The 70cm rule

The Fernie Alpine Resort Ski Condition column by Keith Leggit.

“Robin, I just checked the storm board. We’ve had 28cm since six.”

‘Thanks, Robin out.”

Ski patrol radio transmission at 10 a.m. Sunday morning.

To be noted– at 6 a.m. FAR reported 40cm overnight. Do the math.

There’s a rule, spoken only half in jest, that with 20cm, all Fernie meetings move to the Timber Chair at 9 a.m.  Essentially, at 20cm, Fernie goes skiing.

With some, the rule remains implied. With others, the rule is stated clearly on the door. For hours of operation, Giv’er Shirtworks’ sign actually says:

15cm rule. On powder days we open @ 12. Sorry for any inconvenience but when it snows we need to Giv’er.

On the recent champagne Tuesday and the following Wednesday, The Guides Hut posted a hand scrawled (clearly very hurriedly) note, “We will open late due to the awesome skiing.”

All this leads to last weekend.

Friday dawned clear. By 10 a.m. the Lizard Range disappeared and by noon the snow reached town accumulating immediately on the sidewalk, the parked cars and the railings. The snow fell heavily all day. Snow stacked steadily on the phone lines and on the branches of the mountain ashes. In typical Fernie fashion, the snow fell straight down without wind.

Saturday on the hill was epic. And it kept on snowing. Snowing hard. I left the hill shaking my head and smug that I’d traded Sunday off for a short stint with a school group on Monday. Sunday promised to be one for the books.

Sunday the town was invisible, covered by the season’s second massive dump. I watched the snow continue drinking coffee knowing this would be a day.

At quarter of nine, the Deer looked like the Timber on a powder day. The Timber looked like a Wal-Mart on Black Friday morning. The Elk the same.

No matter what your gripe with the ski area, you cannot say they overstate snow received. By the time the above quoted patrol transmission stating the “28cm” new was complete, we’d likely had the two cm to take us over 70cm.

At 70 cm all bets are off. All rules and conventions are suspended. Life as we know it stops.

You ski.

You ski until you drop, then pull yourself up, take one more run and drag your sorry tired ass up the stairs to the Griz Bar. Sitting at the long table, you drink beer and listen to a great blues band, a Blues Brothers sound-alike, the perfect denouement to the skiing.

At the long table, the laughter is louder, the talk louder and the head shaking constant. A feeling of disbelief permeates every person. Tracks filled as you passed. First tracks. Second tracks. Third tracks. All equal.

On Boom, you’d hit a bump expecting to be launched and drive through momentarily buried. It wasn’t a Buddy Day. It was a Pack Day. We skied in packs for safety.

And Monday, clearing, with drifts of clouds pink and orange in the sunrise, the day promised another stellar day.

A promise kept.

And now it’s back to “The Normal.”

Just Posted

Local DJ to take stage at Fernie Stoke Fest

Jenn Johnson - aka Jenn Frost - confirmed as closing act at Fernie Stoke Fest on April 9

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Social media influencers promote Fernie

MountainGirls, The Lady Alliance founders stop in Fernie on western Canada RV tour

Elk Valley mine deaths prompt safety initiatives

Teck produces educational video, introduces new procedures after contractor drowns at Fording River

Fernie SAR rescues stranded snowmobiler; buried skier

Skiers caught in Mt. Fernie avalanche; snowmobiler spends night in backcountry after breakdown

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

GALLERY: Fernie Ghostriders get their home game mojo back

Riders post 6-1 win over Columbia Valley Rockies; prepare for playoffs

Police seize bottles of grapefruit vodka from wanted man’s snow-pants

The men were pushing two shopping carts with a woman inside

Tonight’s sporting event costs more than the Super Bowl, and Obama is going

Tickets are going for more than $4,000 to watch the Duke - North Carolina basketball game

CRTC: Telecom industry using unacceptable sales tactics

Regulator held inquiry on sales practices of 12 Canadian providers of wireless and internet services

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Trudeau takes personal hit amid SNC-Lavalin controversy: poll

Overall, 41 per cent of respondents believed the prime minister had done something wrong in the affair

B.C. photographer captures otters on ice

A Langley photographer was at the right place at the right time on the Fraser River

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

Most Read