First of all, I’ll start with an apology. This is a bit like reporting on a great vintage a year early, before even a single person gets to pop a cork. So I’m sorry to do this to you. Believe me, I'm suffering for it too.
But the snow at CMH Bugaboos is already incredible. Dave Cochrane, the CMH Bugaboo Lodge area manager is always keen to share what he sees out there and this is what he sent in yesterday:
“We were out today hiking in Septet Creek, that is where you find the ski runs Groovy West, Groovy East and Groovy Ass.
The landings are at 2550m and we picked up at 2130m. We found snow up to 130-140 cm. (That’s four feet deep!) below the ridge line and at the pickup an honest 50cm of fairly well settled snow and an average on the run of 80-120 cm.
The snow cover on those runs is really good and settled enough it would make for really great skiing. I definitely could run a ski program at the moment in the Groovy area.”
The day before yesterday, the Bugaboos team sent in these photos.
Last summer I was talking to one of the CMH ski guides and I asked him if he’d noticed any big changes in the skiing conditions in recent years. With the huge drought last season in the States, I was wondering what might be happening to our beloved snow.
He replied, “Compared to historical records, our snowfall in recent years is spot on.”
Last season's snowfall in the Revelstoke region, where all the CMH Heli-Ski areas are located, would certainly support this. Excellent skiing all winter. The 2010-2011 season in the Revelstoke region? Excellent skiing all winter. The 2009-2010 winter in the Revelstoke region? Great early season skiing, spotty in places during high season, and great late season skiing. It's not called the world's greatest skiing because of the region's grooming capability...
I also spoke with Dave Cochrane last summer. In fact, I was poking a bit of fun at him because he’s a huge fan of corn skiing and I knew it had dumped all spring in the Columbia Mountains leaving little time for the sunshine to form the velvety springtime corn snow.
I asked, “Dave, did you miss corn skiing last year?”
His reply: “Nope. The spring powder skiing has been so good the last few years that I haven’t really missed corn skiing at all. In the spring it’s just kept dumping and we’ve been skiing powder right up to the end of the season.”
So much for making a ski guide miss corn snow.
The big question is: what does all this mean for this year?
Dave concluded his letter to the CMH Heli-Skiing office in Banff: “So,,,,it’s only the third week in October and anything can happen but it is looking very promising so far.”
My read? It dumped four feet in the Bugs and Dave wants to go skiing.
The effect his report has on me? It dumped four feet in the Bugs and now I want to go skiing too.
Looking at the photos I can’t help but see the snow being whirled into the sky from the rotor wash, the rippled ridges of deep powder already taking on the seductive lines of winter drifts. I can’t help but daydream of the feel of snowflakes on my face, the giddy roller coaster-feel of arcing through bottomless powder, and the winter vistas changing with every breath.
Dave, do us all a favor and stop sending in these brutal reports - it isn’t ski season yet!
Or is it?