Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 66 Happy Waitangi Day

Waitangi Day is of course the Kiwi answer the Australia day and the Kiwis go out of their way to show that they can drink just as much as the Aussies. Result - lack of sober kiwi lifties around the hill all day.

Today was also the junior freeski competition on Big Bang ( completing tomorrow on Concussion) so as I didn't want to share the hill with about 100 park rats plus their supporters I decided to have a good old fashioned Old Side day.

The base stayed at about 210 cms with no new snow, temps were about zero ar the base and -4 at the top and conditions were overcast with a promise of light snow which never really materialised. The result was socked in conditions at the top of Bear which only lifted by late afternoon. Even if I had wanted to ski the New side I doubt that the the juice would have been worth the squeeze for a Polar Peak hike today.

Started with a trip down the Sunnyside should and straight away it was apparent that things had changed. The chunky snow of the last two days had been dried out and was now quite light so that in the high skier traffic areas you had soft bumps and in the more untracked areas something that felt like ( but wasn't quite) powder. This set the pattern for the whole day where the snow was much better than we had a right to expect everywhere we went and so we had a very nice day's skiing despite the lack of new snow.

We tried Cedar Ridge several ways the best of which was left then straight down through the trees. This gave some great terrain for hocking ( see I have the new school jargon) off the bumps and drop offs. King Fir and Linda's were both much better than we expected and the tracked snow in both felt like pow at times.

Deciding to go further afield we took Boomerang and Bear chutes several times back to Bear chair then hit out onto Snake Ridge trying Redtree, Steep and Deep and Gorby bowl all of which were much improved and very nice if not awesome skiing. Of course return was always through Kangaroo which we hit 6 times. Interestingly 3 out of the 6 times Kangaroo was cluttered up by some skiers having the worst day of their life having been lured in there by the single black diamond status given to what is now ( with the big icey bumps) probably one of the toughest runs on the hill.

Somewhere in there we took a trip down Boomerang Ridge which hasn't been groomed for several days and is now starting to look a bit more like it's normal self with steep icey bumps, lets hope it stays that way.

Very late lunch to avoid the lunch time crowds in the day lodge left only time for a couple of runs out to Snake in the afternoon. Steep and Deep both times was pretty good and at the end of the day there was just time for a final loop in King Fir followed by a rip down Boomerang then Buck shot and out along the Cedar trail.

As it was a Saturday night the Griz bar was too crowded and noisy for civilised conversation so we went to Corner Pocket which is rapidly becoming my favourite Saturday night drinking spot. Now a quiet night in.

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