Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Day 131 So long and thanks for all the fish

Those fans of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will recognise tonight's quote as being what the dolphins said just before they left the earth as it was about to be destroyed. Well in my case it is what I say on my last day of skiing this season.

On the way back from the gym today it was +4 and was +3 as I turned into parking lot 2. The hill claimed 2 cms of fresh snow overnight but the they claimed a reduction in the snow base of over 100 cms at 277 cms so I guess we can could take both of those figures with a pinch of salt. In truth the base hadn't reduced and we hadn't had any new snow as far as I could see. It was +8 as we drove away from the hill so it looked like things just got warmer as the day wore on.

The weather today was the biggest mixed bag of the season. We started with some sun which became cloudy the we got snow/grauppel showers late morning. After lunch we came out to find that it was raining on the lower mountain and so we came down to change into water proof gear. Predictably as soon as we changed so did the weather and we ended the day with sun but occasional grauppel showers - it was hard to find a description for today's weather.

We went to The Old Side (that's a joke by the way) and even though it was plus temps the skiing surfaces were quite firm and just down right icy in places. After a while thing started to soften and we got to thinking about getting away from the Groomers on Bear, Arrow, China Wall and Lower Ballet and tried Sun Up which was a hard crusty experience.

Cruiser was good skiing and Lower Cedar Centre had been groomed after a fashion. It was at this stage we tried our first run down Kangaroo and found it better than expected with a softening surface on a hard base. The rest of the morning we spent looping Boom Ridge, Boomerang, Cedar Ridge and Kangaroo which all were variable crust but got better at the surfaces softened.

After an awesome final visit to Big Bang Bagels for lunch we spent the afternoon doing pretty much what we had been doing all morning. The soft snow in Boomerang and Lower Kangaroo were particularly good fun as you could just throw down slow motion GS turns in the mush and let things run. The only new experience was dropping Bear Cave Chutes which were very heavy and untracked but huge fun.

By the end of the day we found ourselves at the top of the Bear in pleasant sunshine and had a gentle swing down to base as our final run of an awesome season. A few friends joined me in the Griz for beers (today was an honorary Sunday) and we had a great final session.

And so that ended an awesome season with 4 days still to go. The full season report will follow in a few days time with some thoughts of my own on the circumstances which interrupted the blog early in the season so watch this space.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Day 130 One more day to go

Yes, tomorrow will be my last day of the season so I have declared it an honorary Sunday and will have a couple of beers to celebrate the occasion so the blog might not be quite up to snuff. A lot of people have expressed surprise that I am not skiing right through to closing day on Sunday and are almost shocked that I won't have a 100% record. I think those people don't really understand why I ski every day, they think I am trying to prove something or get kudos for skiing every day, or set some kind of record. The truth is that I do it because I enjoy it and if I have to miss a few days because I am flying out on Saturday and need a couple of days to get sorted that is no big deal to me and shouldn't be for anyone else.

On the way back from the gym this morning it was -1 which was not good news. It meant that all of yesterdays chopped up mashed potato would have frozen solid and been all but unskiable until it softened. There was no new snow overnight and when we got to the hill it was as anticipated hard and icy even on the groomers. The only new terrain that was opened was the top of Cedar Bowl so that we had Cruiser groomed and lower Cedar Centre which was not.

It was overcast but with the very odd flash of sun and although it threatened precip we stayed dry until the very last runs of the day when we did have some light drizzle. Temps rose giving slow atmospheric warming so that the hard frozen surfaces did not become skiable until much later in the day than yesterday. As we drove away from the hill tonight it was +5 so eventually everything did get soft.

We spent a lot of the morning looping around the Old Side on groomers waiting for things to soften. Those loops included Bear, Arrow, North Ridge, Cruiser and Cedar Trail. The groomers started to soften but still with a hard base so we tried Kangaroo and found it hard and icy in many places but showing some signs of softening so we tried it again and it was a bit better. I did try Boomerang Ridge and found it was still too chunky to be enjoyable skiing so we went for an early lunch via Boomerang which was ok in the high skier traffic areas but pretty tough in the refrozen mashed potato.

Lynda left at lunchtime to go swimming and I anticipated a gentle afternoon trying some of the ungroomed skiing. Unfortunately I bumped into some buddies who were in the mood to rip and so we did mainly with loops in Cedar Bowl dropping Cruiser and then the ungroomed (and mostly untracked) Lower Cedar Centre which by this time had become very soft but with a light crust. We also hit Boom Ridge which was almost isothermic and Boom Bowl which has softened to about ok. Exits were always through Kangaroo which has softened on a hard base and ironically was probably the best skiing off the groomers to be had today.

Late in the day I checked to see that we couldn't side step up into the Big 3 (we couldn't as the Easter sign Line was down) and with that option closed took a final rip from Bear Top to Base and called it a day. It was quiet in the Griz tonight but what we lacked in quantity we made up for in quality.

We had the final wings night at the Pub and said goodbye to good friends for the summer. It was raining hard in town and the final day may not be quite the champagne ending to the season that we had hoped for. As a matter of interest to all those who are muttering about closing when we have a base of 380 cms in 2011 we closed with a base of 452 cms on 15th April with a temp of -2 and 4 cms of powder over night so we have been here before.