Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 18 warm, wild and windy, but still pretty good fun

Let's deal with the warm first - as I suggested yesterday a warm up was on the way. For some reason the forecasters can never get a warm up in the Elk valley right. A few days off they call for temps of about -2, then about a day before they raise their sights to +1, and when it arrives as it did today the temps hit at about +5. I have no idea why their computer models should be so far off that this error margin is always the case but, it always is - it's about time those guys got their asses in gear or at the least just added about 4 degrees to whatever their computer tells them is going to be the temperature.
The wild and windy was just what it says. We arrived at the hill and found no lifts moving. The problem was the wind which was a major event prevented any lifts from working plus the fact that a dozen or so mature trees were down all over the hill and a lot of chain saw work had to be done just to make things safe. About 10:30 the New Side opened and we went up to find that whilst White Pass was open Currie bowl remained closed - do I need to say it was socked in at the top !
The New Side snow was a kind of thick Jersey cream powder as a result of hard wind pack and warming conditions, this was feature over most of the hill most of the day. Lift Line down from Timber top to White Pass was particularly thick and almost heavy but without being wet. We had several loops back through Surprise Trees which were in pretty good shape as they had been protected from the worst of the wind effect but still had plenty of ( not sure what to call the thick cream we were skiing on.)
Currie opened and we hit out in Concussion but found the snow very slabby in the up slope winds so that the only safe way to ride was fairly fast GS turns to keep you on top. Logic said that the snow must have blown into Easter bowl and logic was right - we had two loops through Easter from the top which were very much go where you please in wind sifted deep powder.
Lynda tried 1-2-3s and reported them as chunky whilst I dropped Ananconda Glades and found very nice soft cream in the first chute with all previous tracks filled in. To finish for a late lunch I dropped Bootleg glades for the first time and found them in ok shape but with many traps for the unwary between the boot deep pitches of heavy powder.
After Lunch we went to the Old side and found two things, firstly because of the lower elevation the snow was a little heavier with the melt effect and the destruction caused by the wind was much greater - like about 10 times greater. All pitches were much enlivened by finding branches or whole trees down just where you were least expecting them.
The snow had a great breaking quality so it was possible to fall line ski pretty well anywhere you wanted and we did off Cedar Ridge, Boom Ridge, Linda's, Bear chutes and all points in between several times. Some said the slightly melted powder was tough but I found it ideal slow motion snow to push around. Only downside was being stuck at the bottom of Haul Back for 25 minutes due to a break down but as I got a little end of the day timing latitude on the next two runs down Boom ridge I guess it was ok.
The only real problem with a warm up is precip. If it comes down cold it comes down white and if it comes down warm it comes down wet. In this cycle we seem to have got away with it as the base has held at 134 cms and the precip has held off. We now seem to be moving into a cooling cycle although temps on the deck are still +2 and if/when the precip arrives tomorrow evening it should be cold enough to come down white - watch this space.

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