Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day 13 and if you can't see it you can't ski it

And it all started so well today. Cold overnight at -23 and 7 cms of fresh pushing the base to 140 cms. Of course at that temp the snow had almost zero moisture content so whilst it gave a nice looking cover it was really to light to give good cover you could float on.

Went to the hill via Top Shelf who were doing a job on my boots overnight due to early season damage to buckles. As always they did an excellent job. Decided to try the old side partly because we hadn't been there for a couple of days and partly because with the light snow and mist visibility was going to be a problem.

The top of Cedar was closed for avi control but the face below Bear Chair down to Alpine Way (not sure it has a name) was open with untracked snow. Spent the morning looping off the top of Boomerang into Cedar using various routes which were mostly little or untracked. The trouble with the old side is that it still has the hard rain crust base. Where this is well covered no problem but there are plenty of places where it pokes through and the light dusting of snow on top means that you can never be sure whether or not you are turning on powder or ice. More that once I accelerated out of a turn in the back seat as a result and then had to bang out two more quick turns to avoid twigs before repeating again - very tough conditions.

After a late morning break we went out and found that conditions had changed. Warm air must have moved in over the top of the cold so we were getting very wet light snow that froze on contact. This wouldn't have been a problem except for goggles which iced within a few minutes. Everyone had their own way of dealing with this, I removed the goggles at the bottom of each chair and stuffed them inside my jacket to melt the ice then put them on at the top. It was a pain and even then you could only see a couple of minutes before we were totally iced again.

Things got worse and by 2:30 we had enough and called it a day and we were some of the last on the hill. General comment was that it was about time we had some days skiing that didn't involve a tough unpredictable base, temps in the minus 20's or no visability, it has been a brutal start to the season every day for a different reason. The ice was forming on the road in a temp of -12 as we drove home and once again I was glad of good winter tyres.

The outlook is for a load of snow in the next 24 hours then temps coming up to about zero for the next few days. Looks like we could get our wish about the end of brutal skiing. Off to wings night at the pub but will make it an early night as tomorrow could be a maximum powder day.

1 comment:

  1. Coming out of turns in the back seat, having mid morning breaks, finishing at 2.30 and going to the pub having already been in the pub all sounds very Irish to me! I like it!