Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Earn Your Turns

Well, yesterday was day three of the new and improved Fernie Alpine Resort. They finally opened the top half of Lizard and Cedar bowls (rumour has it that patrol's dynamite gun broke on Sunday, so they couldn't clear the avalaches on the old side of the mountain). So?

So there was a limited amount of totally fresh powder to be had. I picked up a couple of lines in Cedar bowl from the top of the Bear chair (Fernie trail map for those who need it).

After that though, it was time to earn some turns. The Facelift wasn't running, but the terrain it accesses was open. Time to hike. Roughly 900 steps to the top. It was hard work, especially the first climb where my fingers were burning from the cold.

But getting to the top was worth it. It would have been worth it even without the fresh snow beneath me. Today was one of those blue-bird sunnny days where just being in the mountains is enough to make me happy, and as odd as it sounds, the excellent snowboarding was just the best excuse to be out there.

But anyway, I boarded along the cat track (that's cat as in snow-cat, the large machines used for grooming the mountain, and not some sort of Alpine feline) until I saw a relatively untouched powder field. It had a couple of lines through it, but there was definately room for me.

I popped off the edge of the track, and promptly sank to about mid thigh level. You go deceptively fast in powder, especially when you're just pointing the board downhill. It's a strange feeling, but one that is easy to love. There's no noise, no vibrations, and precious little indication that you're even moving (although you can definately tell the difference, because getting stuck is very frustrating).

I started my first sweeping turn and watched the spray shoot out from under my board. Then I noticed a scattering of small perfectly round bumps in the snow in front of me. Little baby trees covered in powder - excellent. I raced past the baby trees, over another cat track, and through one last small patch of fresh snow before reaching the top of a choppy lift-accessible run.

My powder run was over, and I wanted more.

I climbed the face lift three times before Patrol decided they wanted to blow up some stuff on the mountain peak above us. It was a welcome break, and we managed to squeeze one last run in when they had problems with the gun again and just let us go down.

I'm not sure if the turns felt better because I earned them, although they might have, but once the free turns are mostly gone, addicts like me have to put a little effort in. I'm now trying to work out how many pints of blood I have to sell to afford a day of cat skiing. Heli skiing is totally out of my price range, unless anyone needs a kidney?

Anyway, I was pretty tired after that earned run , and making silly little mistakes on relatively easy terrain, so I called it a day. I went downtown and bumped into a co-worker (or former co-worker, whatever). She had a huge amount of meat that she wasn't going to eat, so I've now got a venison roast and maybe a pound of elk burger meat.

So Chateaux Richard will be having roast at some point this week - it will make a change to have a communal meal that is not fondue or sushi (we eat communally about once a week, in theory. Since Kara is the least lazy of us when it comes to cooking, actually, she is the least lazy when it comes to anything domestic, she usually gets stuck with most of the preparation duties. But I'll have to step up for this one, since it's my fault we have the meat.

Mmmm mmmm venison.

Sounds wonderful. You're becoming poetic in your old-age, blue birds etc! Enjoy the venison, we are most envious.

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