Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day 35 a day of confirmed awesomeness

In rained in town overnight and the rain turned to wet snow by the morning and kept on coming. As we drove to the hill it was -1 dropping to -2 when we got there and by then was snowing hard top to bottom. The snow report indicated 37 cms of fresh on top of the 18 we had yesterday and as it hosed down all day most of us reckon there had to be at least another 15 cms additional during the day, in summary an awesome powder day.

We decided to go high and stay high to avoid the effects of yesterdays wet snow low down so the New side it was. We were waiting in line at Timber at 10 to 9 and were on one of the very early chairs. White Pass wasn't running so we just had a totally untracked rip through Puff trees and Black Cloud in the deep powder which was awesome.

Next loop White Pass was open with the I bowl sign line closed and just like the last two days we ripped around the safe areas but this time in deeper powder than ever. Half way through the morning the sign line dropped and we looped Surprise Trees so many ways you lost count but always very straight line in the powder.

I decided not to stop for lunch but to ski through for a straight 7 hours as the conditions were so good. We dropped Triple Trees which was even deeper than yesterday so some of my buddies could stop for lunch. As we had to come up Timber we hiked into Siberia ridge which was great skiing all the way down but a bit testing on the powder covered bumps on the lower section. That got rid of the remainder of my buddies so I had the afternoon to myself.

The afternoon passed with a series of loops - Traverse into the second Knot chute and drop the steep shoulder in deep powder, take the Idiot Traverse out to Surprise Trees and take one of the thousand or so different lines down always looking for untracked in the tight tree lines, back to White Pass along Trespass Trail (once described by a buddy as the only run on the hill that is up hill in both directions). Sounds boring but that was all that happened all afternoon and funnily enough skiing the same run over and oaver again in awesomely deep powder isn't boring at all.

Final run back down Triple trees was just as good as it had been all day. Stacks of beer in the bar then a bit of shopping, mainly for hot shots for the hands with the forecast temp drop. Home now and laid out after 7 hours staright powder skiing. Too tired even for hot tub. Forecast has two more storm cycles in the out look. Things are looking good.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 34 yesterday on steroids

It's a fair description of today which was very like yesterday but much,much more so.

I woke during the night to find it was raining and deck temps were about +1. By morning conditions hadn't changed but the precip had changed to a rain snow mix. As we drove to the hill temps dropped to -1 and the precip at the hill had reverted to a rain snow mix. For the rest of the day the precip continued as rain at the bottom and heavy snow at the top. The snow report said that there was 18 cms of fresh on the hill and by the end of the day a patroller buddy said that we had 30 cms during the day and as we came off the hill it was still coming.

We tried to start on the New side but they delayed loading due to avi risk. We went to
the Old side and ran down Boom which was deep and only partially tracked. Next was Boom ridge which was much the same but getting very claggy towards the base.......To be continued after we have hot tubbed with buddies............ Rob and Katie now gone so back to the blog. Kangaroo was a bit heavy but ok skiing - we then went to the New side to see what was open.

Just like yesterday White Pass was open but with a sign line across the top of the I bowl. We had several great loops through the Gun bowl and associated lower areas in deep hero snow powder. I had met up with (Canadian) Rob so Lynda had left us to go for a maxium boys rip and we took full advantage.

Late morning we were lined up as the sign line dropped and had an awesome powder chase under White Pass lift on the first round. After that it was just loops into Surprise trees (Anaconda stayed closed all day) taking fresh lines pretty much at will and with hero snow so the fall line was always the favoured option. To everyone's surprise Knot chutes opened ( I guess that patrol thought that having had to ski cut them to open the I bowl why not) and we hiked the first chute. Really nice deep powder - so nice in fact that I nearly missed the cliff markers for the Cheese Grater and had to do some hard traversing to get out of a tricky situation.

Finished the morning with a drop through what I think is called Triple trees ( help on this would be appreciated). Surprise Trees to Trespass Trail, drop the trees under that to Summer Road headin left/right then drop the next lot of trees to Summer Road heading right/left. Amazing skiing if you just had the balls to drop the skis in the fall line and trust that there would always be a way through somehow.

Afternoon back up the New side and just continued to cycle Surprise down to Trespass Trail as the snow continued to puke and fill in - people got very scarce towards the end of the day. A final run off through Triple Trees (?) again proved that fortune favoured the brave when it came to ripping the fall line.

Beers, hot tub, no hockey as were were too knackered and Rob and Katie round for a great evening. Here's hoping a semi jack knifes in the pass tonight to keep the crowds away tomorrow.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 33 Not awesome but still pretty good

Bit of a short report tonight as I have buddies round to have a hot tub, drink beer and celebrate having stuffed the Aussies out of sight in the cricket.

Today was a big warm up with temps of +1 on the way to the hill and -1 whan we got there with the hill claiming about 10 cms of fresh overnight. It was wet snow at the bottom and real snow at the top until early afternoon when we had a general clear up with valley temps rising to +3 and summit temps just about holding at minus temps.

We went to the New side on the grounds that high was good and found that we were right but due to the avi risk White Pass was not opened under the Knot chutes so we only had half of the upper slopes open but they were all awesome fresh powder.

We spent the morning looping the powder on what was open on White Pass and getting fresh tracks all over in nice powder always checking out the sign line to see if there was any chance of an opening. By lunch time nothing had happened so we went down via some very interesting lines into the trees where there didn't look to be lines but we trusted our luck and had the deepest snow so far this season.

After lunch we went back to the New side and this time got it just right as we arrived at the sign line just about 30 seconds after they dropped the rope. This led us to 6 loops out into Surprise going a little further each time, sometime having to cut a fresh traverse, and getting mostly fresh tracks all the way down to Trespass trail which had some pretty interesting drop offs onto the trail.

By this time it was getting a bit late and time for a dip into Anaconda Glades and Bootleg Glades which had plenty of untracked chutes if you were prepared to take the drops and incredible soft deep snow on the ski out.

Finished with one last loop in Surprise (still untracked in bits) and then Anaconda (second shoulder still untracked on the grounds it's vertical) followed by Bootleg - only ever do the first chute in these conditions and even then it was pretty lively.

Beer, more beer, more beer, hot tub, more snow in forecast.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 32 Gone Fishin'

And where better to go Fishin' than in the Fish Bowl where we were most of the day in awesome untracked powder but more of that later.

The hill reported 5 cms of fresh in the last 24 but I suspect most of that occured yesterday. There was also a fair amount of blow in and as we set of to the hill it was a balmy -9. During the day temps rose further to -3 and snow started late morning and continued ( heavy at times) until late afternoon. The result was that the already rather better than ok conditions got better still as the day went on due to a mix of new snow and blow in and resulted in very good day everywhere.

I had a plan - as the high Cedar Traverse had been closed yesterday I figured that if it was open today then everything from Snake Ridge and beyond would be fresh and untracked since yesterday morning. Much to my surprise the plan worked and after a warm up on Sun Up which proved a bit slabby with the blow in we headed out to the ski area fence and dropped Steep and Deep which lived up to it's name and only had a couple of tracks in so there was more than enough fresh untracked left for us.

Boom was a bit scratchy under the new snow and I am not sure if this was because the base had changed or it just seemed worse compared with the new snow. Next loop out we had intended to drop Redtree but on the way out as we approached Snake it just looked so good we couldn't resist and found the slight dip that runs above KC chutes was deep in the depression and totally untracked - good call.

Next time we ducked the fence and hit the Fish bowl and that was it for the rest of the day. Sometimes we hiked the high trail to get in and other times we just took the Cedar traverse and ducked the fence. Sometimes we took the Redtree hitch out and other times we went all the way to the bottom and hiked out. It was totally awesome fresh powder only lightly tracked in places and fresh untracked most of the time. Once we got hung up in the alders in the steep chutes mid bowl but a bit of shuffling around and we found our way into previously untracked chutes which were seriously deep.

All of this Old side activity meant 6 runs through Kangaroo which was a bit better than usual and in fact the roo was rather pleasant skiing all day with just a tricky drop on to the cat track to be handled.

After the final hike out of Fish bowl we noticed that it was 3:30 as we got on the Haul Back so it was a flat out dash along Cedar trail to the New Side, up Timber and White Pass just in time to get to Skydive in time for the tradition 4 o'clock rip. It was well worth it as Skydive was filled in with a load of fresh and a great free ride all the way down.

Would have been a perfect day if Canada hadn't given up 5 goals in the final period of the World Junior Hockey final to lose to Russia 5-3, what went wrong ? More snow in the forecast between now and Saturday and a big storm brewing for next week so things looking pretty encouraging.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 31 Just Kidding

I was playing around adding pictures to the blog as has been requested by a couple of readers but not having anything from the hill I got this pic out of my archives from when I was in Churchill last fall. Don't worry, although it has been a bit cold over the past few days it hasn't been quite cold enough for polar bears.

The pics seem to work ok so stand by for a blast of images if can ever get round to stopping skiing long enough to take some pics.

Although there was nothing much in the forecast we woke up this morning to about 5 cms of fresh in the town. Temps were about -12 and stayed down to about -9 most of the day. It was overcast with light snow which persisted all day and at times was quite hard particularly on the Old side. The New side was slightly less snowy but the wind blowing in off the ridge lines did add considerably to the fresh snow so that there was well over 10 cms in places by the end of the day.

We went to the Old side and were rewarded with first tracks in Boom bowl as there didn't seem to be many people around. No one had tried Boom ridge so we took first tracks in that which was also soft powder on the rather hard base of previous days. Cedar ridge had filled in with great blow in so we hit it two ways, left and right and good mostly unracked soft all the way down.

We did try to get out to Steep and Deep but the high Cedar traverse had been closed due to avi risk we could only get across as far as Snake just above KC chutes and had a great run all the way down to the bottom of Cedar in soft stuff on the right shoulder above KC. A couple more loops on Boom Ridge started to get a little scratchy due to traffic so we tried King Fir and found it to be some of the best powder on the hill probably because of the twiggy entrance discouraging anyone from trying it.

All this meant 4 returns through Kangaroo which we tried on both sides and even mixed up the drops onto the cat track just for the hell of it. Not great skiing but about as good as the roo gets with icey bumps covered by (some) soft. LateLunch.

In the afternoon we went to the New side which confirmed my guess that the snow had not fallen quite so hard there but the wind was picking up giving heavy blow in to the point that I almost stacked it in the top of Lift Line while hitting some heavy stuff. First loop off White pass was Surprise trees which after a fairly white drop through the Gun bowl proved to be mostly untracked and getting quite deep.

After that it was County Line loops -
Cougar Glades - Soft snow having dropped as the wind hit the trees meant good powder in the top but still dust on crust in the lower section.
Ananconda Glades/Bootleg Glades - untracked and getting seriously soft and deep in the lower sections of Anaconda ( first shoulder nice and steep).
Decline - Icey bumps followed by really nice soft untracked all the way down with the left side really quite deep.
Finish with Skydive - Icey bumps in then just generally soft terrain skiing all the way down with afew alders on the exit.

Wing night at the pub where service seems to be getting a bit slow. Still snowing although not very hard but loads in the forecast. Everyone getting excited in advance of tomorrows Canada v Russia hockey game. Could be a great day skiing followed by beer and hockey - what could be better.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day 30 a much better day than anyone had expected

With a starting temp of-14, no significant snow overnight and overcast conditions all day we really expected a pretty average day just like yesterday. In the event although temps never got much above -10 and the snow continued very very light all day the hill somehow was in much better condition than it had been yesterday.

First thing I bumped into Neil ,an Aussie buddy from last year who is over for 6 weeks. He tells me his son Paul who we skied with last year is an avid reader of this blog and will be glad to know that the old man had an awesome day skiing. Better luck in getting the old feller to pay next year.

We went to the Old Side on the basis that Cedar High Traverse had been so slow over the past two cold days that there probably was some good snow on the end of it out beyond Snake Ridge. The light dust of overnight snow seemed to have a strange rejuvenating effect on the hill both in appearance and performance. The fresh snow made everything look so much better whilst the underlying conditions improved with the slick not being quite so slick and the heavy snow having lightened up back into genuine soft. Don't ask me how this sort of stuff happens, it just does.

Sunny side was a real pleasure with firm bumps taking a nice edge. First loop out across Cedar took us to Steep and Deep which was great soft partially tracked all the way down. We took a hitch back down Boom Ridge ( soft snow on hard bumps) before getting back to the start of the loop via Boom ( as per Boom Ridge). Next loop took in Redtree which was very much as Steep and Deep with some nice soft deep stuff just below the final line of alders. Another hitch on Boom Ridge and there was just time for a run down Cedar Ridge right which had improved a lot and softened before running back through Boom to the base for lunch.

You don't have to be a genius to work out that the morning require three pulls up Haul Back and as there is only one way worth skiing back from the top of Haul Back to the bottom of Boom - three runs through Kangaroo. The Roo hadn't really improved much and was icey bumps all the way down but hey, we have found a good way down onto the cat track at the half way mark so who cares.

After lunch we went to the new side and did 5 ripper runs on the front side -
Decline - Icey bumps in the top, nice and soft in the middle and enough dust on the lower section to improve edge grip. Right side easiest, left side most fun.
Cougar Glades - Nice and soft all the way down getting a bit scratchy on the chutes on the left side ski out.
Stag Leap - Approach much enlivened by a ski school group stopped on the Currie Creek shoulder with the instructor across the track addressing the group and the group members strung out along the traverse - a totally dumb action even by ski school standards. The Leap was soft all over but particularly good on the left side. Similarly left side ski out was a little scratchy but good skiing on the berms.
Window Chutes - Log drop at least starting to look a bit more normal but getting harder on the landing. The stream bed on the way out is a bit icey but it turns nice and soft just below the narrow section down to the cat track.
Final run down Skydive - Icey bumps at the top then great soft snow all the way to the bottom if a bit twiggy in the final section.

A much better day than anticipated without any real understanding of what had gone so right. A couple of beers in the bar then back home to watch Canada beat the USA 4-1 in the hockey - bring on Russia in the final. Hot tub and early night.

Things looking quite optimistic. There are moist disturbances coming in from the west but the timing and amount are uncertain. Worst case looks like 20 cms between now and the weekend and best case could be more than double that figure, fingers crossed.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day 29 more of the same

First off we have had news of the guy we helped out of Fish bowl the other day. Turns out he has two cracked vertebrae and concussion but is on the mend. All this happened while wearing a helmet which just convinces me that I won't be skiing with anyone not wearing one - it's bad enough having to fill out an incident report for the hill - I don't fancy having to fill out a coroners report.

We seem to be locked into a bit of a timewarp here with another cold day, no fresh snow, tough scabby conditions and not too many people on the hill. Starting temps were -14 and didn't get up much during the day and conditions were overcast with light flurries coming and going, no accumulation and such little snow as there was being very dry dust on crust. Not a lot to get excited about and certainly not the "awesome conditions" that official sources would have us believe to exist on the hill.

As I was giving a few hints to a buddy's wife on her skiing I didn't get about too much during the morning. We stuck to the new side dropping Currie a couple of times by Down Right and Currie Powder and cutting back off White Pass through Highline and the I bowl. In general conditions where hard pack/boiler plate with a bit of dust on crust and some fairly heavy packed but smooth blow in.

Late morning I found myself on my own so had a rip through Decline and Skydive before a late lunch. Conditions were just like yesterday - icy bumps at the top, chunky/heavy bumps mid section and decidedly scratchy on the lower part.

After a late lunch went back to the New Side with Lynda and Red Pants Rob and managed 4 loops before final bell - Decline, Cougar Glades, Stag Leap and Skydive. The conditions were again the same as yesterday and were highly marginal with very mixed conditions. As I have said before I enjoy this sort of stuff but I quite understand that for many this would not be considered very enjoyable skiing.

A few beers then home for a hot tub. Problem is that we haven't had the usual Christmas/ New Year dump so the snow base now is at least 50 cms below what we usually see even in a poor year. The base is ok but the conditions now only just about rate ok. Spoke to a buddy today who had booked next week off work but has decided to go back to Calgary as the conditions don't justify him using up his holiday - I guess that says it all.

You can only ski what's there so for the next few days looks like much the same but not really very good conditions - so it is.