can you believe that? Session a kicker and all the while the snow is building up. That's Fernie at its best!
We had a quick bite and then headed back up to shred some of the soft stuff. I can't believe it. Taking some laps we spotted quite a few people taking runs at our jump - but it's fair game once we leave it. Shame. I'm hoping the landing will be super soft tomorrow; maybe try to spin some fives.
Fresh snow in the afternoon. 15 cm deep on top of the piste. So much fun.
To top it off, the apres beers were all that. We've met up with some of Mart's friends in resort and today was their last day. They're staying in the up-market Lizard Creek Lodge, so after beers we headed over to their out-door hot-tub... words can't describe! Lying in a hot bath, beer in hand and looking straight up into the black sky while the fresh snow continues to fall. Awesome.
Here are some photos and clips from the kicker:
Building the kicker.
Arriving at the kicker this morning - you can see a good dusting of fresh snow had fallen overnight.
Rockstar energy drink on chill.
This is the state of the kicker when we left it. You can see that a good amount of fresh snow was falling during the session.
Posted by on Monday, February 04, 2008
Monday: We built a kicker this afternoon. It was a good time to get some construction going because no one was particulalry feeling it after lunch - so building a kicker was time well spent. The landing in the spot we chose was ok. Not great, but not bad considering it's been a while since a substantial snowfall.
It was actually snowing as we were building, and the hope now is that fresh snow will fall overnight and soften up that landing some more... we will find out for sure tomorrow morning.
It didn't take too long to build, maybe an hour and a half in all, including getting the run-in sorted and taking the first hit. There was a natural mound for us to use to we had slightly less to shovel. It turned out pretty good.
I hit it up first and was surprised by how much air I got. It's a little whippy and it sure does kick you up. You can get some decent air. Mart and I tried a few straight airs, then I thought I'd try popping a front 3...
The lip kinda caught me off gaurd as I rotated and sent me a little corked. No doubt I wasn't as off-axis as it felt, but half way round I was fairly scared - I thought I was gonna land on my head :) But the rotation continued and made it all the way 'round. Maybe I'll have to try doing that on purpose! I'll post the footage soon
We're hoping to get a good session going tomorrow morning, and hopefully some good shots/clips to go with it.
Posted by on Monday, February 04, 2008
Moday: We got hold of the photos taken by the photographer on the cat boarding trip. A few friends had bought copies of the CD so we ended up with our own copy too - bonus. Here are some pictures and a mini clip of Mart taking a pretty sweet barrel roll :)
Posted by on Sunday, February 03, 2008
Sunday: I saw the mountain today, clearly, for the first time since we've been here. It was blue skies throughout and a fair bit warmer than it has been. I could see all the different runs and we were riding groomers. It was a big change...
It really hit home today how lucky we were with the conditions over the first week. To ride fresh powder 6 days in a row is just about off the scale - so the groomed pistes today really did feel strange.
With the snow being packed down, more and more hits started to emerge. We simply took laps on the Bear Chair this morning hitting things up on the piste. The additional jumps were great, but it took some time to get reacquainted with landing on hard snow.
Lots of fun. There was one hit in particular that was good for working on that frontside 3. I stomped one super clean that prompted me to get the camera out in the afternoon. It didn't quite go as smoothly as I'd have liked after that, but the progress is promising. Head and shoulders are in much better position and it's making the rotation pretty easy. The one I rode out clean was super smoothe - a real slow rotation. Sweet. Under the lift line too, which is always a bonus.
We took a run through Cedar Bowl and ended up sketching our way through KC's Shute, a run that Simon and I hit last week when it was full of fresh and I had no goggles (the eye-lid-freeze episode). It was refreshing to see what it looks like in full sunlight and packed out hard. It reminded me of how sick it was to ride the first lines down there in close to a meter of powder. Steep and deep. Awesome.
I took a few knocks today - no doubt some of which due to the harder landings - so I'm eagerly anticipating the hot tub that will come later this evening. The Internet connection is still down in our room so I'm sat in the reception area of the Griz Inn Hotel, writing this post. My last visit here was much nicer - I brought a couple of beers and some crisps... apparently that's a big no - no. There's someone different working the desk this time and she told me I needed to get rid of the beers! Damn it. I wouldn't need to sit here if they got their service working properly!!
Conditions are great, we're ripping the piste and there's more snow forecast. Awesome. Here's some video of a couple of three's that didn't quite make it. Hopefully there'll be more footage taken over the next week. The second one in this clip is bigger; just imagine one slightly bigger yet and totally clean - that's the one I made earlier in the day...
Posted by on Saturday, February 02, 2008
Taking a day off isn't something that I like doing, especially if my limbs aren't especially tired. But that's what we're doing today.
You see, the weekends are normally much busier here in Fernie, with a lot of weekend'ers travelling from Calgary and other places nearby. Given the huge amounts of snow that have fallen over the last week and add to that a childrens ski race, the place is choca-block. Check out the lift line for the Elk at 09.00 this morning.
We've got one day left on our 6 day passes and two days to use it. Originally we were planning on just taking the morning off. Get an extra bit of rest after being on the cat, sort some stuff out and then head up on the hill this afternoon. Get a half day pass and then use the last day on the other pass tomorrow. But a half day pass is $61 compared to the $75 for a full day. That's crap!
Looking out the window at 11:30 and the queue hasn't really gone down. We're gonna take the full day off.
The Internet connection in our room has been down for the last few days and those in charge here haven't been moving too fast to get it fixed. That's why there haven't been any posts recently. It's supposed to be sorted today. I'm using this down time to sort the little bit of footage taken yesterday and get the posts I've written up there on the web. So there should be a bunch of posts from the last few days all appearing around the same time. We can use the wireless in the reception area of the Griz Inn, which is where I am now...
Actually, just before I headed over here I started to re-adjust my bindings - set the stance back to twin after the cat action yesterday. As it happens, I noticed that I cracked one of my baseplates and it's pretty much done in. It's kinda lucky that we're having the day off as I can head down into town and hopefully get a replacement :), but maybe have to get a new set :(
As I think about it, perhaps I will benefit from taking a day off (either that or I'm just convincing myself). Looking through the photos on my camera I stumbled across a few that were taken last night, after I fell asleep in the lounge. I must have been tired; I didn't wake up once during their game of what the f**k a-roo. I can hardly believe it...
Posted by on Friday, February 01, 2008
Today we went cat-boarding, with Fernie Wilderness Adventures. It was an exceptional experience, but not everything was quite what I expected...
An early-ish start, we were collected at 7:45 outside of the Cornerstone Lodge and driven by bus to the Fernie Wilderness Adventures lodge. Talk about being lucky with the weather this holiday? Not only was there untouched, mega deep fresh waiting for us, we also hit a blue bird. Bingo! There was coffee and breakfast waiting for us at the lodge, then we had an introduction to the days events, people who didn't have beepers were given them, and then we all signed a waiver. After a quick safety lesson on being around the cat, getting in and out etc, we loaded up and set out with a fully loaded cat of 12.
We drove for around 30 minutes and then stopped for some brief guidance on how to use transceivers. To be honest, the info given on how to use them was pretty thin - but the most important thing for the guides was that everyone had them on, so they could be found if needed. I don't think there was any intention of taking us into dangerous terrain: these guys know the weather, they know the lay of the land and they don't need to take risks. But of course, we all still need beepers, and a brief introduction is better than nothing. Note: when the guide hid his beacon, my bca tracker found it first, that beach practice paid off :)
And then it was off for the first run of the day; run one of of 8. Rather than describe each run, hopefully the photos should help with that, I'll just unload my thoughts of how it went down...
First off, I sucked. I've ridden some deep powder before, but nothing like this. It was constant. Every part of every run was deep. Like thigh/waist deep. The guides were saying that it's difficult for them to pick runs as with the depth of snow they really need to have steep pitches - but anything too steep is too dangerous. The shallower pitches are safe, but way too slow...
I'm not a bad snowboarder, I'm quite good at some stuff, but in some ways this was a humbling experience. I'm not going to blame it on my board, at least not fully. But I did waste the first two runs rocking my wide, twin stance on a 155cm board with a short nose profile. On the widest stance setting the back foot is already as far back as it can go, so I just figured I'd blag it.
So wrong. I was falling a lot, and each time into deep powder, sometimes on flat bits, I was covered, frustrated, tired and quite simply looking like a complete novice. After the second run I brought the front binding back as far as possible. After the third run, I turned both my base plates 90 degrees so that I could move both bindings an extra 6/7mm backwards. Boy did it make a difference. My nose diving plank of wood suddenly became half passable as a freeride board. Now I could start to enjoy the runs.
It's worth noting that it wasn't just me that was struggling, although I think I was hit the worst. Even the guides were taking some falls, and the lead guide was often beating a trail out at the start of a run, where we leave the track, rather than just skiing off. Although I was taking my time over the first two/three runs, I was at least pleased that I wasn't holding things up. The group is only as fast as the cat, which can take a while to get to the bottom...
The next thing that made things difficult was the number of trees. Just about every run at some point led us between big trees with not much space between them. With the snow being so deep, in these tight areas it was just about a necessity to follow the guides tracks. And you still had to be going fast. For example, you head down a open face keeping as uch speed as possible, head into a dense set of trees, go around a few blind turns, again keeping your speed to avoid sinking and then bam - someone has stopped on the strail.
In this situation, which happened a lot, we found there's no room to go around them so you had to stop. Tree wells and deep deposits of snow don't make for a good stopping point on a snowboard. You sink and it's hard to get going again. It was a trade off between leaving a big space between you and the guy in front, but not too much that you'd get left behind, or miss your partner getting into trouble. Skiers definitely had an easier time of this. The dense trees were frustrating for all the riders.
Was there too much snow? Maybe. The guide seemed to think so. He commented that the riding was much better when there was slightly less...
But some of it was epic. Truly epic. The second from last run, everything came together. The whole day was worth it just for that run. The face opened up and I was purely surfing on waist deep powder. With my new stance I had much better control of the board and it didn't take all my energy just to keep the nose above the snow. I was bubbling around, dodging trees, taking a little air and making some sweet turns. Mart was my partner for the day ha was right behind me on The Fish - just ripping it up. That was the only time during the day that the two of us opened it up together on a face and cut deep, fresh tracks. It was awesome - truly awesome.
The run ended by heading into some small, dense trees, just before the pickup point. We both found our way straight into a tree well :) Nothing dangerous as we were together and the trees were small and also in shouting distance of the guide waiting at the bottom. We were fairly stuck mind. But that's not the point. For me, that run was the best. I rode it properly. The speed I took and the stance on my board let me ride the pow. Sick!
All in all the day was a fantastic experience. Not just the riding, the terrain, the snow, the guides, being in the cat - it was great. Also an eye opener. Without doubt, for Mart and I, this we the first real backcountry powder that we've ridden. The tour last season in Lenzerheide was not even close with regards to the depth of the snow - and that was all open faces, no trees. For sure we've ridden deep stuff inbounds here at Fernie, but not the sustained depth and freshness that we experienced today.
For this type of terrain I need a different board. Like I said above, I'm not blaming it all on the board. Half of the problem is that I'm simply not that good at riding deep powder.
I think I would have preffered it had there been more open faces. Some of the riding through the dense trees was great, but a lot of the time it felt like we were negotiating half of the run. A more competent rider probably wouldn't have been troubled by this.
After the last run the beers were handed out. They went down so well on the 30/40 minute drive back to the lodge. There was a quick debriefing and we watched a slide show of photos taken by the photographer who followed the two groups around during the day. There were some nice shots in there but I wasn't that impressed. I didn't pay the $50 for a CD!
I'll definitely go cat-boarding again. It's fresh powder all day long. Who can argue with that? It is fairly expensive though, we paid $367, and when the snow in resort is amazing, I don't think there's a need to go again anytime soon. The day isn't really set up for taking photos and video, but I did manage to get some clips - mainly just to show what the terrain is like. Here's a quick compilation of the days events...
Posted by on Thursday, January 31, 2008
Day 6 now. We had a few beers last night and some late hot tub action in the neighbouring Lizard Creek Lodge, so I didn't get a chance last night to post anything.
So yesterday, which was our fourth day on the hill, was supposed to be greeted with around 20cm of fresh snow... It was more like 30. To get to the White Pass area you first head up the Timber Bowl Express and then ride down to the White Pass Chair. That first run was all fresh, and easily 30cm. It was going to be another good day.
Things actually turned out to be a little slower than the first three days. We formed a larger group than normal in the morning and we also had the cameras with us. It was more stoppy-starty, but we did get a few nice shots and a little bit of good footage. Note to self: riding follow cam in thigh-deep powder results in a seriously wet camera!
In the afternoon, Martin, Ciara and I took a few laps in the Lizard Bowl, which was still deep and fluffy in a fair few places. Second note: this mountain is littered with hits everywhere. Something I've always liked about Chamonix in the past - it's similar here. Great fun. I've been getting some decent air at times. We then headed back to the appartment to get shovels and over to White Pass to look for a kicker spot.
Unstrapped from our boards, we did a good deal of hiking around in the soft stuff, which was hard work. By the time we found something we liked the look of, it was time to head down off the hill. We just didn't have enough juice left to get up to where we think the run-in will be, so it's going to need checking out this morning.
The last run down off the hill was great. Simon took us a run we hadn't been on before - the sides of which were still yeilding really good snow. Tracked for sure, but still soft and knee deep, good enough for getting slashes and nice turns. There was also fun to be had in and around the trees.
Here are some pictures from the day:
View from balcony.
Mart working on the barrel roll - he stomped one of them into the pow, so sick!
Ciara picking out her line.
Me getting some fresh in this line.
This is a frontside 3 off of a cat-track. It felt pretty big, but the best part is that I stomped it as clean as you can get. It's taken a few rag-dolls to hammer home the land with more weight on the back of your board message - but I nailed this one. Gonna try and get a few on the camcorder...
Posted by on Wednesday, January 30, 2008
It's our fifth day in Fernie, it's 7am here. My Blogger settings are still configured for the UK, so sometimes the day number won't match the post date... Today will be our fourth day on the mountain; yesterday was our third - which is what I'm going to tell you about now (I was way too tired last night!)
There was more fresh snow yesterday morning when we set out, enough to get us excited. They'd also opened most of Lizard Bowl which meant new, fresh powdered terrain to explore.
Ciara, Simon and I were looking for some fairly open terrain to get Ciara used to really picking the speed up in powder; with it being so deep here, it's a totally new ball game for her (and me, kinda).
We found it, dead easy, just next to the Bear Chair. There was so much snow we could just lap it... Some deep bits, real fresh going through the trees, nice cat tracks to get air off, so good.
And that was the story of yesterday. Quite literally it was powder all day. You see, it didn't really stop snowing at all. Tracks that were there at the start of the day were filled in by 2pm. By 3pm it looked like a fresh dump. Seriously, during the course of the day there was comfortably 6 inches of new snow!
Lapping in Lizard bowl in the morning, we moved to the White Pass area in the afternoon and continued to get fresh. Mart has been saying that he's probably only ridden 6 runs or something since he's been here - but it's been powder all the way. I still don't even know what this mountain looks like. I haven't seen any groomed runs. It feels like I'm away from the runs all the time, but when you check the trail map at the end of the day you see that you've been on a marked piste!
And yesterday the snow was special. I've never seen anything like it. We were all lost for words. It was so light and fluffy, like cotton wool. I tried to take a picture of it, but I don't think it does it justice.
Looking now at the data for the last 24 hours, Fernie is reporting another 20cm of fresh snow. I knew it. The forecast for yesterday was 3cm, and we got 20! The Griz heard us calling all right! That's a full meter since Saturday when we rolled into town.
There's no way I can shave this beard off now - despite the pain of facial freeze. I'm sure the Griz will understand that I trimmed the 'tash a little :)
Oh, I forgot, I also dropped a pretty sweet cliff yesterday, just under the Timber Bowl Quad. Mart had his camera out and I got a pretty nice shot. Yeah! The landing was steep and fairly soft, but not as soft as I would have liked. We dropped a smaller rock formation earlier in the afternoon and the landing was untouched, steep, and easily 40cm fresh. That's more like it.
Here are some other pictures Mart took with the 30D... pretty cool. Will today simply be more of the same? It just won't stop snowing, so why not, eh?
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