Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 100 Snake, Kangaroo and Fish back on the menu

No, this isn't the bill of fare for a particularly dodgy Chinese resturant but a reflection of the fact that the Old side across to Snake ridge opened for the first time in two weeks today giving us access to the Fish bowl with returns through the ever ugly Kangaroo.

Against my usual practices Rob took this photo today as we were breaking trail for first tracks out of Fish bowl this morning - him taking the pic with me and Lynda in front of the main Fish bowl drop. Next time round we actually dropped the main chutes seen behind us in the pic and totally trashed them from fresh in conditions that at best could be described as marginal and at worst as down right dangerous, but more of that later.

On the way to the hill temps were -2, we had 7 cms of fresh and everything was ready to go for another New side day. All changed as we got news that Snake Ridge was opening for the first time in two weeks and although the whole Snake/Steep and Deep area had a 2 metre avi fracture line (crown) across it the area was open and ready to trash.

We went out to Redtree and skied the area fence which was just beyond the avi fracture and was the most amazing deep powder all the way down. Return by Redtree Road (haunted by the ghost of moosey who they shoot a couple of days ago) - Kangaroo, as usual ugly but made worse by the grooming on the trail half way down that gave a 1 metre drop onto the trail - Boomerang, scratchy as you would expect.

Next loop was Gorby and the steep Steep and Deep shoulder entry which was awsome, untracked, alder free (looking very strange) and a great 6 ft cornice drop on the avi crown which seemed pretty mild after Hollywood Rock. Then an exit via a chute which simply hasn't existed until we had this much snow. Loop back as before.

Fish bowl on the near chutes was next with the intention of cutting back along the Redtree ski out. As has happened before the chutes to the bottom looked so tempting and in this case untracked that we went right down to the bottom which was avi debris when we got there. No tracks out so Lynda, Rob and me had to cut first tracks and that was where the pic was taken.

We had wanted to do Fish from top to bottom next time but found that the traverse was closed due to snow stability problems in the rising temps. We had a quick loop through Cedar ridge and back through the icey Kangaroo and then went for lunch.

During lunch we got word that cloud cover had rolled in, temps were dropping and they were going to reopen the traverse out to Snake - we went but this time hiked up to the top of Fish bowl and then side stepped even higher into the bowl. When the tracks ran out we turned right and had the most awesome untracked powder run of the year all the way to Fish centre. At the convex (the top of the roll in the pic) things changed. Snow became heavy, sloughs became like mini avies and we had to do some serious slough management but jumping from chute to chute before we were taken out. In the event everything was ok but it was just about as close to the margin that I ever want to get - not one of my better calls. Also a long hike out.

After that we headed to the New side and just had time for -

Decline - great soft snow all the way down.

Secret Chute/Spinal Tap. The best snow on the New side at the top and then getting very soft and friendly in the creek bed.

Skydive - As always the final rip with all the usual suspects that turn up at the top of Skydive every evening. By that time the snow was getting very soft which made for a great finish but filled us all with some trepidation as to what tomorrow morning may be like.

Possible snow tonight, and the next couple of nights, spring skiing still seems alittle way off to me.

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