Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 50 Debate, debate, debate

Yes the awesome conditions that we have had over the last few days have given rise to loads of debate as you would expect from opinionated and for the most part beer fuelled hard core skiers. The first question is, was yesterday better than Champagne Tuesday. For those who don't know Champagne Tuesday was a day in 1996 of confirmed awesomeness. The other topic of debate is. was today better than yesterday ?

My view ( and the advantage of having your own blog is that your view is the one that gets published) is, who cares. If we are debating if yesterday's skiing was better or worse than a day 16 years ago then by implication it is better than any day in the intervening 16 years and that's good enough for me. As for today v yesterday I think that yesterday's conditions were better with the fresh snow but today there was much more terrain opened, most of it untracked as it was closed yesterday so as far as I am concerned it was a tie.

It was colder today with my deck temp showing -29 and the car on the way to the hill -26. This confirmed the official figure which also gave an inversion with temps at the top -16 which felt about right. There was a wind chill warning down to -40 and whilst this may have happened in the valley the wind was about as light as it has been all season. Officiall we had 39 cms in the last 24 hours and the base was up to a reassuring 230 cms. Very light snow started around mid day and continued but without any significant accumulations.

Having spent all yesterday on the Old Side I (Lynda caught the bus at 5 am to go back to the UK for 10 days) went to the New Side. The reasoning was that the Old Side at best would open Lizard and Cedar bowl neither of which would have been steep enough to provide great skiing in the powder. There was an outside chance that Snake Ridge would have opened but it seemed unlikely and in the event it didn't and even if it did it would be hard work to get out there. On the other hand the New Side promised Currie bowl which looked to be (and in the event was) totally awesome.

I had to drift around for a couple of hours waiting to get Currie bowl open but filled in the time looping through Gun bowl (nice and soft) Knot chutes (still really steep and deep) and Surprise Trees which still had some fairly deep powder in places. Having hear that Siberia Ridge was open I dropped Triple Trees to the base ( great untracked powder but a pretty big air drop off on to Trespass Trail) with a view to giving it a go. I found it was still closed so looped back through some very deep tracked powder in Mitchy's chutes. It was getting on for lunch time and I was getting ready for a quick break when they dropped the fence on Currie bowl.

As usual the herd dropped straight into 1-2-3s and the rest of us held back and took the Reverse Traverse out to try the front runs which had been closed and were just sitting there with about 1 metre of untracked powder waiting to be trashed. The results were -

Skydive - a small group had got there before me but still awesome untracked powder from top to bottom. I have developed a technique of stopping breathing as you hit the troughs and get total over the head face shots and then look out for (if you can) a bump to spring your head clear of the snow and grab a breath before going down again. I have never heard of this technique being taught anywhere but it is high on my list of things to do to survive a powder day in Fernie so perhaps it ought to be.
Cougar glades - tracked in the entrance but large untracked areas as you moved lower down. The left hand ski out in the creek bed was some of the deepest untracked snow on the hill, breathing a real difficulty.
Stag Leap - mostly untracked through the trees at the top and then still plenty of fresh in the run itself. Still a bit twiggy on the ski out but face shots at every stage of the run.
Easter Bowl - great deep powder but tracked up a bit in places, still would be called awesome in any other circumstances.
Decline - Great skiing in the top section which got better as tracks dropped off to the left leaving loads of untracked (still a metre deep - just a reminder) all the way down. Almost all of the small trees in the bottom section are now covered.
Surprise Trees - with some time to kill we did a loop in Surprise and still found lots of deep soft snow in the top getting a bit tracked out lower down.

Final run was Skydive as usual which whilst a little more tracked up was still great deep awesome tracked powder all the way down. Beers then home, no hot tub until I can have enough energy left after a days skiing to spend about a half hour shovelling off the tub and deck.

Runs I didn't do but will probably try tomorrow include The Brain, Window chutes, Spinal Tap, Lone Fir, Gotta Go, to name but a few so it looks like tomorrow morning is taken care of.

More snow in the out look.

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