Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 16 Powder - and hero snow to boot

We had flurries forecast but in the event it was fairly solid snow from sometime just after midnight to around lunch time. The boards said 7 cms of fresh and a base of 125 cms but my guess is that thes figures were taken pretty early, maybe before 6 in the morning so the actual snowfall may have been double that figure by the time it finished and the base was nearer 130 cms.
Best of all was that the snow came down at around -4 with a good moisture content so that it was real hero snow - heavy enough to hold you up in the tight stuff and make you float but not so heavy that it was hard work.
I can only think that because of the down beat forecast no one was really pumped up for a maximum powder day which is what it turned out to be. As a result there were no crowds around for the powder chase first thing. We got first tracks in Boomerang and cut out onto Boom ridge and it was face shots all the way down. As we rode the Boom chair up it looked like we were going to put second tracks along side our first but a couple of guys jumped in just as we got to the top. Plenty on untracked left in Boom and this time we tracked far left to get into Linda's. Only one track in Linda's which disappeared half way down and after that it was deep and untracked.
The hill got the grooming dead right so that they had it all done by the time the snow started and the powder fell on the groomed slopes. With nothing groomed and maybe because of early season legs people seemed to be sticking to the groomers with powder on rather than head off into to real off piste. Great as far as we were concerned as we could hit Cedar Ridge about half a dozen different ways, always untracked, deep and the biggest problem being getting wiped out by your own slough. For the first time this year you could just hit the rollers on the terrain and take air with the brain switched off in the knowledge that however you landed you would be able to make the next turn, the definition of awesome.
We spent the whole morning on Cedar Ridge, Boomerang and Bear Chutes with a few trips out to Snake Ridge and Steep and Deep. Those far loops were great but the exits still required a bit of attention as I discovered by hitting a hidden hazard for a great header down KC chutes. Even Kangaroo was starting to ski ok but still needs a bit more snow before it becomes fun, or even safe.
In the afternoon we went to the New Side and found if anything even more snow. Lift line down from Timber seemed to have a load of new snow plus some blow in. White Pass was socked in (an expression that is going to be used frequently this season) but snow in the Gun bowl was untracked and deep.
Our first trip out the Surprise trees didn't really work as we got too low. Next time round we stayed high and found that as no one else had managed to we had first tracks in the Anaconda chutes where again the only issue was being hit by an express train in the form of your own slough.
The rest of the afternoon was spent putting in a bit of work to get out in to Currie Bowl and then enjoying untracked hero snow into Concussion, Tom's, and several other chutes - all untracked hero snow. By late afternoon we had worked our way out to Cougar Glades which had a few tracks but as has often been said, you can have quite a lot of tracks in ther and still find fresh lines. I did look at side stepping up to Corner Pocket and High Saddle but there was just so much good stuff to be had without that work that I took the lazy option.
Final rip was the top of Decline followed by the left cut out into Easter bowl half way down. The best way to describe this was a thigh deep terrain park which you could straight line off huge rollers with 50:50 split of skis on the ground to skis in the air - a great finish.
In summary the first proper Fernie powder day of the season but we certainly hope not the last given tonight's forecast.

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