Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 92 all four seasons in one day

As the weather was the main story today I will focus on that rather than just on where we skied although they are of course linked.

Overnight the temps didn't quite get below freezing and it rained down town most of the night so we were fairly sure that there had been quite some snow on the hill. When we got there we found 10cms of fresh on top of all the recent stuff but the snow/rain line rather higher up than we expected at about half way.

Up the hill the sun had come out and the new snow was getting warm and even out of the sunlight the air temp was very warm - perhaps even +5. The result was that on south facing slopes everything went to slush whilst on East and North facing slopes the new snow just became a bit heavy down to about half way then it turned to rain crust. The lower slopes turned to total water slush just like summer skiing and it's hard to see without new snow or snow making how they will last to the end of the season.

Come the afternoon at about 3 o'clock it was all change with the clouds rolling in, temps dropping and snow (ok snow pellets) starting up pretty hard. On the last ride up on White pass I had about 1cm of accumulation build up on me just during the ride. All the upper mountain was covered with the new snow which slowed down the surface but refroze a lot of the base that had melted, all in all pretty strange conditions.

By evening it was all clear again but reports of some possible new overnight. Daytime highs are forecast to go to +12 by Tuesday but by Friday the highs are supposed to be -7 and snow, as I said very strange weather.

Against this background we hit the New side and had fresh tracks in Highline, Surprise Trees, Cougar glades, Decline and 1-2-3s. A final trip into Anaconda found slightly tracked but very deep fresh snow and Bootleg was much the same at the top and a bit scratchy at the bottom. Then an early lunch.

After lunch with things getting much hotter we kept on hitting Anaconda further and further across each time followed by different ways down Bootleg. Encouraged by just how good Anaconda had stayed I hiked Knot chutes then traversed into Gotta Go and dropped into Currie bowl that way and found that the snow there was approaching awesome.

Final run down Skydive was good not much tracked at the top, light rain crust in the middle and soft starting to set up at the bottom. The high traverse at the County line hadn't been open all day and the lack of traffic in Skydive was probably something to do with the fact that many people think that you can't get to Skydive traverse from the low traverse which you can quite easily.

Riders lost last night so 1 all heading to Nelson for two games, at least it means we will have a game back here on Wednesday no matter what. More snow needed.

Day 90 return of the powder

Reports overnight said that it had rained in the town (true) and it was due to rain on the hill all day (false). It had snowed about 11 cms on the hill over night (more in places) and with overcast conditions didn't really do much during the day.

We decided to go high which meant the New side and hearing White pass was closed for avi control we hiked Mitchy chutes which like most of the hill was untracked with 10 cms or so of fresh on whatever had been there. As we skied out of Mitchy chutes White pass chair opened.

The whole of the New side had over 10 cms of fresh (much more in many places) and where it was untracked the bumps were smoothed out and ready for some serious free riding.

Hit Cougar Glades ( untracked) Decline ( untracked) Stag Leap (two tracks) Secret chutes and Spinal Tap ( a few tracks) Skydive ( mostly untracked) the Brain ( untracked on the right shoulder) and Decline and the Window chutes (surprisingly quite tracked but the log drop down to 5 ft with a soft landing. Worth mentioning that each time down from Timber chair to White pass we took a different line close to lift line but in the trees - snow so soft that long GS turns through what had previously been tight lines where the order of the day. Late lunch.

PM we went back to the new side with not much time. Hit Anaconda glades halfway along which were still very soft followed by Bootleg glades near trees - also good. Next we hiked up to Lone Fir which was a little tight through the main chute but which opened up into some awesome fresh powder all the way down into Freeway. Due to time took a quick loop back through Milkey Way trees then out for the final traditional rip through Skydive. Even at this late stage of the day Skydive was just fantastic with good freeriding on the soft snow/bumps two thirds of the way down with the final third requiring a bit of attention with softening snow on a hard base.

A very good days skiing. A patroller buddy in the bar said that they were calling for 8-18 cms tonight which would have a fantastic effect but no sign of any new yet.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 89 a quick report.

The reason the report will be quick is that we are heading off for a hockey game tonight ( first game of the best of 7 play off series for the Okanagan division against Nelson Leafs) which should be a good hard play off game - go Riders g0.

There had been no snow overnight and the starting temp on the deck was just below zero so the overnight conditions had frozen but hadn't gone boiler plate. There was a forecast for rain which never materialised and all we had was a lot of "weather" in the form of wind, cloud, light snow/ice pellets etc.

We took the view that conditions would be much the same as yesterday but with the light much flatter and the ridge lines loading up in the wind the Fish bowl would not be an ideal choice. When we arrived at the hill we were told that White pass chair was down for essential maintenance so we formulated the plan to try the Old side in the morning, lunch early and then hit the New side in the afternoon, in the event we followed the plan and had a more than ok day.

After a quick loosener down Arrow which demonstrated that there was a bit of wind sift and the base was a little softer, we headed out into Cedar bowl. Dropped into the trees in mid bowl which is something we haven't tried since early season and found plenty of soft snow and some nice lines through the trees. Back through Kangaroo was, as always, hard ice bumps and then Boomerang which had some soft on top but was not a whole lot better.

Spent the morning looping on Snake (icey bumps with some soft), the trees just before Snake (rather soft all the way down but just a bit ribby at the bottom), Gorby bowl ( soft and untracked in the top, a bit technical in the cliff area and pretty scrapy at the bottom) and Redtree ( much the same as Snake). Always back through Kangaroo which never softened then the Bear chutes which had some blow in but which were icey underneath. Did one loop back through Buckshot which was blow in at the top and icey bumps at the bottom then finished in Linda's which was much the same.

After lunch hit the new side and tried Surprise trees which were tracked up powder on refrozen crud and generally a bit of a waste of time. Anaconda and Bootleg both proved to be much better with some hard patches but generally some soft blow in taking an edge.

Later we hit the County Line out to Decline which had been very much improved by the soft wind blown snow. Dropped Window chutes more to say that we had done it than for any other reason and found good untracked snow as far as the log drop, the drop itself up to about 6 ft then some pretty slick ice on the ski out through the stream bed at the bottom. Another trip in a further chute of Anaconda proved that the snow there was getting very good but the chutes a bit tight and technical.

Last run of the day down Skydive confirmed that where the snow hadn't melted the base was ok and the recent snow made beautiful soft bumps to play with. Good play off hockey game that we won 2-1 and a report on the radio on the way back that we should expect about 2 ft of snow out of the weather systems hitting us this weekend. Starting to get a little optimistic.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 88 down to 10 bucks a day

As the heading suggests today the average cost of skiing has reduced to 10 bucks a day which given the conditions we have had this year represents fair value to me.

The day started at -4 going to +5 and with no new snow we were skiing on yesterdays left overs and a bluebird day with a few clouds later on. On advice we went to the old side to try out the north facing slopes.

Everything was ok without getting to exciting. Cedar ridge several ways produced good powder getting less good as you went left. The rest tended to be a bit scratchy underfoot with some soft stuff on tough which meant you had to stay on your game.

Boom, Boom ridge and Linda's were all ok but againg a chopped up surface and very hard base meant you couldn't really relax. Two runs back through Kangaroo proved that whilst a little new snow might make things better the basic rules apply and icey bump runs are always tough.

We decided to kiss the Fish Bowl and went out there twice. First time we went about half way across the bowl and the next time about three quarters of the way. Each time we found good soft untracked powder and great steep pitches at the bottom with only about a 10 minute to get out. Awesome untracked powder two days after a storm so not all bad.

This all led to a very late lunch so a curtailed afternoon was in evidence. Tried Lift Line which was scratchy then had a go at Decline which was only ok. Hit the trees left of Decline which were untracked and really good fun. Took a trip through Anaconda which was nice and despite both buddies stacking it in the top of the chute we had a good run. Last trip of the day and no one would be surprised to find that we were at the top of Skydive and ready to go. A good run down in fresh if not untracked snow which was lots of fun. This week's guests enjoyed it.

As always, too much beer, a hot tub and tea. Getting ready for the first playoff game tomorrow against the Nelson Leafs so go Riders go.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 87 it's almost a powder day

Overnight the hill was reporting 11 cms in 24 hours which was very encouraging. We suspected the snow might have come down pretty wet so we decided to hit the new side which proved to be a very goood decision. From the outset it was apparent that the report was right but that the new snow had not stuck particularly well so that slough management was always going to be a problem.

First run was back down to White pass chair which just about passed for powder. After that we worked out that the stuff that had melted over the past few days would not be covered by the fresh so the best places to ski would be where it had previously been hard i.e. north and east facing slopes.

During the morning we hit Cougar Glades, Stag Leap, Decline, Skydive and Secret chutes followed by Spinal tap. These were all very good with significant tracts of un tracked snow which might even have passed for powder in other ski towns. Stag Leap was particularly nice, performing like a terrain park all the way down.

After lunch we came back to the new side and started on Siberia ridge which was a bit scratchy on the base but was as always good skiing in steep terrain in the mid section. We had already had some runs through Mitchy chutes and Big bang during the morning which had proved to be a nice filled in powder run.

Out on the County Line and more runs through the Brain, Secret chutes and lots of other stuff all at the end of the county line which was skiing much better as a result of 11 cms of fresh. With some time to kill we looped Anaconda which like everywhere else was open and serving up excellent skiing. The long skate back through Trespass Trail was slow but better than skiing to the bottom and missing the last loop.

A final run into Skydive and then checking back into Stag leap proved to be worth while with lots of quite deep snow. A great way to finish what must be classed as our only significant snow fall for about 2 months.

Wings night at the pub was good and the talk was all about this "powder" day which was so much better than anything else we have had recently. Good without being anything special but fresh tracks all over the new side all day right up to final bell.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 86 much better than we thought it might be

The forecast for today was no sun, rain in the afternoon and temps rising during the day to about + 6. In the event we had wet snow to start with and the rain line rising to about one third of the way up the hill by mid afternoon and precip fairly good off and on all day.

It was one of those days when we came to the hill with low expectations because of the fact that loads of sun yesterday and no sun today probably meant more than our fair share of re frozen crud with no significant new snow would be evident. The story was more than a little different.

With the snow/rain mix falling all day we hit Lizard bowl just to see how soft things might be. A wide swing into Easter showed the answer to be "not very" and we regrouped to think again. A change of plan saw us skiing all morning on the Old side, first dropping Linda's run which was harder than we thought then 5 different ways down Cedar ridge/ King Fir which were hard at first but then revealed a kinder side as things softened, the low snow turned to rain. All 4 loops we came back through Kangaroo which was quite hard as usual but softening as the morning worn on so that by the late morning the bumps were soft and almost friendly. Somewhere in there we managed a couple of loops back through Boom bowl and down through Bear chutes which like every where else had gone softer and easier in the warm snow.

By lunch it was clear that the rising rain line had effectively made the Old side redundant so we hit the New side. We tried the Gun bowl as it looked ok and found it was ugly with no light and then on to Surprise trees which were tight with some new snow but just about ok. After that experiment we decided that everything that had melted and then been covered by the dust on crust wouldn't be worth doing. We then decide (rightly) that we would hit everything that had been hard yesterday and therefore would not have melted today.

We had great runs through Stag Leap, Secret chutes and finally Decline all of which were untracked at the top, good skiing in the middle and soft to taking an edge low down. We had first tracks, if you can call it that, in all three pitches. Not awesome but getting on toward accptable by the end of the afternooon.

In summary a much better day than we thought we would get. This evening they are calling for more snow tomorrow so we live in hopes.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Day 85 Still very hard work

Another day just like all the others with a start at -6, blue bird conditions, high of about -10 and then a bit of cooling towards the evening. We decided to have a day on the new side to see what we could get out of it.

First a long loop back through Falling Star ( the first time I have been there this season) just to show our guests the full extent of the ski area. It was actually very well groomed and was an ideal easy groomer run if that is what does your thing.

Next we were up White Pass checking out the Gun bowl (not quite soft enough) and Highline trees etc which were still pretty hard. After a few loops through White pass where it became a bit softer and better each time we hit out to Concussion which has softened quite a lot and was good skiing all the way down to Gilmar Trail.

With everything softening we hiked Knot chutes in the anticipation that chutes would be soft in the sun. A good call but getting my ski caught in a fracture line in the chute as I turned so that I landed it with no downhill ski was not part of the plan. This resulted in the longest fall of the season so far with significant contact between the rock outcrops and my left shoulder which left some very swollen and black and blue parts.

Next loop dropped Anaconda glades and Bootleg glades both of which were rather harder under foot than I would have liked but were just about ok. Finally before lunch had to go back to Knot chutes just to show them that the earlier spill had not left me fearful. In the event had another fairly uneventful drop of the second chute stopping only to note the fracture line which had caused me so much trouble on the first drop. Had a look at the dummy down hill on the way down to lunch which was very funny.

Not much time in the afternoon but we made three major loops, Toms run ( very nice and slushy) Concussion ( still soft) and finally Skydive ( hard and bumpy at the top and icey and bumpy at the bottom.

Time to finish with lots of beer and a quiet night in. Our jet lag is starting to recover so pretty soon I should be able to get into party mood. Fingers crossed for more snow.