Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 63 The return of the Old side

The warm up continued and it was beautiful blue bird day on the hill all day with starting temps at the base of -2, a bit cooler up top but by late afternoon we had + 4 at the base and much warmer in the direct sunlight. The result was that on south facing slopes were had quite heavy spring skiing conditions which later in the day started to set up on the surface as the sun went down becoming very crisp and not easy skiing. On the north facing slopes conditions remained just like yesterday with great soft blow in staying in consistent shape throughout the day.

We had the junior free ski competition today which was being held on the New side in Concussion so we decided to go to the Old side on the grounds that there would be fewer people, the blow in from two days ago should still be good and with the high Cedar traverse closed yesterday anything out towards Snake Ridge and beyond would be pretty good - bingo.

After a couple of runs down Bear and Sunny side which both seemed to show signs of some fresh snow we headed out along Cedar High traverse for the first of 4 loops -
Snake ridge nearside - Load of fresh which may have been blow in but which looked quite like new snow. Good first tracks down then into KC chutes which were challenging in the top section but nice and soft in the wide lower sections.
Snake Ridge farside - the gully full of blow in all the way down to the traverse into Lower Gorby bowl which is now ok coverage.
Gorby bowl - as always left alone by most people because of the apparently gnarly exit. Actually just above the rock band the shimmy left then right was as mellow as I can remember.
The Gorby entrance into Steep and Deep which again was mostly unskied because of the tricky steep entrance through the alders but by the ski out in the lower chutes it was in direct sunlight and real spring conditions.

All returns were through Kangaroo which we thought was skiing pretty ok but maybe not to judge from the several groups we passed in there seeming to have a fairly torrid time, heigh ho. Loops were completed either through Boom bowl or Bear chutes both of which were great soft wind blown.

In the afternoon we hit the new side and found that the start of the Freeski was set so high up that the only way to get past it was to hike Cornice ridge, just as if you were about to go for Lone Fir. This had a plus side in that to get to Skydive we had to drop the top of Barracuda which is somewhere we hardly ever go and is actually quite steep and a lot of fun. Skydive seemed to have some fresh particularly on skiers left and because of the difficulties in getting there it was all untracked.

Next time round I drifted into the Knot chutes which didn't look that special so I hopped over the ridge line into Gotta Go and found only one track and the best steep untracked skiing on the hill. The ski out through 3's and Bootleg Trees were also pretty good.

By the time we got back to the top the competition was over so we could take the Skydive traverse and hit Cougar Glades which were rather soft and sun affected most of the way down and a bit crunchy and setting up lower down. Next Siberia ridge which since a few weeks ago has been excellent terrain skiing with no rocks showing in the gnarly section.

Final rip down - you guessed it - Skydive. Icey bumps in the top then you can pull the trigger in the lower sections which are soft but just starting to get through to a firm base.

Snow in the forecast.

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