Saturday, March 2, 2013

Of Safety Fences & Fire Damage

I had planned to photograph the 2013 U16 Can-Am Western Championships in Panorama today. On the schedule were the men's and ladies' Super G events. I was excited to see the speed action, and was looking forward to spending 3-4 hours on the mountain.

Unfortunately, after I'd hiked up from the base as far as is practical in deep, wet, heavy snow conditions (think knee- to mid-thigh deep in places!), I found that the finish area had been moved up the mountain - probably because of the warmer conditions. This resulted in the usual gap that's left in the safety fencing for the course workers to exit through, wasn't there. There wasn't anywhere where I could get high enough to see over the nets to take photos, either - not, at least, within a close enough distance that my 200mm lens would be effective! I did ask the officials if I could shoot from behind the safety fence in the finish area, but "no" - I didn't really expect them to say yes, but had to try!

So that was that. I packed up and started hiking back down the mountain. I was very disappointed, as this was the only time this winter that I've had the inclination to go out in the cold to shoot the alpine events. And to add insult to injury, I'd declined an assisting job so that I could devote this weekend to ski racing!

On the way down, though, there was a consolation prize: I got to take a few photos of what's left of the 1000 Peaks Lodge, which fell victim to a serious fire a few days ago. The view from up the hill was quite dramatic, as you can see!

See larger versions of these images on my website.

Of course, I have to add that my brother (are you hearing a proud sister?!) was one of the first responders on scene, and was actually INSIDE that building evacuating guests and trying to knock the fire back, until the more than two dozen firies were pulled out due to overly dangerous conditions indoors.

There were no injuries, thankfully, either to the fire fighters or the guests who were in the building - amazing when you consider that the fire must've started sometime after midnight! The results of the investigation as to what caused the blaze haven't been made public yet, nor has any information been released as to whether any of the building can be salvaged after sustaining extensive fire and water damage.

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