Saturday, April 4, 2009

4th April

Day 103 or to be more accurate half day was the start of the big spring melt down.
We got to the hill at about first lift on what turned out to be a perfect bluebird day. The starting temp was -2 but pretty soon temps were getting up to +10 at the base and not much less at the top of the hill.
The trick in these spring conditions is to stay on the groomers at first then start to move on to the off pist areas slowly as they start to soften. If you go too early you end up in a nightmare of crunchy ice, if you get there too late it has all turned to elephant snot and if you get it right then you get ok spring skiing.
We started on the old side and had a quick groomer trip round Cedar Bowl and back. First effort into Boom bowl proved good with unrefrozen snow at the top and a softening trend towards the bottom. Sunny Side shoulder lived up to it's name as the first place to really soften and the trip up on the Bear chair was enlivened by the Pro Patrol bombing the Lizard ridge line and getting some pretty spectacular releases that slid down to the low traverse in Lizard. A trip onto Boom ridge was a tad early and proved very hard work jumping edge to edge on refrozen crud. The only upside was watching all those tempted to give it a try having seen us from the lift - we couldn't have looked that bad. There were some people having a really bad day as a result so I suppose we shouldn't laugh, but we did. The one trip through Kangaroo proved to be ok if a little hard work.
The new side provided less damaged snow so it needed less sun to make it very nice skiing on several runs up a down White pass. A run down Skydive was good at the top but at the bottom was slushy snow in the lower section in the sun and crunchy in the shade - very challenging.
Having seen the patrol ski cutting Polar chutes I assumed that Polar Peak would be open so took a late lunch with the intention of hiking Polar Peak ( about a 40 minute climb for me) then ski the chutes. I was just about to head out with my back country pack ( probe, shovel, drink etc) when I got word from a buddy in the patrol that Polar Peak would not be opening today because of the size of the sloughs from the ski cutting. With everything slush and Saturday crowds I decided to call it a day early and head home.
In town I called in at Ski Base and bought a pair of bindings for my new skis and dropped off the skis and boots to have the bindings mounted. Just about to head down now and pick them up. Have to say that Ski Base are excellent people to deal with and saved $120 at sale prices as well.
Back to the hill tomorrow for more spring skiing.

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