Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day 54 so much better than expected

I have often said that the best days on the hill are those when you go there with no great expectations and get a nice surprise - today was such a day. After the warm up yesterday we expected an icey crusty day to day. What we got was 18 cms of snow in the past 24 hour but best of all we had 10 cms overnight of what appeared to be solid grappel. The result was that everything was filled in, yesterdays damage was covered or repaired and we had the most wonderful hero type snow to float on/in mostly untracked all over the hill.

The facts were about 10 cms overnight, a base back up near 230 cms ( we above Lynda's safety level of 2 metres) and temps of around -4 which only rose to zero at the base and stayed well below that on top keeping the snow in great shape.

Our tactic today was to stay on the New Side. Our reasoning was that Lizard and Cedar bowls (inculding Snake Ridge) would be open after this mornings heli bombing and whilst the snow would be great ( I am sure it was) the crowds would be ugly, plus everyone would have underestimated just how much new terrain there was still to be had on the New Side. In the event we think we called it right, we got great New side skiing with hardly any lift line ups and on the odd occassion I looked over to Bear from the top of Sydive the line ups look worse than the New Side yesterday and I don't even want to think what Haul Back would have looked like.

Here's how the day went -
Two trips through Surprise Trees before Currie bowl opened getting first tracks in the right hand side on the first run and second in the left on the second. The snow was yesterday powder with 10 cms of grappel on top which gave great supportive hero powder to ride on top of - all runs all day were like this.
The fence dropped on Currie but the sign line at Cornice chute remained in place so I dropped in there with a few tracks in front.
Traversed into the Knot chutes (tight Knot) which were great easy (if a bit steep) skiing before heading out to Anaconda Glades to get first tracks in the second chute which you could almost straight line. Final exit via Bootleg where again the first chute in the trees was untracked. As I skied out of Bootleg I noticed the patrol carrying the temporary signs out of Currie Creek so things were open.
Got to Skydive which already had about half a dozen tracks in it but but staying close to the edge there was stacks of untracked - still this hero snow everywhere.
Next into Cougar Glades which had a few tracks in the top that disappeared as you went down, exit by the left hand chute that was mostly untracked.
The Brain was next on the menu with only a couple of tracks ahead of us. This was truely awesome as the hero snow was just what was needed to cover the dead fall and make really ripping it for the first time this season an option.
The high Reverse Traverse opened (we had been low up to now) and we looked at Corner Pocket which amazingly was down to the tires already. We went to Lone Fir which only had a few tracks in and as always the biggest problem was being barrelled out but our own sloughs.
Next time we went one further into the chute one beyond Lone Fir which no one sems to be sure of the name and I call One Step Beyond. Untracked and awesome. We were so pumped up we crossed Easter bowl and dropped in to Spinal Tap wich is now filled up with more snow although there are still some big drops into the stream bed as you work the terrain on the way down.
Having worked hard we took and "easy" run through the trees into Stag Leap which was tracked up but still in pretty good shape, well worth the rip.
Back to work so we hit the top of Decline then into Window chutes where the log drop even in it's steepest part isn't much more tha a metre. Snow was great and deep most of the way down but there is still the ice sheet on the steep part of the narrow exit to catch out the unwary.
A return to Cougar Glades showed that there was still some untracked if you were prepared to work hard and tight to the trees on the left hand side.
Final rip down Skydive in company was as always a great way to finish.

So this was a really big day with 7 hours of skiing and no break - probably my biggest day of the season. Conditions remained great throughout and there were no crowds, at least on the New Side. I have to have some sympathy for the weekend warriors who could only make yesterday and as a result had a pretty poor time. Those who stayed today had a better story to tell.

Forecasts very undecided (as am I) as to what is going to happen.

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