I was talking to a friend this week who had some visitors from out east. They were in town for a week of skiing that they planned back in the fall. I’m sure they won’t be disappointed because they still get beautiful mountain vistas, decent snow pack, reasonably warm weather for this time of year, and probably a whole bunch of eating at nice restaurants and hot tubbing late into the evening. Life could be a lot worse. But I remember what it was like when I used to fly out from Ottawa with my old buddy Stokeley Carmichael. We were stoked about the powder and if it didn’t snow 30cms a day we were a little disappointed. There would still be fun and laughter but each morning without fresh pow we’d have to suck it up a bit and make the best of whatever conditions were available. My friend and I agreed that we’re incredibly lucky to live here. Skiing in the Canadian Rockies doesn’t have to be planned months in advance, at significant cost, and at the mercy of unpredictable weather events.
When Whitewater isn’t posting shots of amazing powder you know something is wrong with the space time continuum. A quick troll around my favourite powder resorts paints a picture of firm and well trodden runs. Revelstoke, Fernie, Whitewater, Whistler, Kicking Horse, Louise, and Sunshine are all reporting less than 10cms for the week – some are under 5cms. I’m not saying you can’t find some good snow conditions out there but the name of the site is ‘powder’ watch and let’s face it… there isn’t much powder to be found out there.
So here’s what you will find this weekend. Really cool snow art if you go to Lake Louise! But in general, surfaces will be hard pack with a bit of loose powder on top. There’s a good chance you’ll encounter some ice patches at lower altitudes (see Ryder Report for Ski Tips #7) but there will be plenty of enjoyable terrain as well. There’s still snow in the forecast for tomorrow so maybe the snow they’ve been calling for all week will finally show up. Even 5cms can make a big difference.