Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 1 and a pretty good preview

I know, I know, I did say that I would do a report on Monday for the whole weekend but today was so good and tomorrow could be so different that I just had to get out a report on today's first day of the season.

Now I don't usually have much time for preview weekends. My view is that they are put on by Ski Hills well before conditions are anything like good enough to ski just so they can brag about their early opening date. That, together with the rain during the week gave me low expectations of today which I am delighted to say were totally off the mark.

Back to basics - the snow report called a base of about 120 cms and 40 cms of fresh in the last week all of which seemed about right. We arrived at the base in overcast conditions which continued all day and base temps were -4 rising to about zero during the day and upper mountain temps had to be -8 warming to -4. An upper mountain wind gave a significant chill.

Contrary to the official reports the whole of the Old Side was open ( Bear, Elk, Boom and Haul Back lifts) all running. There was a sign line on the far side of Cedar Bowl closing Snake Ridge and beyond but apart from that the whole of the Old Side was available up to Easter bowl.

After the rain we expected a pretty scratchy day but to our surprise we hit the top of Bear and found powder. Not a mass of the stuff but pretty ok on a firm base reflecting the 40 cms of fresh that has come down since the rain crust. We had intended a loosener down Bear but instead hit out into the fresh powder on Arrow and Bow.

Perhaps it was because of the rain or the reports of a limited opening but there was hardly anyone on the hill. No lift lines, powder and a snow base of over 1 metre makes for a pretty good opening day in anyones language.

Cedar bowl was particularly nice in the glades beyond Cruiser with the powder running down to the foot of Cedar Centre. Boomerang ridge and Boom bowl were also good powder but a bit twiggy. Best snow was Cedar ridge but only deep powder in short pitches between some very bushy stuff. It was a kind of rule that the trickier the conditions the better the powder between the tricky bits.

That was it for the whole day just working backwards and forwards across the Old Side grabbing what powder we could which got progressively more trashed as the day went on but was still pretty good even by the end. Only bad run was just beyond Bow where got ourslves stuck in some very rough icey chunks of avi debrise and had to pay a lot of attention to get out ok.

Good to have beers with lots of buddies in the bar. Missing hockey as we would be face down half way therough the evening the way we feel now. Tomorrow might be ok in the morning but calling for a warm up and rain in the afternoon - let's see.

If anything a better opening day than last year which is particularly good considering this was only supposed to be a preview.

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