Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 120 Furnival and more awesome winter powder

I did say that I would do the two days of Fernival as a single report but today was so exceptional it deserves a report in it's own right. Fernival is supposed to be a party weekend which is all about spring skiing on your rock skis while you pick your way through the icey cat tracks to the base and spend your time drinking beer, listening to live music and partying with your buddies - not this year. After official closing day last Sunday we had 30 cms of fresh up to midday Friday and another 10 overnight into Saturday with a result the base was 445 cms and the conditions fresh winter powder. As we arrived at the hill it was -1 and snowing which it did in one form or another all day - as an aside the total snowfall for the season passed the 11 metre mark, think about it. Furnival is an Old side only event but when we started we had all of Lizard bowl and Cedar bowl across to the Snake Ridge sign line. We just dropped Cedar ridge which was over knee deep, mostly untracked and awesome winter powder. Kangaroo was similarly powder all the way down so you could ignore the bumps and just throw GS turns with some air. We looped back Bear chutes (deep with plenty of untracked) and Buck shot (see Bear chutes). Half way through the morning they closed Lizard and Alpine way so that we were locked into the Old side triangle which had a fair amount of traffic and as the snow/rain line started to move up the hill the lower parts became a bit heavy and very wet. Looping Cedar Ridge, King Fir, Linda's, Bear chutes, Buck shot, Boom bowl, Boom ridge and all permutations thereof gave great powder skiing which got heavier as the day went on. Must have dropped Kangaroo 8 times which was amazing for Furnival weekend. Lynda and I had decided on a strategy to ski until it got too wet then finish rather than having a lunch break. Good call as just after 2 we were soaked in the continuing precip and came off the hill, loaded all surplus gear out of the locker into the car and hit the bar. Great drinks with buddies and listened to Trooper (a real blast from the past) before coming home for a quiet night in with beer and play off hockey. What will tomorrow hold ?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 119 not a bad final day for an awesome season

Overnight the temps dropped but not that far so that it froze like the previous night and as a result whilst everything had frozen it was softening pretty quick as the day wore on. The obvious tactic was, as both north and south facing slopes had thawed and refrozen, to stay on the groomers (not something you often hear me say) and then try the south facing slopes as the sun got to them and then the north facing slopes as the general warming takes place. The day started sunny but fairly quickly clouded over so that the temps didn't rise quite as quickly as yesterday and by afternoon there were even some flurries on the upper hill and much of what had softened earlier started to set up. We went to the Old side and spent some time cruising round Lizard and Cedar bowl on the groomers waiting for something to happen. First attempt was Sunny side shoulder which was softening more than we thought. Next a couple of trips into lower Easter which were pretty chunky compared with yesterday. Cedar ridge was ok but not great and a couple of loops down Boom bowl showed it was getting very slushy and hard work where it hadn't been skied. Final attempt of the morning was run out to Redtree which proved to be a big mistake as while it was ok in the first third the rest just got softer and more slushy on the way down and as a result very tough skiing. In the afternoon we went to the New Side where the drop down Lift Line which we took every time was probably some of the best soft snow on the hill. We tried a drop down High Saddle (when was the last time we ever skied the Saddles on the last day of the season) which was not that great and the snow that had been untracked powder underneath yesterday was now tracked up hard pack. A right swing into Easter bowl showed that the north facing stuff in Easter was still pretty good. The rest of the afternoon was spent hiking into Easter bowl for great soft snow. We tried Decline which was excellent in the top but super slush in the bottom section. Last run on the New side for the season had to be Skydive which just like Decline was excellent in the top just getting worse as you went down. That was it. Only the bonus weekend next weekend which in truth is more about drinking than skiing. I will post a report on both days next Sunday night. After that I will probably post a season summary report with my thoughts on the whole season. Watch this space.