Friday, January 6, 2012

Day 38 a levelling down of conditions

Whilst yesterday we had very varied conditions ranging from soft blow in to sheet ice today things seemed to find their level so that most parts of the hill were much the same and not all that good wherever you went.

Overnight we had 2 cms of fresh which didn't make much difference to the conditions but did make things look a bit better which is always nice - the mid mountain base was 152 cms but I would be willing to bet the base at the base would be about 10% of that figure, there were still many bare patches on the lower groomers. Temps on the way to the hill were -1 and around -6 on top and whilst the base may have warmed a little the upper temps stayed the same most of the day.

Conditions were overcast with some late afternoon flurries which didn't really amount to anything. Our hope was that the dry cold would have made the skiing surface nice and crisp but in the event we got hard icey bases with tufted crust and some blow in between the outcrops - this was everywhere to a greater or lesser degree. We went to the New Side and stayed if only because all the reports I got from ski buddies confirmed that the Old Side was if anything worse. I realise this is becoming a bit of a New Side blog and promise a few runs on the Old Side tomorrow in the interests of balanced reporting.

Lift Line was a bit tougher than yesterday with icey chunks but more people seemed to be using it. For most of the day I dropped the top section which was ok before cutting left into the trees between Lift Line and Big Bang which offered the best windsift. First run off White Pass was back through the Gun bowl and Quite Right which was light blow in on ice. Next we tried Surprise Trees and found more dust on crust getting more icey lower down.

Anaconda Glades gave up some of the best snow of the day because of the ridgeline wind sift but the next section via Bootleg whilst ok dust on Crust was made more difficult by last nights grooming pushing a load of death cookies into the chute. Next was 1-2-3s which whilst not as good as yesterday was still giving a reasonable edge grip in all three sections. Bootleg next time round was no better.

Next was a series of runs through the various Concussion chutes which were now all some light blow in on very uneven icey bases. The exit on Gilmar trail was always very slick and icey. We had an early lunch as it seemed cold although the mercury was only showing about -5 so a stop for and extra layer seemed appropriate.

In the afternoon with Lynda headed off to the gym and left to my own devices I decided to do a bit of adventuring -
Cougar Glades - pretty crunchy in the top and very crunchy in the last few turns above the trail. The ski out was ugly ice with branches and tree stumps.
Easter Bowl - actually very nice in the upper sections with the blow in forming wind grooming but going to hard icey bumps in the lower section.
Cornice Chute - not quite sure why I did this except that the blow in looked nice. Very patchy with tufted ice between the blow in. The good news is that the latest conditions have got rid of the large death cookies at the bottom section and replaced them with lots of small ones.
Decline - As I expected the top section was very nice with untracked blow in down to the first trail, nice to get first tracks that late in the afternoon. I had planned to ski out along the trail into Easter but in a fit of stupidity I hit the bottom section. Actually although it was a little crunchy in places and a bit technical in others it was great skiing.

To fill in time I did a couple of loops in Surprise trees at the end of the day and found that they were still crunchy and quite ugly but as I was obviously getting used to the conditions I could give it a really good rip. Final run was Sydive top and a cut into Decline lower with a buddy (welcome back Rod) which again was good sking up high and a bit technical low down but well worth the effort.

Once again not a day for the purist. If you are looking for great powder then this isn't the time for you. If you want tough challenging skiing that gives you a great thirst in the bar afterwards then enjoy.

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