Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day 8 - It's powder Jim but not as we know it

As usual the radio alarm went off at 7 and announced another day of maximum wind chill. This didn't seem very likely to me as the temp had risen to -11 and whilst the tops of the mountains were a bit socked in it didn't look like a whole lot of wind to me. Add to this that the weather lady said that it was snowing - it wasn't and I didn't have a lot of confidence in the forecast. I think I will have to revive my campaign from last year to encourage weather forecasters to spend less time looking at their computer screens and more time looking out of the window.

Got to the hill and decided to try the new side as it looked a bit milder than it has done and obviously no one had been up there yesterday. At the top it was -16 with quite a fair amount of wind, blowing snow/flurries and low cloud. Despite all this the conditions were very good. There had been a load of blown in snow which at first glance looked like wind crust or lunar landscape but was actually quite soft and the further up you went the more wind sift there was.

Ok, it wasn't powder according to our definition but on the grounds that it was smooth untracked snow and after you skied it you left tracks in it then by the lights of a lot of places this would qualify as powder. Even here it was really good fun.

Spent all morning in White Pass putting different tracks down the Gun bowl then hopping the ridge line into the I bowl and spreading our tracks all across that. Got as far as Surprise Trees by choccy break time which were no better than ok compared with the rest. Came down to base through the lower part of Concussion which was also full of wind sift.

Back up the new side until lunch doing the same then back down this time via Anaconda which was a bit heavy in places. About this time had one of those amazing experiences of light and weather that you get in the mountains. We were socked in but the light then shone on a small patch of Morrisey ridge on the far side of the valley. For a couple of minutes it looked as if this was floating in front of our eyes in the mist near enough to touch. A bit like sun dogs, angel dust etc if you have never been in the high mountains in the winter you wouldn't believe it.

After a very late lunch ripped round the old side and found some, but not as much wind sift improving pretty well everything on that side. Again the wind was blowing but nothing like yesterday.

In the Griz tonight the weather guys from the patrol were saying that the weather event may be coming but not for a couple of days. Laying in the hot tub tonight I could see the stars which is not good if you are hoping for snow. Actually I was looking at the W shaped constellation of Cassiopea. To the Greeks this looked like a woman laying on a sofa - wish I had a bottle of what they were on.

Hockey tomorrow night so it will either be a short report before the game or a drunk report afterwards.

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