Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 46 a nice eventful powder day

Overnight we had 5 cms of fresh pushing the base back up to 166 cms and the forecast is for more snow over the next few days. During the day it continued to snow off and on so that the snowfall was about doubled and we had some good fill in snow plus a load of wind fill in the ever continuing windy conditions.

We went to the New side partly to be ready for the opening of the new Polar Peak chair at 11 and mostly because on the Old Side at the weekends when we have powder the fresh tracks will have been trashed by some pay for powder group (first tracks, breakfast club etc) who are allowed on the hill before all of the rest of us fare paying customers. My views on this practice are well known and for the most part unprintable. In a nutshell I believe that first tracks are there for those who are prepared to get to the hill early, stand in line and then work for those first turns. I think the idea that certain groups just by paying even more cash than the rest of us should be entitled to a free run at the hill is totally out of order and goes against the whole mountain culture of skiing.

It was put to me yesterday that pay for powder was acceptable on the grounds that every hill does it and all sports/social clubs grant periods of exclusivity to groups who are prepared to pay. My thoughts are that just because everyone does it doesn't make it right, it just makes all of them wrong. Further more the comparison with other organisations doesn't hold water. If a group uses a golf course or a gym, when the usual members are allowed back in, the course/kit is in pristine condition. With first tracks the hill has been trashed and what is available to the rest of us are the left overs. It is as if the exclusive golfers ripped up the greens and took the turf with them leaving the members to play on dirt, it's just wrong, end of story - rant over.

The new snow on top of the wind sift from yesterday had a great effect. Everywhere you went on the New side there was untracked snow to be had or at least well sifted in new stuff. For the most part it was slightly heavy hero snow where you only touched the bottom in places. We drifted around White Pass with some particularly nice runs back through Surprise until Currie Bowl opened.

Just before Currie had opened we had a trip through Anaconda Glades and Bootleg Glades which were either first or early tracks and even at that early stage were probably some of the best steep and deep tracks to be had all day. After the Currie opening the traverse at the County Line was only open from low down but it did enable us to hit the far Concussion chutes and Cougar Glades both for awesome deep fresh powder on windsift first tracks.

We went towards the opening of Polar Chair at about 11 and saw the chair stopped and huge line ups. My understanding is that the lift ran for 16 minutes before closing down due to 90 km winds at the top and the chair was stopped for a considerable time while the close down was effected. So Polar Peak opened but so what - I have skied the peak in those kind of conditions when I have been weathered in after boot packing up there. It isn't much fun, there is no view and the skiing is pretty crap. I took the view that as both the peak and the chair are not going anywhere there will be better days to go up there and so headed out to Easter for a most awesome rip in wind sifted powder via the high traverse which had now been opened.

We spent all the rest of the day over the New side skiing in no particular order and several times, Cougar Glades, Easter bowl, Skydive, Stag leap, Concussion, Tom's run, Decline and Secret chutes. No real point in describing them or differentiating between them as they were all great with filling in powder as the day went on. Perhaps a special mention to Secret chute is due as this does seem to be the deepest powder we found.

After skiing we ended up in the Griz bar at the Polar Peak/ Avi awareness party drinking far too much beer and dancing to the awesome Shred Kelly. The temps are much higher than predicted (zero) and we still have some precip so we can't work out if what we had was the forecast dump or whether that is still to come - we shall see.

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