Morning Crew!! Castle has had 75cms this week and 25cms in the last 24hrs. More later, we’ve got to hit the road now. Also, check out Whitefish on Instagram. They had some fantastic conditions yesterday. Fernie also has a powder alert with 10cms of new snow. Go south if you can.
Dec 24th (the day after) – Getting up at 5am and driving 3 hours down to Castle was well worth it! After skiing Louise on Sunday it was pretty clear that they needed more snow before it would get really fun. My neighbour just told me Sunshine was good on the weekend but getting skied out by Wednesday. With no snow in the forecast for Banff National Park for the next few days I was beginning to worry that Bern wasn’t going to enjoy some great skiing despite the fact that we’ve had a ton of snow since November. I’d talked him into bringing out his skis from Toronto because skiing had been fantastic for most of December. Castle to the rescue!! (Actually, I should thank my colleague Madelaine for tipping me off that Whitefish had received a bunch of snow on Tuesday.)
We enjoyed a beautiful sunrise as we drove south on Hwy 22 but the lack of snow even closer to the Crowsnest highway was a little disconcerting. Even driving into the Castle parking lot, it didn’t look like they’d had much snow – maybe 10cms. But on our first run bellow the Red chair we were treated to boot top freshies and gorgeously fluffy snow. This was my first day out on the Icelantic Nomads (awesome ski for powder) this season and as usual they were super responsive in the fresh snow and even in the chop later in the afternoon.
Bern had only skied Blue Mountain once last season and his legs were screaming in protest as he forced them to perform quick turns through the glades. He also was carrying a heavy, bulky pack with his Nikon digital SLR and honkin’ big lens. We only did photo ops on the first couple runs before ditching the pack in the car. But we did get a few great shots that I’ve distributed throughout this blog. Unfortunately, my finger slipped off the auto focus button as I snapped Bern getting some awesome face shots. The post featured image isn’t an artistic interpretation, it was operator error. I still like the shot but imagine if it was in focus
The top of Castle was were you could find the best snow on the mountain. I skied the rope line on the edge of the chutes and hit the chutes when they were opened later in the day. The pow on top was spectacular and I had a blast floating through the shrubbery that was still protruding from the fresh snow. But my best run of the day was through some tighter trees between ‘North Star’ and ‘100 Last Turns’. Somehow the freshies in this area had been completely missed. Bern and I did most of our laps in the big bowl skiing ‘Sheriff’ and ‘Outlaw’ and picking our way through stands of trees to find sections of untracked powder. But even the tracked snow was still deep and fantastic to rip up. We also ventured into ‘Tamarack Bowl’ and ‘South Bowl’ for more stellar turns. Only the bottom half of the mountain was a bit scratchy – many of the lower runs could use another 30cms of base. But there were various groomers and cat tracks to help you get back to the chair without whacking too many bushes and alder branches.
By the web cam image this afternoon it looks like it’s still snowing at Castle today and they’re reporting another 7cms in the last 24hrs. If you’re looking to get some turns in over Christmas I’d highly recommend heading down there as opposed to making the shorter trip to local Calgary resorts. Sunshine is only reporting 1cm of new snow today and Louise is reporting 3cms. I don’t see much snow in the forecast for either resort but Santa can always surprise us! Nakiska might be pretty good if they get some of the snow that’s falling in Calgary today. Kicking Horse is looking a bit dry – similar to Louise and Sunshine.
So where do they have a bunch of snow? Revy is reporting 12cms today and 78cms over the last week. Fernie is reporting 13cms and 67cms for the week – similar to Castle. Whitefish is reporting 26cms and 82cms for the week. Christmas in Montana anyone????