The first trip of the 2009/2010 ski season started as usual 15 minutes ahead of schedule with all 28 participants happily lounging in a spacious bus and leaving the mastering of the icy looking roads to our driver. On our trip we took the just completed new Calgary bypass, Stoney Trail, lunched at the bottom of the COP and then our driver gave us a windshield survey of the COP and its latest developments.
Sunday night saw us on the mountain in the Hotel Chimney Corner for an informal get together. The weather forecast for Monday was grim. It would be too cold for the gondola and lifts to be running. We were mentally preparing for a day of billiards, hot tub, movies, card and board games. The forecast was not quite correct and between 11 and 12 the gondola and some of the lifts started. We skied under a translucent gentian blue ski with brilliant sunshine; it was totally calm and lift line ups were unheard of on what seemed like our private Mountain. In the evening we were treated to our Club dinner with expertly carved and tasty Baron of Beef, several delectable salads, baked veggies and such, chased by a chocolate mousse of melting charm.
The next day had another cool start but with the sun and all lifts operating, we did get some of the best vistas of the Rockies with sharply outlined skylines and crunchy snow below our skis. For Wednesday we were fortunate as the sun did get through again for the afternoon and the upper slopes including Goats Eye were enjoyed after some “below the tree line” skiing.
With the temperatures being rather low throughout our stay, participants tended to ski in groups with cell phone emergency numbers for Sunshine programmed which would shorten the response time of paramedic help if that was needed. Several participants took advantage of the Sunshine Hosts for on the hill expert guidance and briefing about the history and future of the hill.
In the late afternoon of Wednesday our bus was loaded and all 28 participants were returned to Edmonton after a dinner stop at Airdrie which circumvented rush hour in Calgary. On the bus trip, during our dinner and throughout our stay we had some of the most pleasing words of thanks said quite impromptu by participants. It was truly a pleasant experience in a modern “temporary community”, where everybody looks out for the others – thank you indeed!