Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 6 my favourite day of the year

Yes, every year my favourite day of the year is always the Monday after opening weekend. Why - because there is no one, and I mean pretty well no one on the hill, plus the season is new and everyone is optimistic, Christmas songs are on the radio, Christmas lights are up in town and everything is just buzzing.
Today started with temps of -15 in the Elk Valley according to the radio but not in the part where I was where it stuck firmly to -10. A little colder at the top of the hill and a warm up at the base during the day to about -5 but not much on top. The base was still recorded as 123 cms which either means that with no snow there was no settlement in the last 24 hours or no one could be arsed to change the signs - make your own mind up.
The ridge line cloud spread into the valley during the day. This meant cold overcast conditions and strangely mountain snow pretty well all day which whilst never enough to give any accumulation was enough to make sure the base didn't start to fall away.
The under foot conditions were pretty tough with yesterday's tracked powder sitting fairly chunky on the uneven firm base. Overall with the exception of Cougar Glades (of which more later) the conditions were no better than ok. That having been said, when you see the reports from Europe fence to fence skiing looks pretty awesome so it's just as well to bear in mind the Fernie's ok is probably one hell of a lot better than some other places awesome.
Having been on the New Side for two days we decided to try the Old Side. After a quick rip down the Bear we headed out across Cedar bowl to try Steep and Deep out beyond Snake Ridge. The wind sift had pretty well covered the traverse so it was hard work and when we got there the conditions were no better than ok so in summary the juice didn't really justify the squeeze.
After that we spent the morning looping Cedar off the Boom chair with Linda's, Boom Ridge, Boom bowl, New lift line, Cedar ridge, King Fir, Cedar Centre Glades etc. Everything was ok if a bit chunky but where you had to do some bush whacking (King Fir and Bear Chutes to name but two) there was still some great soft powder in between for a few turns. Best of all we managed the first two runs down Kangaroo of the season (bottom half only ast the top half was closed) which was very twiggy, bushy, stumpy, rocky, etc in fact just the same as usual - great fun.
Lynda took the afternoon off and I headed to the New Side. Just like the Old Side it was hard chunky powder on a tough base. I looped Anaconda Glades, Concussion (twice) and Currie Creek, all of which were ok. For the record I had my first major stack of the season in the top of Mitchy Chutes when I hit a submerged "early season hazard" blowing both skis off and going head first into the chute. Lucky for me no real damage which condisering what could happen (and has happened) in there is another reason to consider it a good day.
Ended with two rips through Cougar Glades going in just under the sign lines. Still great soft mostly untracked powder and great tree skiing. Only down side on the day was to find Timber Chair down when I got there for a final run timed to get me to White Pass in time for last lift - not a happy bunny to miss out on a final run due to mechanical failure.
Beer, hot tub, more beer, time for bed.

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