Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 4 Welcome to the New Side

Yes, today as promised the New Side opened for the first time this season so having had three days of the Old Side we headed off up Timber and stayed on the New Side all day. Just like the Old side it was very wind affected which gave variable conditions but more of those later.
The temp as we arrived at the hill was about -9 at the base and a little lower at the top. During the day which was sunny but with ridge line cloud the base temps got up to about -3 but up top it sayed cold with a harsh wind that must have given a wind chill of a good 5 degrees lower than the mercury temp. The base was 112 cms and the surfaces varied from boiler plate ice to awesome powder via raincrust and wind slab - in other words just like yesterday you had to keep your wits about you.
All day we did a series of loops either from the top of White pass back to the foot of the chair or all the way to the bottom then up Timber and down to White pass that way. Anyone who knows the hill knows this pattern gives endless permutations of runs and terrain to ski. It was a rolling opening first with just White pass, then near side Currie and finally all of Currie as far as Easter bowl hike up (Skydive, Stag leap etc were all closed due to poor coverage). Even the Knot chutes were open which I didn't hike as the skiing in there didn't look any better than what was on offer in the rest of the area without having to hike.
The runs back from Timber top to White pass were all a bit scratchy but Puff improved with skier traffic, Lift line/Lower Big Bang was quite good powder in places but lots of hazards and Heartland right side was slick but with some soft snow near the edges.
For the remainder of what we skied (in some cases several times over) the verdict was -
Gun Bowl - great soft powder everywhere except on the far ridge that was wind swept ice. Skied it lots to access other areas and enjoyed it every time but towards closing the light got very flat.
Highline trees - windslab, not really worth the effort.
Surprise trees - Three times and great skiing as the trees had protected the surface from the wind effect. A bit twiggy and stumpy but very nice soft and mostly untracked snow.
Milky Way trees - very disappointing as we thought they would be great, in fact they were no more than ok with a lot of wind slab.
Morning Glory trees - Great, not much traffic and still loads of untracked soft powder when we got there. Disn't seem to be wind affected at all but you still had the long ski out at the bottom of Falling Star.
Anaconda Glades - when the fence dropped on Currie we ignored the bowl and went straight to Anaconda where we put first tracks in the steep and deep left cut back which was great powder all the way down, just awesome and the biggest problem was getting hit by your own slough. Towards the end of the day I hiked the hump and dropped the chute just beyond which was unskied presumably because of all the bushes in the top, just a little bush whacking and then it opened up into truely awesome powder.
Diamon Back - Nice at the top but icy and very aldery at the bottom, needs more snow before I try that as ski off again.
1-2-3s - Quite a lot of avi debrise but if you skied between it there was some very nice soft stuff and great powder in the trees on the right of 3. Did my good deed for the day in 3 recovering a ski that had been lost about 100 metres uphill of where I found it - always amazing how far these things travel.
Corner Pocket - Not often you get to ski one of the double diamond saddles on opening weekend. Snow was ok in the pocket with only one tire showing and below it was great untracked powder which just got a bit slabby lower down. Cut across to exit via Easter bowl which was also soft and only lightly tracked.
High Saddle - See Corner Pocket. Due to board scrape I has to slither the last little bit out of the chute but after that great powder.
Triple trees - Second to last run and we hit the top section of triple trees down to Trespass trail. To our amazement the undergrowth was far less than we feared, the powder was soft and there were so few tracks you could find a fresh line all the way down even late afternoon.
Easter bowl - Final run of the day took the reverse traverse all the way out which was in surprisingly good shape and the whoop-de-do above Currie Creek almost non-existant. With Skydive closed it was the nearest I could get for a final run and it was still great with plenty of untracked lines until lower down.
All in all a great day on varied conditions but with great powder snow untracked if you were prepared to look and work for it. No beer after skiing as we had to get back for tea before heading up for a presentation on avi dangers by CAC . The presentation is in the Griz bar so we will be back there at 18:30 and just treat it as a late start to the apres. Watch this space.

1 comment:

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