Friday, April 28, 2017

Looking South East from the Canyon

Time for a dumpster rant..........

I don't go to the transfer station very often, but the last two times there has been a fair bit of stuff in the dumpster that should have been in the recycle. The stuff isn't all coming from Baldy - one truck and trailer backed up to the bank and unloaded their dandelions!

Spring Flowers

My daffodils may emerge in July or August.

Truck Stolen from Tri-plex

Apparently the dog blanket and kleenex from the Santa Fe were not the only things that disappeared during the wee hours of Thursday morning.

It's probably long gone, but keep your eyes open for the truck that disappeared. Many of you know the truck - 2014 Dodge half-ton - maroon- head ache rack, tool box, one mud flap missing, distinctive home made seat covers.

The truck was still there at 10:30 pm Wednesday night, and the owner says it was gone when he let the dog out in the morning. Other tri-plex tenants told the owner that it was still there when their friend dropped them off very early Thursday morning.

Weird.......Lock your car ??

 "A dog blanket was stolen from our Santa Fe Wednesday night right in front of our cabin. At 2 am Wednesday night I woke up to head lights in our bed room window but did not think any thing of it. This a. m. I found it missing? Guess they needed it to stay warm?"

"The Guru" and the "Grand Pubah of Powder"

Baldy's own weather guru has more weather/snow related links bookmarked on his computer than most people. He has subscribed to powder alerts for years, and sent me the latest update from one of his favourites this morning.

In a nutshell, Larry is forecasting El Nino for next year, but not confirming that until September. El Nino has been good to Baldy in the past.

For the whole report:

BMR Blog

New blog post from BMR on the Baldy Marathon.


Calling all ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls; skiers, snowboarders, and tobogganers alike! The countdown is officially coming to a close. Our special offer price for the early bird season passes will be sold online: 

MONDAY, MAY 1, 2017 beginning at 09:00 AM PST  "

The Baldy Community - Part One

There are many contributing factors as to why the Baldy Community is unique. I don't have a complete list in front of me, but this morning I wrote down 112 of the cabins on Baldy, and prepared the following stats.

Cabins owned by family of the original owners:       6

Cabins owned by people who were brought to Baldy by existing cabin owners and rented or stayed on the mountain with family and friends before buying or building their cabins.    44

People in the village who have worked as groomer operators at Baldy -  5

Past and present Baldy ski instructors in the village          21

Past and present ski patrol in the village                             14

I could do a stat on how many cabin owners have relatives in the community, but for that much detail, it would be better to work from an actual list of cabins.

Suffice to say that there are enough connections in the village that many owners know many other owners.

BMR May 1st

BMR Facebook says that pricing for the 2017-2018 season will be announced May 1st, and a limited number of early discount price passes will go on sale that date, online only.

Go to , Mountain Heading, Sub-heading passes and tickets.

9:10 am capture from webcam. Wind not as strong today as it was yesterday.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Spring Photos from Ian Mounsey

Thanks for these Ian.

Nice to be able to enjoy looking at the blossoms, without having to worry about the weather and timing like I did back in my fruit industry days.

Valley Colour

Most of the mountain residents are making frequent trips to town - we need warmth and colour! Cherries, Peaches and Saskatoon Berries are in bloom - and there is colour on McKinney Road.

I don't like getting too close to the Balsam Root - often covered in Ticks.

Western Sagebrush Buttercup in the Ranunculus Occidentalis family - Thanks Marian

‘Snowy Joey’ O’Brien hired as Manager of Community Services

Pass Herald Reporter
The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass’ new Manager of Community Services, Joey O’Brien, has a legacy of turning bankrupt or almost-there ski resorts into profitable businesses, but he has one strong message to convey: he’s much more than just a “snow guy.”

While the Pass Powderkeg Ski Hill makes up about 15% of his responsibilities, the umbrella of responsibilities will have him overseeing sports and recreation, Family and Community Support Services, the pool and some elements of tourism.

He will also have the challenging task of examining the Pass’ many aging facilities and come up with a strategic plan for maintenance, or demolition. One such controversial matter is looking at the worn-out Blairmore’s Albert Stella Memorial Arena, home to a skateboard park, a rock climbing wall and gymnastics facilities.

“My mandate to look at the Stella complex and figure out whether the right thing to do is to blow it up and decide what to do with the major activities that occur there, or to spend some money and put some polish on it until we have a more comprehensive plan on what to do,” he says.

O’Brien has been on the job for about a week now and while he is still formulating his vision for the Pass, he makes it clear that attracting tourism to the area is high on the list, an attitude and agenda welcomed by Crowsnest Pass.

Antigonish-born O’Brien grew up in an entrepreneurial family. His father owned a number of businesses and O’Brien himself had a ski hill as his first business by age 19. By 21, he had over 100 people working under him.

O’Brien is largely credited with bringing numerous bankrupt or failing ski resorts back to success, turning them into profitable enterprises that contribute to both the social and economic wealth of the region.

He saved Ski Martock in his home province of Nova Scotia from the brinks of bankruptcy, and later did the same with Fortress Mountain in Kananaskis, Alberta. His latest rescue is B.C.’s Mount Baldy Ski Resort, which he got back up and running after it filed for bankruptcy.

In 2015, he started his own business focused on environmental sustainability, SustainDriven. The consulting and event operations company contributed to making the 2014 Alberta Winter Games the world’s greenest multi-sport games in history.

But, again, O’Brien is more than just a “snow guy”, even though his nickname may be “Snowy Joey”, a quip that has stuck since 1982 when he was doing live radio spots.

While most of us look at the Pass Powderkeg and think snow, skis and winter, O’Brien sees it as more than just a one-season operation. In the ski business, he says, you can no longer be successful long-term by providing services for just a single season.

“I don’t look at it as a winter-only occasion. Most of the investment that’s occurring in the ski industry these days is to make them three- or four-season facilities,” he says. “Using the ski resort as an anchor to create those types of activities is one of the things I’d like to accomplish over time, building a complete economic model for four seasons, not just for a ski resort.”

While he holds many accolades and accomplishments in the private sector, working for a municipality is a new experience for him.

“My one area of greatest weakness is never having worked in government and my area of greatest strength is never having worked in government,” he says. “I bring a private sector, ‘do it now, we know how to make money’ attitude.”

With a Council mandate focused on attracting tourism and beautification of the Crowsnest Pass, O’Brien certainly seems to fit the bill as Manager of Community Services.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Nancy Greene Team in the 80's

I'll need some help with some of the names - these racers are now in their 30's and 40's

Seated left, Guy Cooper, behind ?___________, __________, Matt Mavety, Chris Dimma with ? in front, __________, Coach Sieglinde Sutherland, ___________, _____________, ____________, __________, ___________, ___________ Dale Dumoret, Randy Dumoret.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Wapiti Photos

Wapiti is a good place to take photos when the sky is particularly cool. Banks are still too high for that.

Monday Melt

It is melting, but at 7:00pm it is plus1C and snowing.

Wayne D - looks like there will be firewood on the road in the canyon in the next couple of days.


Another newsletter out from BMR. Says they are marking 50 years of Baldy. Baldy opened for the 68-69 season, so the 50th Anniversary is not the upcoming season.

Monday Morning

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Congratulations Tim and Michelle

Our Baldy electrician/mechanic's helper was married yesterday - you clean up well Tim!

Mr. and Mrs. Tim Forlin
Mario Forlin photo - Thanks Kevin

Bunny Confusion Season

Sherry Davison photo.

The snowshoe rabbits know it is spring. They are already changing colour, but they still think you can't see them on the snow.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Okanagan Edge - "Sammy" Award for CWSAA CEO

I’m humbled by it’
Trevor Nichols - Apr 21 - Biz Release


Photo: Contributed
When Kampoops-area native Christopher Nicolson got a call from the publisher of Ski Area Management magazine, his first thought was that he was about to get bad news.
As the publisher made small talk, Nicolson kept trying to figure out what was going on.
“To be honest with you I actually thought, uh oh something’s gone wrong,” Nicolson, the president and CEO of Canada West Ski Areas Association, recalled later.

But then he learned that he had just won a SAMMY Leadership Award, and his worry turned to shock and delight.

The SAMMYs, after all, are a pretty big honour in the North American ski and snowboarding world. For 20 years SAM magazine has been recognizing industry leaders through the awards, and their scope is North America wide.

Big-time industry contributors are nominated by their peers, and three people who have contributed significantly to the North American ski and snowboard industry are selected as recipients each year.
This year, Nicolson was one of them.

“It’s definitely an honour. I feel very honoured and humbled by it,” Nicolson said.
Not only does Nicolson have a decades-long career in the industry, his passion for it is intense.
As the president of the Canada West Ski Areas Association, he’s pushed hard to get the message out that skiing and snowboarding are much more than just sports.
From combating the sedentary lifestyle taking hold of society and enjoying the outdoors, to building personal communities and driving local economies, Nicolson says skiing has a lot to offer.
Through the CWSAA, Nicolson has also pushed hard the many benefits of skiing and snowboarding for youth.

Those efforts, it appears, were a big part of why he was chosen, and that makes him very, very happy.
“To hear that that message was being picked up on, and I suppose also celebrated, is fantastic,” he said. “There’s all kinds of messages out there, and any time the messages you are trying to send the industry are being heard, that’s a massive win for us.”
He said the award feels amazing, especially since he was nominated by his peers, but the CWSAA being recognized on the North American stage it also speaks to some of the great things going on in the Canadian ski industry.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Smugglers Smoke House

Congrats Shayna and Josh - Smugglers Smoke House is open for business.

Small Town Living, and the Ultimate Pass

Going to the Dentist every six months is a social event for me. My Dentist has just retired after 50 years of service, but I remember the receptionist from school in Osoyoos. The hygienist is a member of the Baldy community, and we played in the SOSS Band together.

In the waiting room I cross paths with fellow patients - most of whom I have known for decades.

This week, it was a retired teacher from Oliver, who has been buying Baldy passes for her grandchildren for years - she was so pleased when Baldy re-opened this year, and purchased 4 season passes for family. She reminded me of the Baldy Ultimate Pass. (season pass and season rental)

This lady bought ultimate passes for her grandchildren when they were younger - she commented that it was so valuable for growing kids - if the boots were getting tight mid-season, they just went in to the shop and exchanged. If I remember correctly, the pass also included some in season tuning and waxing.

I've also heard comments lately about the pass interchange program. The set up used to be as simple as Ski Areas exchanging letters and stats - you could get a discount on a day ticket at a participating mountain by presenting your Baldy Pass. It was also a perk for staff, who could get a free day or two at another mountain, with their pass and a letter from management. Interchange was not offered last year, presumably because the Baldy passes were so cheap. When I inquired, I was told that the pricing plan was to have season passes cheap enough that people who had already bought Apex passes would also buy a Baldy pass.

That explanation was a little off, in that Baldy passes went on sale before Apex. I prefer the industry standard deadline dates for various discounts. For example, you would know that you could by a pass for a discount price if you purchased by October 1st.

Last year we were told that once a certain number of cheap passes were sold, there would be no more season passes. One of those times when it is not fun to be the "go to" person for Baldy information.
E-mails and phone calls were steady - did I think they could wait to pay for a month or so and still get a pass?

The BMR Facebook page says the pricing for next season will be out May 1st. Not sure what the rush is.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Osprey Cams

Tom and Hilary's Osprey Cam is up and running, and they have Osprey working on the nest at Elm Tree Farm B&B. new link on the sidebar

The Osoyoos Osprey Cam shows that Canada Geese have taken over the nest -for now.


I managed to push this one a little closer to the ditch.

The next one?

Oliver Chronicle

Baldy’s Joey O’Brien off to his next resort adventure

A chance to live much closer to his family and “a whole bucket load more money” convinced ‘Snowy’ Joey O’Brien to leave his role as the operations manager at Baldy Mountain Resort.

O’Brien, who was hired last summer to lead the resort out of bankruptcy, is largely credited with saving the hill from oblivion.
“Without Joey’s vision and hard work, the new Baldy would not have come into existence,” Baldy’s principal investor Victor Tsao said in a Facebook post.
O’Brien plans on staying involved with Baldy through an advisory role, though he’ll be giving his full-time attention to Pass Powderkeg Ski Resort in Crowsnest Pass. That resort is less than three hours from his home in Calgary which will make it much easier for O’Brien to spend weekends together with his family.
“I really love my family,” he said. “It wasn’t like I was getting away, it’s like I was missing them.”
O’Brien was able to keep his mind busy by working long days – up to 18-hour shifts. But at the end of the day when it was time to go to bed, he didn’t enjoy the solitude.
“I keep myself going like crazy, but when you want to settle down … people need to unplug. I’m at a stage of life where balance is important.”
From the Crows Nest Pass, “I’ll be able to zip home on Friday nights, occasionally.”
And beyond the invaluable benefit of being closer to family, getting offered a “bucket load” more money will always be a heavy draw.
After Baldy resort came out of bankruptcy on June 15 last year, O’Brien hustled for 260 days without any time off. When he first arrived in the South Okanagan, Baldy was in a derelict state.
And even though the ski hill was sporadically operational in the years prior, “there hadn’t been a lot of maintenance since 2008.”
In order to get Baldy and all of its equipment ready for the opening day of 2016, O’Brien and the team had 115 days to complete 20 “incredibly intense” projects.
“You add up all the projects, all the pieces, it was very intensive.”
Upon the end of the first full season of the new Baldy, O’Brien said nearly every pre established goal had been achieved.
“We exceeded some expectations and some areas were a little bit below, but overall it’s incredible for the resort moving forward.”
Many other South Okanagan businesses struggle to retain talent. And in many ways, O’Brien was a big fish in a small pond.
“I get head hunted all the time,” he said.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


I talked to a fellow this morning who was looking at the socked in top of the mountain, waiting for it to clear so a helicopter could come in and take him and some gear to the top of the mountain. At 3:30 his truck was still here, covered in snow, and the mountain socked in again. Clear again now - expect to hear a chopper soon.

Eclipse - bottom of the frame - didn't want to walk on the 5cms fresh in my bare feet to get a better shot.


Thanks for the wing back Emcon - you can come back anytime and fill more potholes.

Snow Sculpture by Emcon

Thunder lightning, hail, rain in the valley - clearing weather followed me up the road.

Big Flakes at 26km

Wider than it was.
It's that time of year - rocks rolling and sliding in the canyon.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Quiet Weekend

Thanks MMT for your PR. It was a mostly quiet weekend, and I didn't have to leave the mountain for noise. Signs and tape intact.

Where are they now?

"Danger" is a Sroamie, and was full time groomer and mechanic at Panorama for several years. He started working in plumbing this year ( I guess they make more than cat operators), but still groomed part time at Panorama. His last shift of the season was yesterday.

Stuart Rodgers photo.

Congrats Steve!

Congratulations Steve - one of the many "Sroamies" to make a valuable contribution to Baldy. Just one Sroamie here now - Matt - but others keep coming back to ski.....Mark W., Ricardo, Andrew, Kyle, haven't seen Tim for a long time...Kirsten attended too - not sure if she got back to complete after injuring her knee.

Hmm, I just realized that it has been 30 years since I skied Panorama...........

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Mother Goose

Have you been checking the Osprey cam? The first time I checked, there were two Canada Geese in the nest, and there was a report of one goose egg. The next time I checked, the nest was completely empty, no egg.

Mother Goose is in the nest this afternoon, and I caught her moving - 4 eggs in the nest.

Wonder if the Osprey have come by yet................Osprey are more fun to watch - they move around more.

Baldy Booster

Baldy Booster and blog contributor Marie at Silver Star.

Whistler Blackcomb

We've missed you this winter Lee - hope things work out for you to be back at Baldy next winter.

Lee's smile, energy and enthusiasm have been missed at Baldy this winter. She was unable to get an answer from Baldy before the deadline passed for commitment to WB. Lee taught at Whistler for 20 years before moving to Oliver. They were more than happy to have her back, and her Mom was happy to have her there too. Ian and Baldy - not so much. See you soon Lee!

Not Cool

Cutting down a tree on your neighbour's property for a feature on your snowboard track on the neighbour's property - not cool.

Happy Easter

Thanks Kyle for this photo of "little ripper" Cienna with the Easter Bunny at the Oliver Parks and Rec event yesterday.

Saturday, April 15, 2017


  • thanks hop-a-long for shovelling off the dumpster lids
  • so far so good - signs and tape still up
  • quieter than I expected
  • go Leafs

Friday, April 14, 2017

Sun Peaks

I've attended workshops on Ski Area Communications - having a designated spokesperson and getting information out rather than delaying, but I was still surprised that Sun Peaks issued a press release yesterday announcing that Nancy Greene Raine was booked for surgery in Kelowna yesterday.
"Sun Peaks, BC (April 13, 2017) - Sun Peaks Resort LLP General Manager Darcy Alexander announced today that the resort’s Director of Skiing, Nancy Greene Raine, is undergoing treatment for thyroid cancer. Nancy will have her thyroid removed in Kelowna today and will rest and recover over the coming weeks.  Additional cancer treatment will begin within four or five weeks to manage the suspected spread of cancer cells.

Mr. Alexander requested that both the public and media respect Nancy’s privacy so that she can focus her energy on full recovery. Sun Peaks Resort LLP will issue updates as more medical information becomes available.

Nancy and her husband Al Raine remain very positive about the outcome of these treatments. Thyroid cancer is known to be one of the most treatable types of cancer.

Nancy Greene Raine, a sitting Canadian Senator, plans to return to her Senate duties as soon as possible following treatment."

Good Friday in Osoyoos

Thanks Sharen Gibbs for this great photo - I've seen apricot blooms in Osoyoos as early as March 17th. This photo with snow and blossoms shows how late the spring is.

Oliver Chronicle Article

Management shuffled at Mt. Baldy

By Dan Walton
It was a prosperous first year back for Baldy Mountain Resort, but the manager who oversaw the revival – “Snowy” Joey O’Brien – is stepping aside for someone new to steer the ship.
O’Brien, who had been away from home for nearly a year to work as the managing director at Baldy, has decided he wants to live with his family in Alberta.
Victor Tsao, Baldy’s head investor, said there was never any expectation as how long O’Brien would stick around for, and that “Without Joey’s vision and hard work, the new Baldy would not have come into existence.”
While O’Brien will be geographically detached from Baldy, he still plans on being involved with the resort, but “on a more strategic and planning perspective,” said Tsao. “We needed him here on the spot for the first year, which he did.”
In his place, Andy Foster has been hired as the resort’s assistant general manager beginning in May – he’ll be the new “go-to person,” said Tsao.
It was also announced that two other familiar faces will be joining Baldy’s management team. Beginning at the start of the next winter season, Kevin Rand will serve as  the manager of resort operations, and Matt Koenig will be the manager of resort facilities.
“Both Kevin and Matt have been longtime residents, operators, and managers of Mt. Baldy and their enthusiasm, history, dedication, and knowledge should prove to be invaluable to the new Baldy,” Tsao said.
Meanwhile, the team at Baldy is also in the process of forming a Strategic Advisory Committee, which will create the blueprints for the upcoming development and expansion process.
Tsao said there will be some familiar faces on the committee, “so please stay tuned.”
With the 2016-2017 winter season concluded at Baldy, Tsao said construction will begin soon on a number of micro cabins to offer guests a greater selection of accommodation.
“Our vision for Baldy, it’s a hidden gem,” he said. “There’s lots of potential for summer activities, and we’re planning to roll out a whole bunch of them in 2018.”


This file photo of George Webster with me goes back awhile - I'm wearing Rossi 7S skis, 195cms.
George is 87 and doing well at Sunnybank in Oliver, and he has called me many nights this winter wanting to know how things are up here.

Celebration of Life Jean- Guy

Laverne - "Uncle Beaver "  - (the hat) Beaver Trail named after him. George Webster, Ernie Rotheisler
Hollie Rotheisler, Jean-Guy Langlois

Loved the Corduroy, but almost feel guilty.........

I get that BMR went low with season passes to get people back to Baldy, but among the friends who have told me their number of days skied this winter, we paid between 0.18 cents and $4.85 per day of skiing this winter. Not much of a contribution to grooming or lift operations.

Flash  back to the mid-eighties when Borderline Ski Club ran the ski hill. We all paid more than $700 for a season pass the first year to raise the funds for a new haul rope for the Baldy T-bar.

Mudslide - Highway 3 Between Greenwood and Grand Forks

If you are planning to go east this morning, Hwy 3 is closed at the mudslide - detour by using the Phoenix road for standard vehicles - trucks will have to wait, or cross the border at Midway.

DriveBC is reporting the highway has reopened to single lane alternating traffic north of Greenwood.
Motorists should expect delays of up to 20 minutes.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Baldy's First Powder Maker

Canada West Ski Areas Association Annual Conference and Maintenance Seminar is coming up. If it were closer to home, I would go this year - to see the retired management team.  Jimmie and Andy Spencer will be guests at this year's conference.

The last time I went was for the retirement party for Jimmie after 32 years service to the organization and the industry.

Baldy General Managers at Jimmie's Retirement Party

Ski resorts compete for skier visits, but through the CWSAA, they network, and share for the common good of the industry.

Some of the benefits to Baldy during my time included:
  • the CEO making a phone call on Borderline Ski Club's behalf on opening day when the paper work was held up on our insurance
  • The Trade Show door prize I won that Intermountain Signs converted to enough decals to make all the new signs we needed for the T- bars.
  • our first powder maker - donated to the club - we paid for shipping. Expanded metal rollers and the bearings were made of wood!

My first trip to CWSAA was 1990, when I went as Ski School Director for the Canadian Professional Ski Schools meetings. When I registered, I was told that Baldy was the only one of the 155 member ski areas who had not sent their management team that year.

To my readers who will be attending the conference - please give my best regards to Jimmie and Andy. Russell or Tim? :)

Snow Caution

I had a small slide in my yard this morning. There is a large pile of snow where my roof sheds - it developed a fracture line, and a layer slid down and filled my walkway and the space between the truck and the bank.

A couple of feet in the last 10 days or so, mild temperatures - be aware.

It is no secret that I don't appreciate the influx of sleds in the spring. They found somewhere else to stage from December 1st to April 2nd. We are all fed up shovelling, and the volume of snow has the village roads a little narrower. We don't need the general public parking and staging on the strata roads.

Will the tape and signs still be up after the weekend?
The Davison walkway is several feet off the ground - no where else to put the snow.

"We give up! Guess there is no worry about the snowpack after this week. Look out below if it warms up quickly!"
So much for camping - my gear is in the container - it has been shovelled down to the door several times. Snow is up to the roof next door.

If you want to fly under the radar, don't unload your sled in front of my house....

Happy Easter ??

Last 24 hrs, 27cms. Add that to 12 and 4 from previous days,  so 43cms last three days, and guess is still snowing. (then there was more than 20cms before that.)

How do I measure the snow? In the morning, I put on ankle high footwear, push the snow scraper ahead of me to the swing gate, and measure. This morning, it was put on the tall boots, shovel snow to the side until I got to the measuring spot.

I don't remember what day I last cleared the whole deck, but I have work to do.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Limited Season Passes May 1st

Getting the word out - for those of you who don't use Facebook, and gave up on the BMR website, I suggest you sign up for the BMR newsletters. Today they posted on Facebook -  a limited sale of early bird discount season passes starting May 1st.

Baldy Mountain Resort
10 hrs
Dreaming of next year already?!
A limited number of 2017/18 #SeasonPasses will go on sale at great early bird pricing: MAY 1st!

Pink Moon - Penticton

Thanks to M. Fletcher - frequent blog contributor.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sign, and Silver Star

Somewhere else for hill climbers to go this weekend.

Su Casa - Mexican Cafe and Cinnamon Buns!

I've driven by, but never stopped. Hwy 3 on the way to Osoyoos. Now that I have reliable information that they have great cinnamon buns, that is about to change.

Thanks Mark and Sherry for the review and the pics.

"Hi Sam, had lunch here today. Great Mexican lunch followed by awesome cinnamon buns for the road. Food is made fresh. Open 8:00 am - 2pm and 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm. Sundays open til 2 pm and closed Wednesdays. The serve breakfast lunch and dinner."