Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 49 possibly the most awesome ski day ever

I say possibly because it's hard to remember over the (many) years every awesome ski day but sitting here looking back on today I can't immediately think of a better one and I have had lots of ski days.

The facts - it snowed over night and the official site claimed about 45 cms. Temps were down at -25 in the Elk Valley with a wind chill of -35 and a frostbite warning. To prove the point Crowsnest Pass closed last night and has not yet opened. When we arrived at the hill after a hairy drive it was -22 with no apparent signs of wind. What was apparent was tons of new snow and the fact that it was heaving down snow as hard as I have seen it as it continued to do all day.

The reasons why today was so great were -
1. Tons of snow, by lunch time they had revised the 24 hour snowfall to 75 cms and I have heard unofficial figures in the bar of 113 by the close as it puked snow all day. This was the deepest fresh snow I have ever skied.
2. The highway was closed so no one on the hill meaning fresh tracks were available all day if you were prepared to look. Furthermore there were no lift lines of any kind, in fact we skied straight onto the chairs as we arrived at every lift.
3. A fantastic job by ski patrol to get terrain open so we had the whole Old side triangle and Timber bowl on the New Side. A double plus in that about half the hill remains untouched and may be opening tomorrow with over a metre of fresh snow.
4. The snow came down at around -20 so it was dry champagne powder but there was so much of it you could float easily and it held you up well.

We went to the Old Side and as I have said we skied fresh champagne powder in temps of around -20 and in heavy snowfall all day. First rip down Boomerang and then a left cut into Boom Ridge set the tone. Huge over the head face shots all the time so you were skiing blind quite a lot of the time. We had to stop 3 times on the way down, not because we couldn't see (that didn't matter) but because we couldn't breath and just had continual facefulls of snow smothering us.

That was the morning all over Boomerang, Bear chutes, Buckshot, Boom Ridge, Linda's and all the areas in between. They had put a sign line down North Ridge preventing us getting into Cedar Ridge and we were just on the point of deciding to give the New Side a try when they dropped the signs.

If we thought the snow had been deep before it was just unreal in Cedar Ridge. By that time we must have had over 70 cms of fresh on yesterdays soft base. Add to that the ridge topography and some terrain issue and in places the snow actually reached my chest as I bounced a landing in some of the dips - what is the word beyond awesome I am looking for, epic was one that I heard repeated often even by the old Fernie crowd.

I have often said that you could spend all day dropping Cedar Ridge/King Fir and not cross your own tracks and today we put that to the test. With only a short half hour for lunch we just spent out time cycling the ridge through trees and always finding deeper snow as the snowfall continued. No point in giving details of each run as everything was the same, totally awesome and totally deep. Actually Kangaroo does deserve a quick mention as it was about the best I have seen it for years and we must have run through it about 8 times.

Towards the end of the afternoon the snow became a bit more grippy and harder to slide on and the light got worse. The conditions tended to make things a little tougher but by that stage we were all on fire and nothing was going to slow us down. Just managed a last chair up Boom before final bell for a great finishing rip down Boom bowl which had been filling in all day and even if it wasn't fresh it was one metre deep tracked powder which is pretty good in anyone's book.

We never got to the New Side but I am told that whilst only Timber bowl was open the skiing was just as spectacular as the Old Side. No Currie bowl so maybe that's something to look forward to. Unsurprisingly the odd beer was taken in the Griz bar by a bunch of very pumped up locals.

Looks like we may be getting a break in the snow for tomorrow but with temps remaining cool. If you can believe the forecast we should be hit by another precip cycle towards the end of the week - bring it on.

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