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Fernie versus Castle for conditions...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm attaching a ski report on Fernie that caught my eye. My group is hitting Fernie in mid-March (14-21). If we get stuck with sloppy (rainy?) conditions on a given day, I'm wondering what mountain would typically be best to "punt" to?

In the ski report below from "Craig's Unofficial...", the writer states they all went to Castle for much better conditions. Being in close proximity to Fernie, relatively, why would Castle have conditions that were any different?

Also, what other mountains could I typically look to if we're stuck with less than stellar conditions when we're at Fernie (again, mid-March), within reach of a day trip?

Unofficial Fernie Report - 2004/02/02
Jay's Report - February 02, 2004

Jay forgot to mail this, so I thought I would send it out now - Craig


It was a guys trip the last few days. The anticipation built throughout the week. Expectations were high but alas, monsoon rains hit Fernie on Friday, forcing disloyalty and abandonment of Fernie in favor Castle Mountain where temperatures were more user friendly to powder dogs. There is no loyalty in powder. I hadn't been to Castle in over 15 years. Some decent development has occurred with their "Red" chair giving access to hard-core chutes and breath grabbing aspects. The bottom was chopped up and gritty as a wood file but the top was supreme - and deep - thigh deep. Okay, so riding up the Red Chair you couldn't see the top of the lift from 10 feet away on account of the 100 kph winds and your face felt like it was going to fall off from the half inch thick plaque of snow pasted on it; but once you picked you way over to the chutes and chipped clear your eyes, it was freshies for the boys. Good call. Judging by the line-ups, half of Fernie was there.

post #2 of 9
Why are the conditions different at Castle. Well they just are. Castle on the other side of the divide so is always going to get a bit less precip , snow and esp rain. Its also not in the pass so doesn't get the warm air coming up the valley. It can also be windy , like rip the snow off the mountain windy. There are some areas at the top where no matter how much snow they get there will be large areas of bare rock. But there is a hell of alot of acres to lift capacity compared to Fernie.
post #3 of 9
After a week of snow every day( most of it at about-10 to -20) we accumulated around 100cm which was dry as toast. There were some fantastic mid thigh to waist deep pow days during that week. A week ago Friday it warmed up fast and turned to rain for about half a day and then turned cold again. So you know what the result of that was. This weather pattern is not uncommon here in Jan.

Castle got some good snow that week too but never warmed up enough to get the rain. Like Doug W said Castle is on the other side of the divide. Weather varies so much in the rockies. If you drive west of Fernie for 15 minutes the snow pack is probably only 50% of the immediate area around Fernie. Kimberly ski hill is only about 100km away and they don't get anywhere close to the amount of snow we get here.

I always say the best skiing here is the first 2 weeks of March. The coverage is excellent by then and usually a lot of systems happen at that time.

Stick to your original plan. If skiing is better in Castle at that time it is only about a 1.5 hour drive.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Must be nice living in the area. Sheez, flying out west to ski for a week is like the epicenter of my year! I look back on my early twenties and wonder why I wasted them partying in the big city. A little less New Order and a little more ski wax woulda done me good!
post #5 of 9
Yup it is nice...between the resort, cat skiing and back country I have over 50 days already this year. I enjoy visting the city once in a while but I will always live in the mountains.
Cheers [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
I haven't forgotten your offer for a tour! We'll be in town 14-21 March, staying on the mountain in a house near the bottom of Elk.
post #7 of 9
No problem. Will you be skiing on the 14th? It is a sunday I believe. If you are we can get together that day. I will be working Mon to Fri so I will only be free on the weekends
(unless it snows of coarse )
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Unfortunately, the 14th is travel day -- we'll be pulling in early evening after landing at 2 in Calgary. I'll have to figure out what phone number the house phone is, and maybe you can email me your's, and if you should catch the flu during a snow day, we can link up. Either way, we'll be able to get together the following Saturday, the day before we leave... Kind of a day late and a dollar short for a tour, but I'll take it!


Ps. Any shops carry Elan? Was hoping to demo the 662s everyone's wild on, but the Guide Hut has apparently stopped carrying them. Emailed a rep Friday, but haven't heard back yet.
post #9 of 9
I don't know if anyone here does Elan or not, maybe the Mountain Edge up on the resort? I'll look around next time I am drooling in the local shops. Check your email.
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