Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day 37 Most places ugly but a few ok

First of all I would say that I was wrong yesterday when I said that it was spring. As I was having coffee in bed this morning listening to the radio I heard that there had been a grass fire over in Alberta at Nanton (just over two hours drive fron here) that had burned 60 square kms of land and half a dozen homes - this isn't spring, this is summer.

It didn't rain overnight but it did blow and wind damage was evident particularly on the New Side. On the way to the hill it was +4 and stayed that way all morning at the base before cooling to +1 this evening. Up top it was zero or just below all of the day, cooling as the day went on under overcast conditions which gave very flat light for most of the day.

The effect on the hill was interesting. At the very base the surface turned to slush and stayed that way but no where near as bad as yesterday. The groomers at any elevation were slick fast and very icey - I understand the Bear was particularly bad although I didn't ski it myself. Up higher and away from the groomers the surfaces refroze from yesterday's melt down but with very varied results. We went to the New Side in the hope that the higher slopes had not been so badly affected by the melt yesterday but in the event I think all elevations were equally badly affected.

The drop down Lift Line from Timber top just about summed things up - it was hard and icey but taking an edge if you worked at it. Mostly we just dropped the line but with an occasional detour into Big Bang. In the whole day I didn't see anyone else in Lift Line either while skiing it or from the lift, this must say something but I am not sure what.

Gun bowl and Quite Right were much the same with a hard icey base just taking an edge. After that we worked our way round the Concussion Chutes and the Currie Chutes which went from ok ice pellets taking an edge to ugly sheet ice. The didn't seem to be any correlation to hight or aspect to explain the variences. A good example was 1-2-3s which was an ok surface taking an edge in all three pitches and Easter bowl (same elevation and aspect more or less) which was just hard icey bumps top to bottom and that in not very good light.

The ski out routes were equally varied -
Gilmar Trail - slick ice all the way down except in the bare patches
Diamond back ridge - ok in the top but very ugly and stumpy on the last pitch
Bootleg Glades - best of all of them and just a bit slick in the alders at the bottom.

After lunch I tried the Old Side but found Boomerang and Cedar Ridge pretty icey and tracked so I headed back to the New Side. Spent the rest of the afternoon with a re run of the morning before venturing out to Tom's run which was pretty ugly ice tufts. By late afternoon the temps were dropping and the grappel showers that we had had off and on all day began to get heavier becoming real snow by last run.

I quite enjoyed the day. I have tried to explain this before, the difference between good/bad conditions and how much fun you have. I know there are plenty who think that unless conditions are good you can't have fun but I disagree. To me skiing an ugly challenging ice run in half good style gives me a sense of achievement and I would call that fun. In a nutshell a predominantly ugly day like today can be (and was) enjoyable.

I came off the hill a liitle early as my boots are starting to fall apart after 500 days (Bill days) of skiing so I had to go the Top Shelf ( best boot fitters in my opinion) to start to organise some new footware. First fitting Monday at 9 as long as it isn't a powder day. On the subject of the weather we appear to have gotten away with it again by having a big warm up but the precip coming on the cooling tail, that having been said, there comes a time when we don't want to just get away with it but to get some serious winter snow and that time is long past.


  1. No rain at the hill? How is that possible?! It was coming down in torrents in town last night near 7Eleven.

  2. I can only say that if it had been raining at the hill low down it would have snow on top. There was no new snow so I guess no rain,