Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 82 back in the freezer

Actually I was told tonight that the average domestic freezer is held at about -15 and as we never got anywhere near as warm as those temps today maybe back in the freezer is the wrong title for today.

We arrived at the hill to -20 temps and although the base may have warmed up a little the mercury at the top of the hill started at -26 and the best figure I saw all day was -21 so all in all a very cold day. All the warning signs said that there was a frost bite danger so predictably a large number of vacation skiers went out with uncovered skin and, surprise, surprise, they got frost bite of the face. I think it was Einstein who said that "there are only two things that are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not that sure about the universe," so true.

We went to the New Side on the grounds that the freeski competition would take out the County Line traverse at some stage so we should get what we could when we could. Conditions were really gnarly, there was a huge amount of wind damage giving hard wind crust lunar landscape, where this hadn't happened the blow in snow was packed and crusted so hard it was real challenge, add to this not very good light which did improve during the day and you had one tough set of ski conditions.

First loop through Skydive confirmed how tough it was with the big bumps at the top swept clean and then hard wind pack all the way down. Did I mention that the cold temps had stiffened up the soft snow and the base to the point where your skis were trying to back seat you all the time? No, well they had. Next loop I tried Easter bowl which had the blow in but still very stiff packed untracked - hard work. It was so cold that two loops were all you could take before heading to Lost Boys for a choccy break.

After the break we had two more loops through Concussion and Alpha Centauri as the Freeski had cut off the traverse. Both were wind crusted at the top and very grabby blow in lower down. Lunch proved a suitable point for all my buddies to abandon me and I headed for the Old Side.

I linked up with my good buddy Rob and we had some good Old side loops using bumps as an effective way of keeping warm. Boom, Boom Ridge, Linda's, Cedar ridge, Kangaroo and Boom again all good but very tough tests in the wind packed, grabby and very variable conditions.

Last run we tracked back to the New Side on the grounds that the Freeski would have finished to do a traditional finish down Skydive. Not that traditional because due to the temps we were about 15 minutes ahead of shut down but we were quite cold. Last rip down Skydive warmed us up but the conditions were such that the few other skiers we saw all seemed to be having a tough time. As it was we had great but challenging skiing all the way down which I guess is how it should be in designated expert terrain.

Out tonight for a meal at the good old Rip'n'Richard's. Overnight forecast for -32 so tomorrow could be an even colder start.

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