Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day 53 heavy snow and ugly crowds

I suppose it we hadn't had the awesome conditions of the last week I would be a bit more enthusiastic about the conditions but as it is I would rate today as just about being on the positive side of ok.

First to deal with the crowds, they were about the worst I have ever seen. I suppose this is inevitable as the weekend warriors have been watching and waiting all week for their chance to get to the hill and experience the awesome powder. I heard that we had 6700 0n the hill today and that was with significant closures for avi risk ( most of Cedar bowl and Snake, most of Lizard bowl and Currie only open as far as Currie creek on the low traverse). I believe that the record is 7000 but with the limited terrain available it was quite possibly the busiest day. Riding up with some guys on a chair they said that they had tried to get a room in Fernie and there were no rooms of any kind available this weekend.

We had about 15 cms of snow overnight and it was still snowing as I got to the hill. Temps were around -4 to start with but during the day they rose to +3 at the base and about zero on top. The inevitable result was that at the base the precip changed to rain/drizzle and even on top the snow was very heavy and wet. The conditions became heavy wet snow which could not really be described as powder and whilst it was fun to ski it was a big come down from what we had earlier in the week, the light was also very socked in. I blame all the whingers who were whining after Tues and Wed about how cold it was and how they wanted things to warm up - beware of what your wish for, you may just get it !

I didn't think the Old Side would be much good with the warming conditions and a couple of buddies I met during the day who had tried it confirmed that view. I spent all morning looping White Pass through Surprise Trees several different ways. This was partly because of the poor light so the trees helped and partly because it took me past Anaconda Glades which I thought would be the first major opening. I was right late morning, the fence on Anaconda dropped and we had a great rip in heavy snow down the second chute. The near trees of Bootleg Glades were also untouched so we had some good heavy skiing in there.

Next time round they were about to drop the fence on Currie bowl so we waited and joined in the huge charge into 1-2-3s when the fence came down. Once again the snow was heavy and the sloughs from yourself and others were a real danger to stability. Due to avi risks Currie was a strange opening with the traverse closed so you were forced down Down Right and then a hard traverse under the Polar Peak loading station taking you to the low traverse out towards Skydive Traverse. A sign line was in place preventing you getting any further than Currie Creek not because the front runs were dangerous but because they would be used as access to Lizard bowl which was.

I just spent the rest of the day looping out into some part of Currie chutes, Concussion, Tom's etc and enjoying heavy creamy snow still untracked in a lot of places even at the end of the day. The bar was busy, but not as busy as I feared gived the crowds so we had a couple of beers and headed home after an ok day.

The snow was a little disappointing after this week but it was the crowds that really made the day tough. Firstly I only just made parking lot 2 despite arriving at 8:30, secondly I had to wait a long time at each lift even though I was riding single which reduced the amount of skiing to almost half what it would have been on a normal day and finally as I didn't want to risk the facilities at lunch time which I guessed (correctly) would be a complete zoo I skied through without a break which was very tiring in the conditions.

The forecast is calling for a cooling trend with more snow but quite honestly the rate of the warm up today caught the forecasters with their pants down so I am not sure at all how things are going to go.

No comments:

Post a Comment