Fernie = Best Winter destination according to National Geographic

Fernie has been selected, amongst nine others, as the best winter destination in 2012 by none other than National Geographic Magazine. Andrew Evans (National Geographic author) tells us what he thinks…

Andrew Evans description of Fernie says it all:

?A pocket of perfect mountains far from the madding crowd, where powdery snow dumps are more regular than Monday mornings?

Andrew goes on…

As a kid I had figured out that wet, heavy snow was much better for making snowballs, while dry, fluffy snow was pretty much useless as a weapon. Powder has no currency in a snowball fight, but with skiing, it?s the gold standard…

Handfull of light Fernie powder - useless for snowballs!

When powder snow falls, it maintains its dendritic (?tree-like?) snow-crystals that hold larger gaps of air between every icy, microscopic arm. This is what makes snow lighter and fluffier.

By definition, ?powder? snow has a water density of less than 7 percent. That means one cubic meter of powder snow weighs only 154 pounds (70 kg) compared to a cubic meter of water, which weighs over a ton at 2,200 pounds (1,000 kg).

On my first day skiing in Fernie, the powder had settled to around 6 percent density, though Fernie is famous for powder dumps of 4 percent density. Scientifically speaking, this is the lightest snow on earth, and skiers like me are denser (i.e. heavier) than the snow they are skiing on.

I learn this the hard way about halfway down Fernie?s Cedar Bowl when I tumble face first into the powder. Mine is a graceful somersault that disengages both of my skis and leaves me floating in the white. Like quicksand, each step of my ski boot sinks me deeper into the pillowy cover, until I am up to my chest in the powder. The snow feels soft and I consider staying wrapped up in the cozy comfort of deep snow.

Getting out of the powder feels like too much work – like swimming inside a giant marshmallow pool.

Andrew eventually extracted himself in order to write this piece (thanks Andrew).

Marshmallow pool or not, his text keeps making me think ? how lucky am I; I live here!

Fernie Powder Skiing

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