Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 31 and it's the 2 metre party

It snowed overnight but during the night it turned to rain on the deck and the temp came up to about +1. The rain line was only just above the base on the hill and 22 cms of fresh quite heavy snow had come down over night giving a base of 202 cms so tonight was the 2 metre party.

As you would expect in these conditions we hit the new side to stay high and get the best snow. Even with this as a tactic the snow was quite heavy and creamy but skied well and when chopped up stayed in good shape probably because the temps stayed just below zero at the top.

It was a classic new side opening with first only Highline/ Heartland opened so that's what we skied. Next the I bowl opened so we could get across to Surprise Trees and had three excellent laps going further into the chutes to get untracked snow each time. For the whole of the day it was real hero snow so you could just push your skis in the fall line then bang out some tight turns.

As always next on the agenda was Anaconda which we looped twice taking the tight chutes due to the conditions and exiting via Bootleg Glades which had also filled up with good snow.

Finally they opened Currie with the low traverse out the Skydive. Spent the whole of the day looping out into Skydive, Stage Leap, Decline and Cougar glades. All good and not tracked out much in the early stages. Got first tracks in a top to bottom rip of Cougar which was awesome.

Didn't have a break of any kind and spent the aftenoon in a bit of the hill I haven't skied all that much. Started dropping off Decline to the left into the trees and just finding a way down through the terrain. Depending on how I went I either ended up skiers right of Spinal Tap and had to drop into the stream bed from the right or skiers left of the main window chute and had to jump the log drop off to exit the chute. All untracked even at the end of the day and awesome.

Now we are forecast adays rest and then the next weather cycle hit us Sunday night going into Monday - here we go. No hockey tonight, to much to drink and too knackered.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Day 30 still looking pretty good

The best thing about day 30 is that the average daily cost of skiing has dropped below 30 bucks a day which has to be good news. It snowed overnight at temps of about-12 giving up 19 cms in the last 24 hours and this pushed the snow base to 188cms, won't be long before we have the 2 metre party.

Arrived at the hill and decided to hit the New side as it had been so good at close yesterday. The new snow had freshened up everything so a chase for fresh tracks was on. Cougar Glades was a great start followed by Mitchy chutes and then far side of Surprise Trees all first tracks and great.

The whole of the rest of the day was spent looping the New side to the base via such places as Anaconda Glades ( steep, deep and awesome) Sykdive ( face shots all the way down) Lone Fir ( a bit of a hike but loads of deep fresh snow and sloughs that could wipe you out) Secret Chutes ( hardly touched all the way down to Freeway) and the Brain ( mostly unskied this year so thigh deep snow all the way down but loads of hazards) etc, etc.

As usual finished with a rip down Skydive top to bottom which was filling in nicely with the snow which had started to come down hard by the late afternoon. As we rolled acroos the parking lot on the way back from the Griz bar we bumped into a patroller buddy who said they were calling for 15-25 cms tonight which if it is right could point to a really awesome day tomorrow.

Considering it was New Years Day ( Happy New Year) the crowds weren't too bad. A couple of line ups at the bottom and out in the places we were skiing just a few other skiers from time to time, but nothing you could describe as crowds. Currently -3 on the deck and snowing.

Tomorrow's report could be slightly erratic due to a big hockey game against the Nitro's after skiing so the odd glass could be taken.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day 29 and when I say awesome I mean awesome

Well last nights snow sort of fizzled out during the night but as soon as we woke up it started again and just like yesterday it snowed all day. By 10 o'clock the patrol were reporting 5cms of fresh since opening and it kept on coming. Temps started at -12 and got up to about -7 so it was perfect hero snow which just got better as the day went on.

We started on the Old side and just like yesterday did loops off Cedar ridge in the new snow, which as I said got better all the time. King Fir was particularly nice and very deep around the fir itself. Having grabbed fresh tracks for a couple of hours and got a couple of runs through Kangaroo, in my view very nice but I realise I am a minority, we headed for the new side.

On the New side we hiked up to try Mitchy chutes which were deep and pretty well untracked. After that the day just became a series of loops out along the County Line to ski Cougar Glades, Stag Leap, Skydive, Decline and all other runs off the front side. The tops were deep fluffy terrain parks with over the head face shots and the lower sections had repaired to something pretty ok although you needed to be able to take alders like sprung gates.

Half way through the afternoon the higher traverse on the County Line was closed due to loadings up in Polar Peak but you could still get out to the Skydive traverse via the lower line so we did. Started at 9, no lunch, no break and finished at 4 with a mega rip down Skydive by which time we had over the head face shots all the way down.

Considering this is usually the busiest day of the year things weren't so bad. There were some line ups but by going into single lines we never had to wait more than a minute or two all day. If you moved away from the main stream runs as always you tended to find yourself on your own and in any event in a few days time we will have the hill back for ourselves. Seems to have stopped snowing now but it is still -7 with more snow called for so could be another good day tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day 28 and the powder starts again

This morning dawned overcast with some very light snow and a couple of centimetres accumulation over night. The temp had warmed up to about -8 where it stayed all day. The best news was that as we got to the hill the snow started to fall, light at first but getting heavier all day and is still falling this evening.

With the viz socked in we decided to hit the old side today and ski in the trees taking the risk that the new snow would have gone some way towards repairing the lower hill which was so damaged by the rain last week.

We tried an early run or two on the Sunny side shoulder which were good with a dusting of cover but poor light. In view of the light we headed over the Cedar ridge and spent the rest of the morning working our way down the ridge in many of the hundred or so variations through the trees and gullys in ever increasing snow deposits which by lunch time started to amount to what you would call powder ( about 10cms of new).

It got so good that we ( or rather I) decided that it was about time to give Kangaroo a proper try out. Two runs through the roo proved interesting with tough icey bumps at the top, alder growth lower down, a big icey drop off on to Cedar trail and then mixed conditions in the bottom section with two stream beds ( could have been fallen trees, you couldn't tell) on the ski out. On the second run watched a boarder try and straight line off the drop off onto the trail and do a double tomahawk on the way down. Having seen me take a half way cautious line you might have thought he would have done the same but not so. Not too much blood and he seemed about able to get himself down to Boom so I let him get on with it.

In the afternoon did much the same looping the old side into Cedar bowl off various bits of Cedar ridge and got in two more Kangaroos. Some years ago I rember reading an article in a UK ski magazine where a reviewer said that he had visited Fernie and "skied the resort out in a day and a half". I ski pretty hard and reckon I could spend two days just skiing Cedar ridge and not ski all of the possibilities so I would just love to meet the guy who wrote the article.

Back at the house for a hot tub and beer which was great. As I type this it is -6 on the deck and snowing so tommorrow could be a really big powder day.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day 27 and a little more sober today

After last nights excesses we still made the hill by about 9 and found a much warmer day starting at -18 and getting up to -10 by the mid day highs. The conditions were overcast but the very light snow had added a few cms of snow and continued to do so all day. We took the view that the lower old side would not be repaired by the light snow so we decided to hit the new side.

Light wasn't good at the top, in fact it was non existant and it was about an hour before anyone was stupid enough to follow us into the white no mans land of the Gun bowl. We had good skiing in Surprise Trees, and the chutes just before you get there. For a change we hit out to Milky Way trees a couple of times and went straight into Puff trees left which were all nice firm bumps with some dust on top.

Loops to the bottom were via Anaconda and then Bootleg which are both skiing surprising well despite the holiday skier traffic and lack of snow. We also tried Skydive which to no ones surprise was great free riding at the top and very hard work ice crust ( a little less hard work with the new snow) at the bottom. Final run before lunch was through Cougar Glades which were quite heavy but still some quite fresh stuff in the trees. Lower down the ice crust had to be bossed to make for good skiing but subject to that it was ok.

Afternoon was spent looping Surprise, then Anaconda, then up Timber and back to White Pass via lift line. Managed it about 4 times before close each time finding different ways through Surprise and Anaconda where you could still find snow that was soft if not untracked.

Good few beers inthe bar and pased on wing night in view of last nights partying. A quiet night in watching Hockey on TV. As I write this it is -10 on the deck and light snow which the patrol thought wouldn't give up much fresh but who knows.

Day 26 and a short report

The reasons for a short report are twofold. The main one is that the conditions haven't changed. No new snow, a cold bluebird day (-16) the base hard at 167 cms, the lower mountain still icey from last weeks rain and the upper mountain in ok condition but well skied over by the holiday crowds.

The old side was just the same with Boom and Sunny side nice, Boom ridge hard icey bumps and Linda's good at the top and very scratchy at the bottom. The new side was sunny with great packed powder in 1-2-3's, Highline Trees, Gun bowl etc. Anaconda which we looped several times is still in remarkably good shape with some untracked snow to be found if you are prepared to shave the trees pretty close. End of day down Skydive was just like yesterday, awesome at the top and what the patrol describes as "marginal" at the bottom.

The second reason for a short report is that it is Katie's birthday today ( happy 25th Katie) and to celebrate we drank a lot of beer in the Griz, followed by more beer in the pub plus a meal and and then more beer at the Hockey game, Riders beat the Nitros 5-2, go Riders go. End result we are all too wrecked to remember what we did on the hill - better luck tomorrow.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 25 and it's still a bit nippy

The weather forecasters can't seem to get this quite right. They keep calling for about -12 overnight with day time highs of -5 and what actually happens is over nights of about -24 and daytime highs of about -12. This is all a bit fresh and at the moment is certainly keeping the crowds off the hill. Today we didn't really have to line up at any time, in fact I have never seen fewer people on the hill during the Christmas holidays.

Today was another bluebird day starting at -24 and just for the fun of it the Timber Chair broke down and stayed broken down until after 2 this afternoon thus making none of the New Side available for most of the day. Was the RCR response to reduce the price of the day ticket, not exactly, they not only charged full price but also charged the high season premium. Next week they will be debating why visitor numbers are down, any ideas ?

Hit the old side and stayed on the sides of Bear ( now working, hooray), Sunny side shoulder and Boom, only because we needed bumps to keep us warm. Skied Boom ridge 3 times which with icey tight bumps is now skiing much more like the double black rating that it has on trail maps. Went out to Snake ridge that was ok but the ski out along side KC chutes was very scratchy.

In the mid day session we tried Boom and Sunny side which seemed to have some of the best snow. Took the long hike out to the area fence to test Redtree and Steep and Deep but which were rather chunky and not really worth the effort.

After a late lunch we found Timber chair running ( a real wonder) so we hit the new side. Looped Anaconda and then dropped Bootleg glades which were both in surprisingly good condition - well perhaps not that surprising in the case of Anaconda which does seem to frighten off quite a few people.

Last run of the day was down Skydive which was great. A very significant hoare frost seems to have softened up the surface at the top and even at the bottom the conditions were now almost skiable in most peoples terms.

Loads to drink in the Griz afterwards and now back at home drinking wine and watching the Sound Of Music on TV, perfect.