Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 80 Eleven bucks a day !!

Yes, today was day 80 so the average cost of skiing has dropped to 11 bucks a day and still falling with each day skied.

It was colder than usual overnight and dawned at -8 with a forecast of a bluebird day and highs of plus temps at the bottom and just minus at the top - all of which proved to be about right. I worked on the basis that as they had opened Polar Peak for the free ski competition yesterday and it had moved to the Lizard headwall today then Polar peak would be open for hiking and this proved correct.

A buddy of mine from the ski patrol pointed out that as pretty well all the free skiers had hit the top rock band on a right to left jump they had left the skiers right chute ( polar bear) untracked. This was right and after a hike up I had polar bear more or less untracked to myself.

To tell the full story we had a few loops first in White Pass and found the overnight cool down had left the hill very hard with challenging conditions such as hard bumps all over the place. After this hiking Polar Peak to find fresh, untracked but not totally deep snow was ok.

Things were so good that I hiked Polar Peak again, each time droping back through Concussion and generally having a great time. Then went for a not so quick lunch for a rest.

In the afternoon went to Polar peak for the third time. It seems to me that hiking Polar peak three times in a day is about my limit - maybe 4 times before the season is out but not yet. The last run was as good as the first and by hitting the right shoulder in chutes that I don't even have a name for found great fresh snow even at the end of the day.

After all that hiking had just enough energy for one last drop through Skydive to finish which is getting a bit hard and testing but then thats why we ski it. As it is the last day for our Irish guests we have been having a bit of a party with friends first at the hill then back at the house - getting ugly but what can you do ?

Sorry I can't give much of a view of what was happening over most of the hill but my feeling was that it was hard and quite ugly. This was the reason for all the hiking and in the final analysis I can only comment on the snow that I actually put under my skis. If you need more just check out the official site which I am sure will say that we had "great skiing and riding all over the resort ......." etc.

Day 79 Business as usual

Thanks to Fiachra for his enlightening report of last night, and now back to business as usual. The temps overnight were a bit colder at -5 with no new snow so the base stayed at around 225 cms. forecast was for a sun cloud mix which was just about right with temps in the direct sun at the base getting up to +7 but in upper mountain cloud staying well below zero.

Went to the new side which seemed to have bumped up a bit from skier taffic. Had a good morning looping around White pass and trying not so tough stuff like Milky Way Trees, Puff Tres left, the Gun bowl, Surprise Trees etc. Hiked the Knot chutes which had developed a bit of a sun crust and so were ok but not as good as I thought they would be. Did a few more loops through Surprise before dropping into Currie to look at the Free ski competition which was taking place off Polar Peak and into the Polar chutes.

After watching the Free ski competitors demonstrate just how much more there is to this sport looped down through Concussion twice right up to the fence for the competition area which was soft, steep and good fun but with a couple of rocks starting to show through. Finished the morning with a hike into Mitchy chutes which were nice and soft at the top but a bit scratchy lower down, then a rip through 1-2-3s which was good all the way down and a very nice finish through Bootlegs glades.

In the afternoon we went to the old side if only because the Free ski had cut off most of the best skiing across the County Line and into Currie chutes. We had hoped for softening conditions but with increased cloud cover what we found was conditions underfoot very firm and setting up as it cooled. A trip out to Gorby bowl and Steep and Deep just went to prove that the conditions were getting appreciably tougher and the only way down was to let the skis run fast over the crud to stay on top and jump every turn to make sure you landed a secure platform in each check.

Cedar ridge and King Fir were much better as north facing slopes they didn't have the sun crust and there didn't seem to have been much skier traffic leaving a fair amount of soft tracked snow. This gave 3 runs through Kangaroo which was boiler plate icey bumps all the way down all the time it was skied - a bit challenging.

The last run through Boomerang was ok but the bumps are starting to get some steep edges and have to be watched. Looks like tomorrow Polar Peak will be open to the public so no prizes for guessing where I will be tomorrow.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 78 a new reporting team

Today as usual dawned at just below zero with valley cloud and sun on top. We went to the hill and found that it was snowing valley snow, a condition that usually doesn't last that long but today lasted for 4 hours and must have added at least 3 cms to the base. With uncertain viz we hit the old side. Hereafter my Irish guests have asked to be allowed to do todays report - enjoy...

What really happened was as follows. Today dawned, like every other day, in the pitch dark, in the upper bunk, listening to Simon snoring through the wall. (with Bill's background accompaniment from the other end of the house). We had put on a few last night watching the hockey "game" (No offence to anyone from Golden reading this blog but, guys, that was bad!). Those of us capable of movement dressed and followed the Handleys to the hill. We went right outside the locker rooms, which is known as the "Old side". This Side has the advantage that the lifts are shorter so you haven,t completely frozen to death by the time you get to the top.
We first skiied somewhere called 'Bear".( The name will give you a clue what thats like). Then we moved to "Sunny side" which is basically a cliff covered in big blocks of chopped up ice. After that it all got a bit blurred. We skiied lots of places you will have read about elsewhere in this blog but had no idea where we were. I do remember jumping off a cliff somewhere on the basis of Bill's shout from below about "lovely snow" and noticing parents sheilding their children's eyes from the horror that was unfolding. Nobody was badly hurt although I experienced great pain sliding down a sheet of ice called Kangaroo ( presumably in reference to all the antipodeans who seem to run this resort) and eventually we were allowed to stop for a ten minute lunch before going back up again. There was snow everywhere and more of it falling out of the sky. They tend to have a lot of it here, although the locals (and temporary resident Brits) complain if it doesn't chuck down all day. We eventually escaped on the basis that we promised to cook dinner.

In fairness, if you like near death experiences, enjoy good food, great company, stunning scenery and the best skiing in the world spend a week in the Rockies with the Handleys. We have been doing it for six years and keep coming back.

Sorry if this didn tell you much about the hill today but, if you need to know, email Bill and he will fill you in. Feck it! we built this blog, we have the right to mess it up at least once!

Day 77 what happened - I can't remember

I am writing this blog last thing at night having been to the first of the play offs for the hockey league. The game was a bit like the weather, strange, it didn't feel much like play off hockey as the teams were fast but without much passion. The Riders won 7-0 and there was only one fight worth mentioning and it was almost as if Golden had given up, hope the rest of this best of seven series livens up a bit.

Trying to remember today through the haze of after skiing beer plus during hockey beer I come up with a memeory of overcast starts at about -1. During the day the temps got very warm, maybe +7 at the base with a mix of sun, cloud, blue skies and at time heavy snow at the top and light rain at the bottom. In other words all 4 seasons in one day, sometimes in the space of about 20 minutes. Even now it is -2 on the deck with forecasts which range from snow to rain to cloud to sun.

Went to the new side to stay high in viz which went from socked in cloud to clear blue to overcast so we stayed in the trees. Started on lift line which surprised me by slabbing out big time at the top before it settled into heavy new snow which tended to support the claim from the hill of 5 cms of fresh new overnight.

Looped Surprise, Highline, Anaconda, Bootleg, Cougar Glades, Stag Leap, Siberia ridge twice, Decline and Window chutes. All were much the same with yesterdays soft improved by the new snow on top, a mid section of dust on crust then a lower section of softer rubbery snow to the base. Sib ridge was particularly nice as was Stag Leap both of which were rather like a terrain park with big rollers and plenty of air if you were up for it.

A very late lunch didn't leave much time but another go at Stag leap was good. Also went back for another dip into Anaconda as I has stacked it in there during the morning on a tree stump and needed to get my revenge. A couple of loops through the far side of Surprise found new snow and as always a final rip down Skydive proved that there were still fresh tracks to be found even if it was between already skied lines.

Haven't checked the weather for tomorrow - why bother - what ever it is we will ski it. Go Riders Go.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 76 still weird weather for Feb

No new snow overnight but temps had dropped to just below zero in town and lower on the hill so a pretty safe bet that all the softening of yesterday was going to be pretty ugly -correct. As two members of our visiting group were trying their new skis today we went to the old side and had a couple of runs down a quite icey Bear to get them used to the new kit.

When we arrived at the hill we had light snow which stayed more or less all day getting very wet at the bottom by mid afternoon but remaining as good snow at the top. All evening it rained in town but with temps at only + 2 there has to be a snow line not that far up the hill ready for a powder day tomorrow.

After testing the new gear on Bear we moved on to Sunny Side which was icey then spent the rest of the morning dropping several different ways through Bear chutes, Cedar ridge, King Fir, Linda's, Boomerang, Boom ridge and Buckshot. All the runs were icey from yesterdays melt but the north facing slopes such as Cedar ridge were better than most. During the morning the general warmth had softened the lower parts of the runs and the new snow gave some dust on crust on the upper slopes which helped a bit. Kangaroo was a good bench mark which started very scratchy but by lunch time was quite soft and friendly 6th time round.

With the lower precip getting very wet we had lunch and went high into White pass. Did I mention we had hill cloud which gave poor viz and flat light in the morning which only got a little better in the afternoon.

Spent the rest of the day looping Surprise Trees which were filling in quite nicely on a hard base. As friends dropped out finished with loops on the county line to Decline, Stag Leap, Decline/Window chutes (log drop back to about 6 ft) and finally down Skydive. All the runs were about the same with big hard bumps in the top going to good soft snow free riding conditions in the mid section then mush at the bottom. Actually all very enjoyable if rather different conditions which required a different skill set to be employed as you came down the hill.

Hoping for some kind of powder up top tomorrow. Longer forcast calls for these warm temps for a couple of days then dropping to daytime highs of -13 by Monday - should make for very interesting conditions.

Day 75 Getting hot hot hot

Today was forecast as warm (+7) with rain. As it happened the day dawned ovecast at about zero with overcast conditions and some vallley snow - about 2 cms. We decided to go high to the new side and encountered light snow all morning clearing later.

Viz was very restricted all over so our early runs were in Highline Trees, Surprise Trees, Anaconda Glades, Bootleg Glades etc which all had fresh snow but not much and some chunky stuff underneath. Moving further a field we tried Cougar Glades, Stag Leap and Decline all of which were softening in the rising temps.

Around 12 the light lifted and we hiked Knot Chutes and it was about that time that we felt the full blast of the days warming inversion which felt like at least + 10 at the top of the chutes. Returned via far side Surprise which was now warm, heavy and very spring like. In view of all this ran off for a late lunch through Concussion which was also soft heavy and slow motion spring skiing.

In the afternoon went to the old side and found excellent soft deep late spring snow. Dropped Snake ridge which was probably the best snow on the hill and exited via KC chutes which were a big work out for edge to edge jumping. A few more loops off Cedar ridge, King Fir, Boomerang, Buckshot and the like still gave good soft skiing in the warming conditions. As always returned through Kangaroo ( 4 times) which by the end of the day was skiing so easy and soft it wasn't true.

Ended up dropping Bear chutes and a ski out along the goat track before drinking far too much in the Griz then taking my Irish guests to Ski Base where they bought two pair of skis and a pair of boots - bet the shop on the hill is unhappy that they pissed me off last year with the amount of business I have put through Ski Base this year.

Still warm but precip in the forecast - lets see.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 74 a short report

And the reason for a short report is nothing to do with the conditions and everything to do with the fact that I have been drinking with my Irish guests for 5 solid hours sincethe hill closed.

The forecast for today was showers all day with highs of +5. In the event the temp forecast was about right ( warmest Feb anyone can remember) but no precip thank God. Next few days look difficult with a rain/snow mix until it cools later in the week.

Tried the old side and found all north facing slopes good with soft snow. This included Cedar ridge and King fir not to mention sheltered slopes such as Boomerang and Bear chutes. Only mistake was to hit out to Steep and Deep where it was refrozen crud all the way into Gorby bowl although this might have improved later in the day. About 4 trips through Kangaroo got better each time and reports say that by the end of the day it was really soft and friendly.

Crossed to the new side and found much the same thing. Anaconda, Cougar, Stag Leap, Decline and Skydive all were good and soft at the bottom. Surprise was refrozen crud where the sun had got to it and nowhere near as good. Basic rule was north facing good, south facing bad. Last rip down Decline very good.

Done for the day.