Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 59 some new snow but not a lot

We had been hoping for snow over night but no chance. Looking out of the window following a midnight pee I noticed that the whole of the Lizard range was glowing under a full moon which looked very pretty but gave the clear indication that there was no cloud and therefore no new snow.

At the hill the conditions were ..... to be continued......... Being continued but now after a hot tub, lot`s more beer and some whiskey, bad Rob and Katie for coming round and forcing me to this.

The hill was overcast as we arrived and showed signs of snow. During the day the temps rose to -1 and eventually the snow set in but very light and has continued ever since so we have to hope for something a bit stiffer tonight or all we will end up with is dust on crust.

Tried the old side and found it not as good as yesterday. The snow seemed to have chunked up so Cedar ridge, King fir , Gorby bowl, Steep and Deep and Redtree were all sort of hard work all the way down with the need to keep your eyes on what the skis were doing or they would try and get away from you. Boomerang and Bear chutes were in ok shape but again you had to watch the surface which could be very stiff in places. As always returned through an icey and ugly Kangaroo 5 times which as have said before was challenging and as such was great fun.

In the afternoon hit the New side and spent our time heading out further and further into Surprise Trees to get fresh snow. To our amazement we found some untracked in the trees but by that time we were almost out as far as Diamond Back, but by this stage any fresh counts.

Anaconda was in better shape than you might expect and Bootleg was tracked out but ok. Linking up with my Aussie mates on their last day we did a bit more out in the boonies in Surprise then headed out on the County Line, hike Cornice chute which was quite good then took the traverse out to Cougar Glades. By dropping the Glades in a sort of fall line track near the trees there was still plenty of good stuff most of the way down but your judgement had to be pretty good. Lower part was scratchy but not as bad as the last two days.

With the Snow Dreams Party at the Griz we hit Corner Pocket for some quiet beers and managed to put away quite a few. Still light snow so see what the morning holds.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 58 Another short day

And the reason for the short day was that I had to drive down to Calgary to pick up a visiting buddy. Strange that I am only going to do two pick ups from Calgary this year and one was Monday and the other today. Looking on the bright side we still haven't had any new snow so if there is a good time to miss half a day's skiing this is it.

As I said, no new snow, base down to 207 cms temps starting at -6 and rising to -1 and the hill pretty socked in at the top and clearing a bit during the morning.

Decided to make the most of the Old side and started with a trip down the new lift line into Cedar bowl then Gully and Gulch. Snow was actually much better than I thought it would be, tracked but some fresh stuff close to the trees. Kangaroo was ( surprise, surprise) hard, bumpy and icey and as a result lots of fun.

After that tried Cedar Ridge, Steep and Deep, Gorby bowl and Snake ridge. Each time completed the loop through Kangaroo and Boom bowl. Just like the first runs the snow was ok on top, scratchy at the bottom and really icey in Kangaroo.

Didn't take too many loops to get to midday and time to head off. In summary rather better conditions than we had a right to expect given the lack of snow. The whole hill is covered with something you can ski on so at least we should be grateful.

Flurries and light snow in the forcast so maybe this is the beginning of a new weather system to replace the current drought.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 57 Back to the New Side

So with no new snow (despite what the official website says we are in the middle of a snow drought and skiing all over the hill is scratchy at the best) I thought it might be fun to hit the New side just to see what was happening as I hadn't been there for two days.

Temps were starting at about -8 getting up to -1 by the close. The mid mountain base was 208 cms and falling and the weather overcast with the top of White Pass seriously socked in all day. Not the best of conditions.

We kicked around on White Pass trying to find something good and in the end the only untracked and reasonably good stuff we could find was on the very far side of Surprise Trees which were not really "runs" but just drops through the trees any old way you could find down to Trespass Trail. The only ones who had been in there before us judging by the tracks were the rabbits ( snow shoe hares actually) so as long as you stayed tight to the trees there was fresh snow.

We mixed up the runs with Anaconda/Bootleg ( as always good snow but far from untracked) Concussion on the far side ( quite hard and scratchy all the way down) and a hike up Cornice chute but dropping back into Currie bowl rather than going over to Lizard ( firm but taking a nice edge and quite relaxing skiing.

At lunch got reports that there was nothing much to get excited about on the Old side so we went back to the New and did much the same as the morning. Only variations were Big Bang via Lazy Locals traverse which was firm but fun if you hit some of the jumps and drops that are starting to form and Cougar Glades which were good in the top as long as you stayed tight to the trees and icey at the bottom.

More snow is called for and don't we need it. If you are interested in riding all over the hill then what we have at the moment could at best be described as marginal. Off to Calgary again tomorow to pick up another ski buddy who is staying for the week. When you own a house in Fernie you would be amazed how many friends you have - I have friends I don't even know. This week it's my wife's cousin's wife's brother, see what I mean. Actually Dave's a good guy and we are pleased to see him.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 56 Old Side rules

Overnight temps had dropped so it was a start at -13. Got to the hill for a bluebird day - stayed all day and quite literally didn't see a cloud in the sky all day. Temps were meant to get up but didn't get much above -7 at mid mountain but viz was good. No new snow so the base is down to 210cms and we are looking all over to try and find some soft stuff in this snow drought. Needless to say the official web site is announcing "great skiing all a over the resort" - I would like to take the guy who wrote that for a few trips down Kangaroo and see if he would like to revise his opinion.

Went to the Old side and had a re run of yesterday droping Cedar ridge many ways and alternately looping out to Snake ridge/Redtree area. These areas did have tracked but ok snow with a hoare frost covering which gave it a sort of fluffy appearance. Top of Gorby bowl was particularly nice due to the low traffic caused by there not being an obvious way out when you look in from the top - a left/right shuffle in the middle gets over the problem.

At lunch bumped into a buddy who said the New side wasn't up to much so spent the afternoon re doing the morning routine but with more emphasis on Snake ridge, anywhere from Redtree to Snake main. The surface seemed to get a bit more icey as the afternoon wore on which as there was no traffic ( we didn't see anyone out beyond Trillium all day) didn't make much sense. Of course return was usually via Kangaroo which was skied 8 times and just got uglier each time it was skied. Lynda now over her jet lag skied all day, nice to be back to normal.

Both of us bought new helmets. While we were riding the lift yesterday with a buddy from the patrol (Tyler) he raised the point that he had been meaning to mention that our helmets were well past their safety expiry date and in his professional opinion we should get new ones. I respect Tyler's professional opinion so we used our 25% discount voucher and got two new helmets. People ask me where I stand on the helmet debate, the answer is simple, I don't favour any compulsion it's a matter of personal choice. That having been said I think you would have to be a complete retard to ski the stuff we do without a helmet but there is no law against being a complete retard and if someone wants to smash their brains out on a tree why should I care, I really don't.

Still no snow in the immediate outlook so maybe tomorrow may be a hiking day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 55 Happy Australia Day

So today being Australia day there were no Aussies around when we arrived at the hill mainly because they were out celebrating last night when it was Australia Day in Australia rather than Canada.

It was about -5 at the hill when we arrived and didn't get much above -2 all day, and rather colder at the top. New snow amounted to about 3 cms and the base remained at around 212 cms so as before ok, but not great conditions. Early in the day it was overcast with the tops socked in but this cleared as the day went on so that by afternoon it was a bluebird day.

Lynda was back and as she likes the Old side that's where we went. There was a good covering with the new snow which just refreshed what was already there. A bit like yesterday we looped off Cedar Ridge dropping the new lift line, Gully and Gulch, Ridge left and right and King Fir. The difference was that we alternated out to Snake Ridge trying Redtree, Steep and Deep, Gorby Bowl and Snake Main. All was excellent new snow getting a bit scratchy in lower Gorby and the ski out of Steep and Deep. As always returned through Kangaroo ( still just as ugly and icey) 5 times.

In the afternoon hit the new side and played around up in White Pass and Surprise trees which actually was not as good as the Old side due to all the skier traffic. Dropped Anaconda which as always was excellent deep snow in the tight chutes. After Lynda went home due to jet lag hiked Lone Fir which was ok in the top and excellent down low but very icey and scraped out in the lower sections of the chute itself.

Finished with a hike up Knot chutes and a run out through the second chute, Anaconda ( more tight chutes) and Bootleg trees.

Stacks of beer in the bar followed by wings night at the Pub which was curtailed but us being slung out because they wanted to get on with their stand up night. More beer at home and now an early night.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 54 and there is life on the old side

Woke this morning to find that light snow was just starting in a temp of about -5. There had not been any significant accumulation and by the time the snow fizzled out around lunch time there probably hadn't been much more than 3 or 4 cms even at the deepest point.

Today was a short day as Lynda was due in at Calgary about 4 ( actually the plane arrived about 40 minutes early !!) so I had to leave the hill around midday in order to make it on time - 10 minutes late actually but who's counting.

I decided to try the Old Side if for no other reason that I couldn't remember the last time I skied there and found that it was pretty much ok. Spent the morning alternating dropping off various parts of Cedar Ridge ( Gully and Gulch, King Fir, ridge right, ridge left etc,) and coming back direct to Boomerang via Boom bowl or Lynda's or Bear chutes. The snow was nice and soft most of the way down and with a light new covering the skiing was very good without ever getting up to the level of awesome.

From the top of Haul Back T bar went down to Boom chair every time ( 5 in all ) via Kangaroo which predictably was icey, bumpy, stumpy and rutted which was excellent challenging skiing. At the top on one run I heard a woman telling her group that Kangaroo was the worse run on the hill and had to intervene to defend on of my favourite runs. The truth is that if you find yourself at the top of the Haul Back what are your choices, Lower North Ridge ( wide open boring groomer) Lower Lynda's ( less boring but still an easy groomer) Wallaby ( ok ish groomer with boring ski out) or the Roo ( tough, challenging, technical and physically demanding) in my view it's a no brainer.

Picked up Lynda but was 10 minutes late due to Air Canada coming in 40 minutes early, what's that all about ? Long journey back due to the Deerfoot trail southbound being blocked by a pretty ugly crash. Things getting back to normal and of course preparing for Australia Day tomorrow.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 53 hard to remember

And the reason that it is hard to remember, having had a few beers in the Griz followed by several more beers in the hot tub at home, followed by a few more beers it's all a bit hazy. That having been said I will try and get my act together and remember what happened today.

Going to the hill it was overcast and -7 and to be fair it probably only got up to about -3 at base all day long and colder on top. Amazingly there was some very light flurrie activity that came and went all day maybe giving up 2 or 3 coms of fresh but however you looked at it then it was good old fashioned dust on crust.

New side remained the choice and later reports from the Old side just confirmed that this was a good call. A few loops up White Pass including Surprise Trees a couple of times and some of the drop offs under the lift got the legs warm and with the light fairly socked in the fresh ( such as it was) was mostly unskied.

Linked up with some weekend buddies from Calgary who were interested in seeing my world so we hit hard out into Surprise still finding freshish snow before dropping Anaconda the hard way which was nicely refreshed and the trees before Bootleg which they had never tried. A final run through Cougar Glades which are still ok in many places then went for an early lunch.

In the afternoon started hitting the County Line and found exactly what we have found since I can remember - good snow on top with untracked in trees and very scratchy down the bottom although getting better with the dust on crust. Did the Brain twice which verged on the awesome at the top although sliding through the trees at the bottom on sheet ice was a bit technical. Secret Chutes and Spinal Tap fitted the pattern with the lower part of Spinal Tap very icey but this was nothing compared Decline and Window chutes where the skiing in the trees off to the left of Decline was untracked and perfect, the log drop off getting on for 7 ft at the steepest point and the ski out through the stream bed sheet ice and ugly as a bears ass.

Some where in there hiked Lazy Locals and had nice runs through Big Bang, Mitchy Chutes and numerous links to White Pass via lift line. Finished the day with a drop into Stag Leap which (wait for it) was great free riding for about three quarters then refrozen crud - actually quite an enjoyable challenge. Must have skied more runs than just those listed but nothing sticks in the mind, I guess they are right and beer does kill brain cells.

In summary much better than we are entitled to expect considering the snow drought we have been suffering. No significant snow in the out look but I am driving to Calgary Airport tomorrow afternoon to pick up Lynda and whenever I drive to Calgary it always snows so fingers crossed.