Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 33 No new snow but the best day yet

So how did we have such a great day with no new snow - the answer is that they opened the Saddles for the first time in about 7 days and as a result we had awesome deep powder skiing most of the day, but more of that later.

When we arrived at the hill today temps were -9 at the base and a couple of degrees colder on top. During the day temps came up a bit but I guess it remained below freezing at the base and about -5 up high. No new snow and the base hanging in at 160 cms. There was some light cloud that broke up during the day and conditions were only just short of "bluebird".

Being New Years Day (by the way Happy New Year) the morning crowds were way down and in fact it was quieter than a normal Sunday. This was good news as the low numbers meant that when the new snow became available it didn't get the beating that it otherwise might. We went to the New Side - now I know this is starting to sound like a New Side only blog but heard me out and you will understand why it was yet another New Side day.

We went out looking for the high traverse in Currie and found it closed so we had a nice drop down Severe Concession which had some nice blow in. Generally the cooler temps meant that yesterdays tracked powder had been dried out into some fairly chunky dry snow which was pretty hard to push around.

Next time round we found that the Reverse Traverse had been opened at the County Line and that all the Saddles were open for the first time in over a week. The order of play was -
Corner Pocket - all tires covered, great powder edge to edge jumping all the way down and awesome powder pretty well untracked for 7 days when you hit Lizard bowl. The final drop through Easter was a little tracked up but ok skiing and the exit that we used all morning.
High Saddle - wonderful powder all the way down the chute that could be skied by jumping turns, below it was just as Corner Pocket.
Low Saddle - excellent powder in the chute itself. As always we cut skiers right as soon as possible and found the untracked chutes under the cliffs for first tracks in those chutes, exit via Easter.
Low Saddle - again and the same tactic. This time there were a few more tracks in the chutes but the right cut still gave us a load of untracked skiing into Easter.
Lone Fir - as I always say this is some of the steepest and tightest skiing on the hill and today it was just perfect. We were about third tracks in and it was steep deep powder with the main danger being barreled out by your own slough, in fact Lynda nearly was. The pitch below the chute through the avi damaged trees was the deepest untracked powder so far this season.

In the afternoon we returned but found the usual problem that some not very good skiers/boarders had side slipped the chutes and they were becoming scraped out - I do wish people who can't ski or ride the Saddles would stay out of them instead of trashing them for everyone else. High Saddle was tougher in the chute but a re run of the morning below.

We decided to try some adventuring and hit Window Chutes for the first time from Decline. It was great in the top but a bit breakable crust in the middle with lots of ground obstructions exposed. We had to ski round the log drop as it was not yet covered but in the lower section the traffic had created a harder and slightly icey base which actually was a rather better skiing surface all the way to the cat track.

Last loop we dropped back off the top of White Pass as we hadn't done this today and went out to Triple trees which as always had plenty of un skied lines even if the drop onto Trespass Trail did tend to shake a few fillings loose. Last run was Skydive top and cut into Decline bottom. The Skydive top was as always just awesome hardly tracked powder, the lower part of Decline is still pretty twiggy but now at least skiable in the sense that you can link turns all the way down.

Nothing in the forecast for a few days but the crowds should fall off and things get back to normal.

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