Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 41 20 cms of awesome powder - maybe

Last year on day 41 I titled the blog "What a bloody mess" and for today I could have done just the same thing. Of course the 20 cms of awesome powder I refer to is what was reported on the official site this morning. Whilst I would hesitate to contradict the official site I would say that this is a travesty of what we actually got which was a mix of elephant snot and ACL ripping crud, whether or not there was 20 cms of it is not really the question.

It rained all night and starting temps were +2. We got to the hill and went high hoping that up in White Pass it would be ok - it wasn't. The snow was heavy rain affected sludge in most of the White Pass area with very difficult conditions. Initially the I bowl was closed so skiing was pretty restricted anyway. The only half decent snow was in the Gun bowl but due to restricted viz it was difficult to get much enjoyment out of that.

Late morning the I bowl opened really just giving us a bit more of the same. Final run before lunch was through Surprise Trees which was a big mistake as it was well below the acceptable skiing line so all the way down was heavy elephant snot that was impossible to get on top of - very hard work.

In the afternoon things changed a bit. Ridgeline winds increased and temps dropped to around or below zero at the top of the hill. The whole snow base in White Pass stiffened up and the snow started to come down pretty hard so that most of the White Pass area was up to a standard that was approaching acceptable. Viz didn't improve and as a result most of what we skied was a little better than the morning but still pretty dreadful. People voted with their feet and there was hardly anyone on the hill when I skied off at 3:30.

The problem is that the cold air mass has retreated east and the warm pacific air is bringing rain. The whole thing is delicately balanced as 20 mile to the east in Sparwood it is -11 and snowing hard. Depending on how things move we could have more great snow, rain top to bottom or anything in between. For the moment the lower hill is pure elephant snot and the upper hill a bit better and repairing in the falling temps.

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