Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 60 awesome on top, ugly down below

After yesterday's break it was time to get out on the hill and trash whatever we could find. As far as I can work out, despite various buddies trying to wind me up about yesterday's skiing, it was, as I predicted pretty poor with Polar Peak closed most of the time.

Today was supposed to be the peak warm up of a wet front moving through and to judge from conditions this was probably right. On the way to the hill it was +2 and got up to +4 during the day whilst on top it struggled to stay at or below zero. It was raining low down and during the morning the rain line rose to about one third of the way up the hill before the precip stopped around 1 0'clock. Late afternoon it restarted with rain on the very bottom but some ice pellets further up. Total overnight accumulation at the snow plot was 16 cms and the base was up at 250 cms.

The result was awsome if rather heavy untracked new snow on the top 75/80% of the hill and a rain line low down which gave some of the stickiest snow yet this year. A patrol buddy of mind emerged onto the lower hill in Fall Out only to find about 20 people face down in the snow from the effects of the rain glue.

For obvious reasons we decided to go high and stay high and in the upper reaches of the hill conditions were as good as I have ever seen them with this amount snow. The top of the hill was very socked in with hardly any viz at the top of White Pass (although it did get a bit better in the afternoon) and no chance of Polar Peak being opened today - all the more for us when it does.

We had a rolling opening so the first few runs were just back to White Pass through Quite Right and the trees around that area. As soon as they dropped the fence above the I bowl we traversed out towards Surprise Trees but the snow was so deep we couldn't make the traverse and had to drop into the I bowl for deep fresh tracks just to get down.

Next time round we hit the Knot chutes (tight knot) to get height and made it out on the traverse only to find that Anaconda Glades had opened. We hiked the hump and hit the first chute which was untouched deep powder. From there it was a drop into the untracked near chutes of Bootleg Glades which were equally awesome. It was after that we hit the glue pot at the bottom of Gilmar Trail which stayed that way until a little skier traffic chopped it up.

We did a repeat run Knot Chutes, Anaconda (one chute further) Bootleg Glades which was just as good as before. Each drop from Timber was an alternation of Lift Line and Mitchy Chutes and every time it was good wind sifted powder.

After that it was loops out into Currie bowl which had just opened and yet again an immediate opening of the Reverse Traverse which I now am sure is going to be open more often because of the stabalizing effect of skier traffic in the Polar Chutes.

We hit Cougar Glades (mostly untracked), Stag Leap (even less untracked), Decline top/Widow chutes (only two tracks but one a board that had side slipped, hanging is too good for them) The Brain (untracked on the right) Knot Chutes/Surprise, Knot chutes Anaconda (A3 mostly untracked).

Late in the afternoon I tracked across the top of the Knot chutes for the first time this year to get to Gotta Go and was amazed to find only one track in the great steep and deep chute in front of me. I later discovered that this was because patrol had forgotten to open Gotta Go after they had cleared 3's and as a result it had only been opened a few minutes before I got there - works for me.

A final Tight Knot/Surprise loop to kill time both of which were still good deep snow and then the final rip down Skydive. This rip was just like all the others, 75% awesome and 25% ugly wet snow, still an acceptable price to pay in my view.

It has ben raining all evening but as I am writing this the rain is changing to snow even down here in town so maybe tomorrow may be interesting.

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