Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 111 A crazy crazy day

Yes, today was a crazy, crazy day in so many respects. Lets start with the weather. Last night we had a heavy snow warning for the Elk valley which was then expanded for the whole of the East Kootenays. The warning was right, it puked snow all night so that by morning we had another 30 cms of fresh on the hill and the base had risen to 414 cms. In mid winter that would be awesome news but at this time of year things are rather different. The snow was wet and heavy at the base and although it might have been pretty good up on top, as we never got up on top that is something that we can only guess at. With heavy wet snow as always there was problems with the electricity supply and although it didn't affect us there were power outages all over the valley. As we got to the hill with a temp of -1 and awesome snow everything looked good. We entered the day lodge just as a power outage hit the base affecting the lodge and the lifts. We had to get changed in the dark in the locker room (I know a lot of people think I always get dressed in the dark) and then stand by for openings. Power came back on by just after 9 but we were held at Deer chair because of "avi safety reasons". I don't know how stupid RCR think we are as there are no runs that are avi affected off the Deer chair and when we got to Bear and found it running and tracked out it was apparent that yet again we had been held back to allow those willing to pay (breakfast club, first tracks etc) to ski the hill while we were held back - at least they have learned not to let us get as far as Bear and actually watch them doing it but that doesn't make it right. With only Bear and Kodiak open skiing was restricted and more so because half of Bear was shut down for some junior ski race giving us about 5% of the ski hill. The snow was knee deep and great skiing on the Bear getting a bit heavy towards the bottom. First three runs were good by which time the restricted space was like an anthill and everything was well tracked out. We took a few drops off Kodiak into the trees which was thigh deep but so heavy and tight you couldn't make many turns before having to check. Although riding up on the Boom only allowed access back to Bear it did allow us to see what Boom bowl and ridge looked like. On the face of it the surface looked great but a couple of patroller buddies were trying to ski cut and it was so soft that they were getting sloughed out all the time. We took a trip to Timber to be told that it wouldn't open today so cut back and just continued to loop Bear as far across as we could either from Bear chair or Boom chair. The snow got wilder and the viz reduced to about 20 metres and the snow got wetter. By about 12:30 we had skied the Bear every way you could and things were just getting crazy with the snow so we quit and went to the bar. Whilst drinking in the bar a buddy came in. He had been intending to ski but a transformer had blown so that even the little that was open couldn't be accessed - we stayed in the bar. I have no idea if things got repaired but certainly there was nothing left worth skiing when we left the hill. It has continued to puke snow all evening and there is a load more in the forecast, what chance for a 5 metre party ?

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