Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 43 No new snow but still pretty good

There was no new snow over night but the figures showed that we got 25/30 cms out of the last cycle and the base had risen to 167 cms. Temps dropped as forecast to around -12 at the base at the start and a few degrees lower at the top. Whilst temps rose a little on the Old Side during the day they stayed well down in minus double digits on the New Side. It wasn't quite a bluebird day but there was plenty of sunshine and we had all the cold weather/sun reactions you would expect such as sun dogs, angel dust, clear ski snow and all those other sights which make skiing such a wonderful experience.

We went to the Old Side and it turned out to be a great idea. As we traversed across the top of Cedar bowl we noticed that the sign line on the far side was red. As I understand it Snake Ridge was open early yesterday but was closed around midday so the tracks were all filled in by yesterday's day time snow. As we approached the line we noticed patrollers dropping the signs from above and even though when we reached the line it was still red we shouted up and got the all clear so headed off on the traverse.

We got as far as Snake main before we were just overcome with the awesomeness of what was on offer and dropped. Great powder all the way down and even the hop into lower Gorby bowl wasn't too scratchy and became good powder the further down you went. We did a quick loop via Boomerang which was soft snow on some quite hard bumps and then went out again to Steep and Deep which was every bit as good as Snake. All loops were returned via Kangaroo which was skiing well except for the drop onto the cat track which had been cut back about a metre into the hill.

The only disappointment on the Old Side was Boomerang Ridge on account of the fact of it having been groomed. Now, I understand that groomers have to exist for those who want to ski them. I even accept that when a slope is icey bumps then grooming can be a good idea ahead of a weather cycle to improve the powder experience. What you don't need to do is groom in powder as happened today and reduce the powder options on that part of the hill. It's not as if there are any shortage of groomed runs down from Boom top to Boom base, You can take North Ridge, Bear/Kodiak, Cruiser/Cedar Trail or any permutation. Grooming Boom ridge is an act of out and out vandalism - perhaps they should change the strap line on the advertising to Fernie - Legendary Groomers.

We heard that the Saddles had opened so having had some great Old Side skiing we headed off to the New Side. Unfortunately we didn't arrive at the Saddles until late morning and they were mostly scraped out. Corner Pocket had all tires exposed and we left it alone. High Saddle could be negotiated with some edge to edge jumping and a little slithering and low Saddle was icey and you had to manage your jump turns between the exposed rocks. In both cases the skiing under the Saddles was awesome mostly untracked powder particularly in the chutes below the right cut in low Saddle.

After that it was just adventuring all over the New Side some of which worked out well and some not so -
Anaconda Glades - awesome deep powder, jumped the high shoulder for the first time and was almost taked out but my own slough.
Bootleg Glades - great powder with a hard base.
Concussion - Very good powder chutes.
Easter bowl - Really awesome deep snow at the top and still pretty good snow even in the bottom.
Cougar Glades - Great tree skiing but still touching the base as you got low down.
Window Chutes - Very challenging untracked in the top with lots of ground obstructions inculding the log jump with a 90 degree turn. Icey in the lower parts but great fun.
The Brain - Ok in the top but a big mistake to take it to the bottom because of the uncovered timber obstructions. Still a lot of fun to meet the challenges and jump round those obstructions.
Decline top - before dropping into Window chutes this was just as good as it has been for the past few days.
Skydive - last run. The club was bit reduced in numbers and below the trail it was down to just two. The mid section is now some of the best powder on the hill only lightly tracked because of closures but the lower section remains a twiggy challenge but still very interesting.

Looks like a cooling cycle on the way with not much snow for a few days then a nice little precip cycle next week - maybe.

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