Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day 118 wild, wild weather

And when I say wild, wild weather I mean wild, wild weather.

We woke up this morning to rain and deck temps of about +1. While we were getting ready to go to the hill the rain turned to snow and covered the whole valley floor with a white carpet. By the time we got in the car to set off it was back to rain again.

They were calling 6 cms of fresh overnight when we got to the hill and as it was raining quite hard at the base we headed for the new side. We anticipated a day a bit like two Mondays ago when the snow/rain line moved up the hill until it got above the White Pass base and we all abandoned the hill at 1 o'clock. We were wrong. The snow continued at the top all morning quite heavey and on one of our trips to the base we noticed that the snow line was moving down the hill not up. By lunch time it was snowing off and on at the base and all over the hill and the wind had got up to a point where a couple of trees came down and Timber lift was stopped for a short time. As I said wild, wild weather.

Obviously we weren't going to run to the base in the rain so spent all morning looping White Pass on Surprise Trees and Anaconda glades. It may seem surprising that just two runs would keep up happy all morning but those who know them know that there must be 20 different ways down each of these and in the conditions we had this meant deep untracked snow every run, particularly when we headed right out into the boonies. It is also worth mentioning to the uninitiated that tree skiing in Fernie is not like Europe where it just means a run cut through trees - in Fernie you just ski the ridge line and drop into trees wherever it looks good then ride it hard finding your own line through the trees.

Final run of the morning was Lone Fir. All the chutes on the way there were closed for avi control and even Lone Fir Mandatory had the sign down. Lone Fir itself was the first chute open and hardly anyone had taken the trouble to get out there. The run through the chute and down into Easter was awesome over the head face shots all the way.

The afternoon was a replay except that the winds were sweeping all the snow off Surprise and over the ridge into Anaconda giving the best steep and deep tree skiing of the year. The snow berm on the ridge caused by the wind had grown to chest height which made for some pretty spectacular break throughs.

Last run was Skydive which was again awsome with masses of blow in flattening out the first two thirds of the run. The final third had melted in the morning rain and was setting up in the cooling wing and blowing snow - much more challenging but great fun.

So more on the way, cooler temps and flurries/ showers through to closing day on Sunday, what an end to the season.

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