Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Cascade and Face looking great - left a patch at the bottom to do another try with the flail mower. On to the "Big Hill" tomorrow.

"Tailgate Meeting" End of the day - reviewing today's lift work, and going over the plans for tomorrow - Matt with the Summit Crew.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Chair Hanging

Same crew, slick operation, and the Sugar Lump chairs go back on the line. MA can line up the machine right on, and it is so much easier on dry ground! I assume they finished as there weren't many more to go when I left.

Getting there - on Chair 79 when I stopped by.
The Eagle Chairs take more muscle, but the young fellows are up to the task.

Monday, August 29, 2016


The Summit boys are putting the Eagle Chairs back on the line, and Matt is re-installing grips on the Sugar Lump Chairs.

Great progress with the brush saws - one more tank of gas will finish Cascade - Face is next, then on to "The Big Hill"

Keep it Clean

The RDKB had a machine in the transfer station area last week doing some tidying and levelling. Today, I noticed new stickers on the recycle bins.

There you go friends - when you see stupid happening, take a pic of the vehicle, and you have a number to call.

Remembering Early Days at Baldy

Early cabin owners had 99 year leases with Mt. Baldy Recreations Ltd. Heinz Stregge came along with a grandiose plan for the area that involved "bulldozing" those little existing cabins. Betty Ozanne mobilized the community, a Leaseholders Association was formed, and Wally Day and I also served on the committee that got our village subdivided off of the ski area  property. This was all pre-strata.
BC Assessment would individually assess the cabins, but only issued one tax bill. Betty and I sat down for a weekend every year to divide the bill according to the assessments, and issue invoices to the property owners. I could look it up for more detail, but it was a lot of work, over a long period of time. Wally and Mary Anne started their Ski School in year 2 of Baldy's operation. I had lessons from them, and joined the ski school in the mid-seventies. We shared a lot over many years. I had the pleasure of seeing them this weekend.

There's a whole lot of history, love and mutual respect in this photo. Decades of friendship, skiing and good times. With Wally, Mar, and Betty - to quote Betty "you can't buy friends like us at the grocery store. "

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday - Bill and Matt

Doing my rounds with pop and sparkling juice for the guys this afternoon - very happy to see Bill and Matt at the bottom of the Eagle Chair. Testing a few things, and making plans for the installation of the new com line from tower 11 to the top.
Not only is Bill an awesome telemark skier, a journeyman electrician and trades instructor, he was Mt. Washington's electrician looking after the Blue Chair before it came to Baldy. Bill also wired the Sugar Lump chair for Leitner Poma..
He's bailed us out many times, including when the marmots decided to chew on some Magic Carpet wires. Great guy to have around, the skill set, and the passion for Baldy.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Royal Canadian Navy - Naden Band - Maritime Forces of the Pacific

Excellent concert in the park tonight. I've attended as many concerts as possible since I first heard the band in the early 70's. They are playing in Gyro Park in Osoyoos tomorrow night.

Of course along with these community events comes a lot of visiting old friends too. I sat with Neil and Shirley - they have had Christmas at Baldy every year since 1978 - the trouble with Baldy being closed three Christmases, I've lost track of the grandkids. One of those "little" ones who learned to ski on the McKinney is off to McGill in the fall! ( She will come to Ski Baldy at Christmas)

I had a short visit with the President of the Oliver Tourism Association, Board member of the TIABC, and Executive member of Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country. All those titles - none other than our Tony, with baby Clark on his chest and Brooke with Morgan getting her face painted. Tony said he hadn't met Joey yet, but the family is keen on getting back on skis this winter.

With the senior's pass, even Melva is thinking about dusting off her snowboard after about 7 years.

Sue is quite happy to park her snowshoes and get back on skis this winter.

David, a whole bunch of your family at the concert tonight,  you'll be having company this winter, Rene told me she bought a pass - hasn't skied for 8 years.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Yes the Black Car is Still There

I stopped by the "cop shop" today to see if the car at the junction had been forgotten - still there third day - they told me they were aware that it was still there. Damaged ignition, expired insurance and all.

Predator Warning!

The brush cutting crew found a freshly killed deer on the McKinney slopes this morning. They are not certain what the predator was, but suspect maybe a cougar?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Osoyoos Times - Rotary- Joey

Very Busy Day

It's been a long time since I've seen 5 or 6 pick-up trucks in various places in the base area. Three on brush saws, two Inter-Mountain Technicians, 3 Summit Lift guys, one painter, and Matt doing a little bit of everything.

Productive day, everyone seems pleased - not sure if the Inter-Mountain guys have left yet , all the outdoor stuff is done,- you can't check on them when they are testing grips - they are in a blacked out room.

Sounds like tomorrow it will be time to start putting things back together.

Such a treat to see maintenance and testing go well in good weather - such a contrast to the cold snowy conditions the guys have had to endure in the past. The risk is sunburn, not frostbite!

Brush Clearing

A few technical difficulties with the tractor/mower set up, but three brush saws made great headway today.

Testing the Cable

This unit surrounds the cable, and examines it for any imperfections, while the cable runs through it. The technician then reviews the data on a laptop.

Inter-Mountain Testing

Twenty-five or so years ago I won a door prize at the Canada West Ski Areas Association Trade Show. The value was $100, and when owners Don and Debbie Muirhead found out I was from Baldy, they told me of their special connection with a Baldy family. They worked out a way to stretch that $100 into enough decals for the new signage required for the T-bars. Ernie Dumais had some students cut the plywood for the backing,

This one is for you Virginia and Sage - Ross Muirhead, the little boy you babysat so many years ago in North Vancouver!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Eagle Eye and OJO Cam

Last summer my total was three stolen cars and one fugitive spotted on McKinney Road. This stolen car is at the junction of McKinney Road and Baldy Road. I called it in at 11:00, but several others had called before me. Still there at 5:15. Expired license, destroyed ignition. After last summer, I bought an OJO Dash Cam.

Scary Night for Campers in OK Falls

Fire, reported to be lightning caused on the hill west of the river - above drop structure, close to provincial campsite. Photos available on .

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Busy Sunday on the Mountain - Investors-Social Media, and Websters

Investors Day- meeting of the ownership group on the mountain with Joey, Matt and others.

I had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie O'Brien and Kyla Jacobs who have been working on the website and social media. You will notice some changes on the website  - I was able to give Kyla some more accurate information for their website - their previous source was lacking. Thanks to Marian B's calendar for the real natural snowfall amount. There will be a few more tweaks, but we ran out of time today. Much easier to do face to face.

Granny will be warm this winter - Richard, Elizabeth and Dad have filled her woodshed to the brim.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Real Estate

Prices all over the map.
Sales that I know of: one condo completed, one cabin completed, one cabin completing in September.
One cabin owner took down his for sale sign, another cabin owner put one up.

What it looks like with snow? All you have to do is ask................

Friday, August 19, 2016

Terry's Garden

It appears that Terry's hard work has been spared the destruction from wildlife this year.

Clearing the Brush

Flash  back to 2006 - A contractor had this shipped out from the prairies to use in laying out a new vineyard. Diamond teeth pretty much mashed everything in it's path on some of the new Sugar Lump runs, but it cost a fortune, and seemed to be down more than it was running.

Cheapest way to cut brush - volunteer work party.

Make Baldy Better Work Party

Flail mower brought in to try on the alders.

A little change-up for a warm Friday...................

From December 28, 2010

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

In the News Today - Article from SAM Magazine

Valemount Master Plan Earns B.C. Government Approval

SAM Magazine—Valemount, B.C., Canada, Aug. 17, 2016—The Valemount Glacier Destinations Ltd. master plan for a proposed ski resort on Mount Pierre Elliott Trudeau in interior British Columbia has been approved by the government. The proposedvalemount emailsize project has gotten tremendous local support, which developers say helped expedite the recent approval.
“This project would not be possible without the initiative and steadfast support of the people of Valemount and the Simpew [First Nation],” said Oberto Oberti, who is the project’s architect, as well as the visionary behind the controversial and now-defunct Jumbo Glacier proposal. “It has been carefully designed to integrate with the existing community.”
Once complete, which is scheduled to take 10 years, the resort is “expected to provide sustainable public access to large glaciers that are more than 9,850 feet in elevation” and have the longest vertical drop in North America, totaling 6,726 feet. The vert title currently belongs to Revelstoke, B.C., with its 5,620 of vertical.
The first phase of development is expected to be complete by December 2017. It will provide access up to an elevation of 8,530 feet and a vertical drop of about 5,775 feet.
The project is expected to become a major sightseeing and year-round skiing destination. With its location an hour north of Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing in Blue River, B.C., and ninety minutes west from Jasper, Alberta, developers plan to target Edmonton (five hours away) as one source of visitors.

Bryan Gough - Baldy Forestry Look Out '78-'80

From time to time I hear from Bryan - the last observer on the Baldy Fire Look Out - some news, some great photos.

Today a little update on the Forestry Lookouts:

On a fire-related note, I spoke yesterday to the head guy at the Grand Forks Fire Centre, and he informs that due to the wetter, cooler, and almost lightning-free summer we’ve so far experienced, only one of the two still-in-service fire lookouts in the area will be considered for operation this year, notably Goat Lookout, which is roughly twenty miles northeast of Baldy and looks at the north and east sides of the mountain. If you’re curious (if you haven’t before made the drive and hike to Goat) just highlight and copy the following line of coordinates and paste it into Google Earth (or maps, in satellite view):  49 24.846N  119 00.917W 
The only other lookouts that had a view of Mount Baldy but have over the years been discontinued are Roderick Dhu ( 49 11.557N  118 36.813W ), Kobau ( 49 06.666N  119 40.022W ), and Little White ( 49 41.912N  119 19.897W ). The only other lookout which is very sporadically used, although likely not this year, is the remote, very high, and helicopter accessed Bluejoint ( 49 33.213N  118 31.224W ).
 Bryan was exploring his old stomping grounds at the top of the mountain the other day, and shared these photos.



So the word is not out...........

A millwright working on the Eagle Chair went to an Oliver business the other day to pick up some fuses for the Eagle Chair. The young store employee had trouble believing the millwright that he was indeed working on the Eagle Chair, and that is what the fuses were for.

I guess the lad doesn't read the blog.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sherry's Bouquet

Outstanding year for wildflowers!

The Weather Guessers

I provide you with a link to, but I don't use their "widget" on this site, because their "current conditions" function is based on Osoyoos.

7:45pm Tuesday night

Current temp at Baldy 18C
Snowforecast says 35.6
Weather Underground   says 30C

Monday, August 15, 2016

20th Anniversary FOG

20th Anniversary Festival of the Grape - retro pricing - first 200 tickets sold online are $20.00

I haven't been to FOG for a long time - last time I went it was $15.00 :)


The catch and release program for the uninvited critters in the SSC is going well, but there are lots of them - where is the badger when you need him?

Four young badgers were found down the road awhile ago - Terry stopped - one ran away, the other three did the strike the threatening pose thing. Their existence and location was reported to the badger people.

Two small bear cubs frolicking beside the road just below the ski area last week. Same spot as larger cubs last summer - maybe same mother, new cubs?

Bear scat and Moose droppings seen up the mountain this weekend.

Coyotes making noise at night  likely in glades skier's right on Ponderosa.

Warm Monday on the Mountain

Line work going very well on Sugar Lump today - until the guys woke up the wasps living on Tower 4.
Guys are fine, we found them some wasp spray - thanks Mark and Sherry.

Grips removed from Sugar and Eagle Chairs ready for NDT. (non destructive testing)

A little story behind these benches - they were the benches we sat on as kids outside the cabana at the pool at the Fairweather family home. When the farm was sold 1989-90?? Aunty Irene gave them to me with a few other things to donate to the lodge. The cushions are long gone, but they are sturdy and solid, getting a little TLC today.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Peter Kalasz Photography

When the whole family goes to the BMX track, sometimes the canines get their photos taken too!
Great pic of Glenn (former top shop dog) from Peter Kalasz Photography.

Missed you Vic!

Great job on the yard clean-up Vic and crew - looking forward to skiing with you this winter - some of your other fans were down at the river this weekend.

Warm Sunday Hike for the Barbers

Looking down the Eagle - No Chairs on the Line

Looking up to "The Snags" from Dividend.

Badger Hole on Stemwinder
They also saw bear scat and moose droppings.

Always and Excellent Performance

Graphic from Oliver Daily News

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hard to pick just one tonight.....

Meadow, South End of Gruhl's Pool Trail - Earlier this week

Thanks Paul and Lesley for the photos, and for closing the gate behind you. :)

August 13, 2015 - Rock Creek - Westbridge

On this date last summer, a fire was ignited near Rock Creek, creating a firestorm that cut a swath through the valley to Westbridge taking 30 homes, livestock and countless outbuildings. So many families were affected. I've watched over the past year as agricultural fencing has been repaired, properties have been cleaned up, and new homes started.

The effects of that fire are long from over for the people of those communities. Some were not insured, some are still dealing with their insurance companies , irreplaceable items were lost, and images were seared in the minds of those who saw it.

The strength of community in the Boundary Country always has been remarkable. In this disaster - everyone took action whether it was fighting fire, evacuating campers across the river into pick up trucks, the evacuation centre, food and supplies in Midway, and the people of Midway who took evacuees into their homes.

In the following days there were individual and corporate donations of all kinds including a shipment of pet food!

Members of the Baldy Family who live there were defending their homes and their neighbours homes. I didn't go near the area until one month after the fire. I put my DSLR on the dash, and drove through the devastated areas. I was profoundly affected by what I saw, and I never watched or did anything with the video I took.

At Baldy, we lost power and phone, and dealt with considerable smoke for some time - but nothing as intense as the choking smoke in the Kettle Valley. Within a short period of time there was a fire south of the border creeping toward Sidley, then the night that fire came down to the edge of Oliver, travelled south on the hillside, and burned for a long time, taking some homes.

My travel trailer stayed parked for 2 months. With fire and road closures all around us, the Baldy residents were staying home - in a very dry environment , knowing that a fire could start almost anywhere, anytime.

Thankfully temperatures and moisture have given us a safer summer this year. In fact last week felt more like fall up here.

A few years ago, the Strata voted down spending money on forest fuel reduction outside of our perimeter. I have sent countless links to the Strata Council since that time as each grant program is announced. The Province continues to encourage removal of fuels in interface areas. It is a lot cheaper to reduce the risk of fire, than to deal with fire.

I rant about this often. Having taken the S100 Wildland Fire Fighting course from a forester, and from an interface firefighter, it frustrates me immensely to see the number of properties within the village that have not been cleaned up, and that no effort has been made on the fuels down the road.

The last fire was more than 80 years ago and came up from the Canyon Bridge. It makes total sense to apply for and work with Strata and the new owners to get some education program grants and fuel reduction grants for the benefit of us all.

The master plan had a perimeter trail around the base of the mountain. Perhaps that could be a starting point - logging a recreational trail, then reducing the fuel from that fire break to the ski hill.

The most unpredictable fire behaviour comes at the 30 30 cross over. Above 30C, and below 30% relative humidity. We rarely get those conditions at the mountain, but an extreme fire starting below us makes us sitting ducks with sparks 2 km ahead of a fire if we are not prepared to deal with it. If you have years worth of pine needles on your property, a flying ember will ignite them.

If everyone in the village followed the Firesmart recommendations to the letter, there  wouldn't be many trees left in the village. That said, there is so much we can do to improve the village safety. The inaction of too many in the village puts all of our places at risk.

A lesson from the interface firefighter - if a crew comes in to protect a subdivision, if they see that you have made an effort and it won't take them long to protect your place, they will. If no effort has been made on your property, and it will take them too long to protect it, they will pass by and save several other homes.

For the last several years, we have had a community burn pile on property intended for the eventual sewage ponds when development moves toward the current ones. Strata has time to discuss this with the new ownership over the winter, but in the meantime, clean up your property - the burn pile is still there.

It has been a few years since we had an S100 course at Baldy. The photo I have of the last full community fire hose demonstration has Ian Walsh in a firefighter coat - looking about 7 years old. I'm thinking Ian is probably 31 now.

There's my rant for today. Thinking of our Rock Creek and Westbridge friends.