Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 58 Back into the freezer

We were threatened with an Arctic high overnight and sure enough it came in with temps in free fall so that by morning we had a typical Arctic high bluebird day with the temp falling to -28 on the way to the hill but rising to a balmy -27 when I got there.

Today was always going to be a short day as I had to drive to Calgary to pick up Lynda from the airport on her return from the UK. The flight was in the air and early as I left for the hill so by a process of count back I worked out that I had to leave the hill by 11 at the latest to get to the airport on time.

With a high chance of frostbite it was a day for no skin to be exposed, 5 layers under the ski jacket, inner and outer gloves with hotshots, two pairs of thermal long johns and the fleece balaclava - nice and toasty but not very flexible.

The effect on the snow of the low temps was to dry it out and make it very chunky and heavy. After two days of being able to take it easy and just let the skis ride in powder it was a bit of a shock to find conditions where you had to really focus on what you were doing and have a fair amount of physical input to make it happen. On the plus side the ride up on White Pass chair was in the midst of swirling angel dust and looking back towards the sun there was a perfect sun dog sitting in the valley - I feel so sorry for people who never go to the mountains in these cold conditions and see these fantastic beautiful sights of raw nature.

Just had time for a quick loop back down White Pass to get used to the changed conditions then Decline, Stag Leap and of course a Skydive finish. What a difference a day makes, all were really hard work in the chunky dry snow, but very enjoyable if you like a challenge. Last loop round I saw a couple of patrollers heading for Polar Peak so maybe that opened today, watch this space for a further report.

On the way back from Calgary temps hit -32 in the Porcupine Hills so lets hope that those are not heading this way. It looks like a few days of cold followed by a warm up then a 4 day snow cycle so who knows we could get the first 4 x awesome report ever.

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