Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day 35 People but no crowds

Or should that read crowds but no people, let me explain. I had expected a lot fewer people at the hill today and so was disappointed to find that parking lot 2 was quite full, there were quite a few people around at the base and the ski racks seemed fairly full. The expectation was that the crowds were still with us but in the event we had some of the best untracked skiing of the season so far.

Over night temps had risen so it was +2 when we arrived at the hill and probably got up to about +4 during the day. Temps at the top were -2 and I guess held at about zero for most of the day. We had seen a little flurry activity overnight but were surprised to see the boards claiming 5 cms of fresh and a base of 157. We had our doubts as we got ready to ski but actually there was at least 5 cms of new powder (a little heavy) which had a great effect on repairing the hill after the holiday period and on the New Side some additional blow in which continued all day.

Our stratagy was to go to the Old Side and ski the fresh snow in the morning before it got too warm low down then move higher on the New Side in the afternoon as temperatures rose - it actually worked out well for a change. This was one of those days when we arrived with no great expectations but found that overall the conditions were really very nice all day which somehow is the best way for things to happen.

On the Old Side our fresh track experience started when we put first tracks in Boom bowl and then worked our way out left at the bottom also for first tracks. Next was Boom Ridge, also first tracks on soft bumps under the new snow. We then hit Cedar Ridge (Lynda left and me right) and both reported no tracks in front of us all the way down.

This was getting very weird as there were people around but they all seemed to be sticking to the groomers and first tracks were there for the taking all morning. Next we did King Fir and all three sections were untracked. Next stop Linda's run, and yes you guessed it this was untracked as well. By this time it was about 11:30 and we still hadn't had to cross any other tracks. To put things in perspective this was only 5 cms of fresh on a soft base so we weren't talking awesome powder but it was still pretty good.

Last run before lunch we looped right out to the boundary fence and skied Steep and Deep. Although there had been a few tracks in front of us the face is so large that untracked skiing was there for the taking until you hit the right hand chute into lower Gorby which was surprisingly good all the way down to Haul Back. A special mention for Kangaroo which we skied 3 time top to bottom and which was ok with the new snow in the top nice and soft and the warm conditions softening the bumps in the lower section - I guess Kangaroo will now be the trail of choice when dropping from Haul Back top to Boom bottom.

In the afternoon we went to the New Side and found much the same conditions but with more wind sift to the point where after skiing the Severe Concussion chute I looked back up at where I had skied and it was untracked - the wind was sifting the snow faster than I could track it up.
Concussion - great blow in powder on a soft base in all the chutes
Cougar Glades - really really great powder all the way down.
Ananconda Glades - Deep snow in the first chute over the hump and I guess we got about third tracks which was good enough.
Bootleg Glades - the near tree chute had filled in and the rest was ok but a bit scratchy underneath down to the Gilmar trail
Lift Line/Big Bang - good deep blow in that was forming wind grooming in the bowl.
Mitchy Chutes - just like Big Bang and just as great except for some dickhead who cut me off from the right hand side of the trail and nearly caused a major stack just by being stupid. After that the drop was fine.

Last run of the day was the daily meeting of the Skydive club - only 5 memebrs today. Top of Skydive was just awesome powder with very few tracks and we exited through the lower part of Decline which is becoming almost civilised with the new snow.

In the bar I was given a hard time over how late the blog is appearing each day but what can I do ? It takes an hour to type and that is always after some significant bar/hot tub time. I guess I will just have to try harder. Another warm day forecast with the danger of precip which would come down as liquid powder ( I understand all precip is now called powder of one kind or another) but perhaps with some flurry activity first - whatwever it is we will ski it.

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