Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 38 the return of Captain Kangaroo

As the heading implies this was an Old Side day during which we looped Kangaroo 8 times so it looks like the old nick name is going to stick again this year.

It was overcast as we got to the hill and temps were ok at about -14 but warmed steadily during the day so that we were at -6 by the close of play. It looked like a good day to play the Old side as the New side was shrouded in cloud and it looked like some pretty severe weather was brewing up there. Even on the old side the wind was whipping up all day with blowing snow on the upper half of the hill and viz pretty erratic.

We spent all morning off Cedar ridge, King Fir, Boom bowl, Linda's run etc. There was a load of blow in at the top of each run so the conditions were quite like powder and as long as you didn't look too closely it felt like a real pow day. Final run before lunch we took the high traverse across Cedar bowl to beyond Snake ridge and splashed down Steep and Deep and out through the right chute into Gorby bowl - all chopped up but filled in and skiing like powder. Always returning through Kangaroo from the top of the Haul Back T bar so 4 times before lunch.

After lunch just looped out to Snake ridge playing in the blow in between Steep and Deep and Redtree. Tried a couple of drops down Snake itself but got hung up in the alders above KC chutes and had to do some serious jumping to get out through the chutes. Again always out through Kangaroo so another 4 times made 8 in all. Also always dropped back through Boom bowl which had so much wind sift in it by the afternoon that it was like wind groomimg so you could almost free ride it top to bottom.

Got home to fine a message on the phone from guest services to say they had my pass. It seems that as the ring is still on my jacket the pass itself must have split and fallen off. Must get to the hill early tomorrow to get this sorted.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day 37 Groundhog Day

Well of course it isn't really Groundhog day as that isn't until February 2nd but it kind of felt like it from our point of view with today pretty much like the last two. Oh, and the heading on yesterday's blog referred to the fact that after 36 days the average cost of skiing drops to 25 bucks a day which is one of my milestones of the season.

Today was bit warmer starting at -18 but again staying quite cold all day. Off and on we had a bit of cloud and the light was a little variable but that was just the leading edge of the new weather system coming in from the west. In the next few days a new weather system is working it's way in from the coast and should bring temps up to plus figures and with loads of moisture with it. Our hope is that the the two systems clash over the Elk Valley and we get the snow dump, a good plan but as always we run the risk of the R word as the temps rise.

Spent the morning on the Old side in all the usual places, Boom, Cedar Ridge etc and took three trips through Kangaroo to keep warm. After early choccy break we spent our time up in White Pass and found nice skiing in the Gun bowl, Highline trees and Surprise trees finishing off with a run through Cougar Glades left side which still had many untracked lines.

After lunch, taking the hint from the earlier session we spent our time looping Cougar Glades finding many different ways down all of which were deep and at least hlf untracked. For a change we took the odd loop through Anaconda Glades which had stacks of blow in and Bootleg Glades which remained in pretty good shape.

As always a final rip down Skydive which is now very bumpy at the top and getting a bit tracked out lower down but still some very interesting if a bit technical in places.

A good night in the Griz and now off to the Hockey, the Nitros again so go Riders go. High light of the day was a porcupine coming out to play on Boom Ridge which is quite unusual as they are usually nocturnal.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 36 and 25 bucks is a pretty good price for a days skiing

Well with the Arctic high in it was a starting temp on the deck of -29 and a trip to the Best Western to drop Steve and Liz off for their flight back to the UK, haven't heard from them so assume everything went ok.

By the time I got to the hill ( no we as Lynda was taking a day off to sort out the house) it had "warmed" to -27 and it remained sunny all day with day end temps of -22 so by any definition a cold day.

Spent the morning on the old side where the snow remained quite heavy but very nice in the Sunny side shoulder. Cedar ridge and King Fir were very unpredictable ranging from soft powder to ice. Three trips through Kangaroo were just as tough as you might expect but that's what Kangaroo is all about. Boom bowl was hard work with quite large bumps and the only downsdie was that Boom ridge had been groomed for the second time this season which is unforgivable vandalism of a tough bump run.

Later on the New side I found Stag Leap pretty tough but quite enjoyable. Cougar glades once again proved run of the day with deep soft powder in the tighter parts of the tree. Later still Secret Chutes and aright cut into Spinal Tap proved to be both challenging and enjoyable. As always the final rip down Skydive was awesome but hardest work for several days.

Good few beers in the bar and ready for an early night. Outlook for one more day of cold then maybe some more precip.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 35 back in the freezer

The day started with a call from Inghams to Steve and Liz to tell them that due to what we would describe as a dusting of snow in the UK all flights from Gatwick were cancelled and they would have to stay for an extra day. Didn't take long to unpack the ski gear and head off to the hill for them to enjoy a bonus day.

In the event it proved to be pretty tough days skiing. The temp on the deck when we got up was -22 and as it was an Arctic High ( clear blue skies with no cloud) it didn't warm up much during the day. We went to the New side where it quickly became apparent that there had been significant wind up top during the night and we were going to have a day skiing "legendary" wind slab.

The slab was more or less everywhere and you really had to either ski on top or use a lot of strength to break through and ski it like powder. Not being really sure what to try we started kicking out along the County Line and dropping into Currie chutes where ever looked lightly skied and fun skiing.

The result was that we dropped three different ways into Concussion, Toms, Tekkers, Cornice chute and about a half a dozen other ways down there that either don't have a name or are a combination of various bits of the hill. By lunch time we had skied pretty well all the Currie chutes area although not all the available runs and chutes as that would take about three days to do properly. As long as you hugged the sides there was some nice fresh and quite deep stuff to ski.

In the afternoon drifted out on the County Line again and this time dropped through Corner Pocket which was in remarkably good shape considering the traffic through there with only one tire showing and the middle section a bit technical. Next Cougar glades hitting left into the bottom chutes which were in really great shape presumably because the trees had kept the wind off the snow. Finally a rip down Skydive which was far more challenging than usual with the snow quite heavy and it required real skiing of the terrain rather than just free riding in order to get down.

Quiet night in with another cold tough day to come tomorrrow.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 34 and more snow

Last night we had about 10 cms pushing the base to 220 cms. As forecast the snow continued off and on during the day with a particularly strong flurry just before close. The temp dropped all day so that by the afternoon at the top it was only -12 and with an Arctic high due to sit on us for a couple of days the temps are likely to drop more but with clear skys and bluebird days but let's see.

We have had Steve and Liz staying with us this week and today was their last day so we will be off soon for a meal down at Rip'n'Richards and they wanted to ski all the good stuff on the new side so who were we to argue.

With so few people on the hill and many of them vacation skiers there was no real competion for the fresh powder and hitting out across the County Line we found fresh track in Skydive, then Stag Leap, then Decline and finally Cougar Glades. In the glades we tried going left at the bottom and found a whole new area with more virt and deep tight tree skiing all the way down.

Other highlights of the day were dropping into Window chutes and finding the log drop in the middle is now up to about 7 foot and growing so big air by any standards. We took several runs in the trees just to the right of Stag Leap which may technically be the left side of Cougar Glades or may just be some un named trees. The attraction was that the snow was deep and untracked so that the trees even though tight could be taken in a continuous run top to bottom.

Finished with the usual rip down Skydive which still had some untracked lines even at the end of the day. Still plenty of untracked snow that will still be around if you know where to look.

Off for a beer with the temp below -14 and the skies clear at least for the time being.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 33 - still pretty good

And another 12 cms overnight which repaired the hill pretty well with a base of about 215 cms which is great for this time of year. Not a very good report due to showing a Brit guy from Non Stop ski around at the end of the day and he insisting on buying us beer.

Where was I, oh yes, 12 cms over night so we hit the old side in not very good light. Took a run through Cedar then Kangaroo ( like a groomer) but decided that the new side might be better. rried to get there and found that Timber lift was down foe half an hour - nice one RCR.

Skied around the old side on Cedar ridge, King Fir and the Bear chutes which meant 2 more runs through Kangaroo. With all the crowds gone back to Calgary and new snow the hill was great with fresh tracks in almost every run.

When we eventually got to the old side we found that the saddles were open as was the high County Line traverse. Corner Pocket skied like a groomer as did all the saddles. Working on the basis that things had been closed we hiked Cornice chute and dropped Lone Fir which was very very deep. We then tracked further into Trap Meadow ( an even steeper and tighter chute than Lone Fir which is itself rated double black diamond) and then swung right into Spinal Tap which was pretty interesting as you would expect from a stream bed.

PM we dropped Siberia ridge and hit the trees right after the gnarly mid section. Not a great call due to the amount of timber on the ground but we got down in quite deep snow. Spent the rest of the afternoon looping off the front side ( Stag Leap etc) and of course finished with a rip down Skydive.

Great day, too much beer, still snowing, -3.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 32 and it just keeps on coming

Woke up this morning to another 12 cms of fresh to the snow report time of 5 am and it had snowed some since then. The base was quoted as 210 cms which seems about right. As it was only about -1 as we got to the hill it looked like another new side day.

Everything was open and as the holiday period is winding up there were a load less people on the hill today as crowds headed back up Highway 22 to Calgary. Cut first tracks out to Surprise Trees and had a great untracked run through to the bottom. Next stop was an untracked run through Cougar which was also untracked and pretty awesome.

Spent the rest of the morning adventuring through Secret Chutes (awesome) Spinal Tap ( Great but still a bit technical in the middle section) Window Chutes ( the jump off the log in the middle is still about 2 metres but lots of soft snow to land on and the Brain ( very deep and un skied but you still have to get right before the stream bed gets un crossable) plus all the usual suspects in Currie Chutes. The only let down was to hike Lone Fir only to find it closed for avi on the Lizard side so we had to drop back into the top of an untracked Barraccuda, which wasn't all bad.

After a great lunch at Big Bang Bagel ( in Snow Creek Lodge) really good and good value, we went adventuring. Dropped Siberia ridge that was mostly untracked but dropped off left to Deseise Trees which were totally untracked but with loads of difficult ground cover which meant a lot of time spent jumping off log piles. Tried the trees just right of Stag Leap and found them deep, steep, untracked and very tight, best skiing on the hill.

Finished with a rip down Skydive which was a bit tracked up but still some graet skiing if you kept your speed up.

Maybe more snow overnight, who knows.