My new home for the season
Trip Start Apr 23, 2005
63Trip End Mar 31, 2006
Show trip route
Where I stayed
After a big drive back from Fernie with Ange to drop the car off, we spent a few days seeing the sights of Vancouver and deciding what to do with our next few months. I got offers from Fernie and Sunshine and decided to go with the Sunshine Trail Crew job as I would get to ski more. I booked a flight to Calgary and arrived in Banff (an amazing tourist town in the middle of the Canadian Rockies) on the 29th October. My new boss was organising some accomodation for me so I gave him a quick call and he pointed me to the HI hostel and told me to come up to Sunshine the next day to sign my contract and get everything in order. I caught the staff bus from the hostel at 7am the next morning and arrived at the base of the mountain at about 7:30am
A lot of this won't make much sense without an idea of the layout of the resort, so have a look at the trail map below. Sunshine is made up 3 main mountains which surround the village:
Lookout mountain (2720m top lifted point)
Mount Standish (and Wawa next to it)
Goats Eye Mountain (Named for the mountain goats and an eye shaped rock formation on it's Northen face)
Having travelled for 6 months I was in reasonable shape, but nothing could prepare me for the physical demands of my new job
Over the next few weeks I learnt all about my new job as a snow farmer - that's right, I'm a farmer. The Trail crew's main job is to set-up, maintain and eventually pull down 27km of plastic snow fence which is used to catch the massive snow drifts that make up most of the trails above the treeline. They work by creating a barrier for the snow laden wind which often sweeps across the alpine areas (above tree line) of the resort. The wind passes over the fence and bends down towards the ground, dropping much of the snow at the same time. After a good windy storm, it's not uncommon to find drifts of snow 1-2m deep and 4-5m wide running the entire length of the fence - and this can happen in one night. Job satisfaction has never been better than the instant gratification of setting up a fence one day, and finding a drift of these proportions sitting there the next. Even more amazing is the realisation that most of the alpine areas and all of Goats Eye would be completely unskiable without the snow fences. All the snow would be blown off the mountain and into the next valley by the first decent wind to come along.
More to come on this, but check out my next post for some of the party action in Canmore.