Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 62 time to Saddle up again

Yes, today was one of those days when the Saddles opened and you could just rock through them all day and we did - but I am getting ahead of myself.

The overnight report was of 3 cms of new snow raising the base to 283 cms. Arriving at the hill it was about +2 at the base and about -3 at the top and neither of these temps seemed to change much during the day. For some reason the plus temps at the base didn't seem to have any softening effect on the snow. During the day we had flurries on and off which produced some nice grappel fill in and this together with the wind sift produced new, untracked snow which was always challenging in the way it pulled at your skis.

When I got to the hill we were told by a ski host that everything off the groomers was boiler plate - this was obviously nonsense but we were happy to see this mis information being handed out as it kept wannabes out of the lines we were looking for. We figured that the Old Side would be a bit low and heavy yesterday and the lower parts of the big three would be similar so by today they would be refrozen crud and would be best avoided.

We went to the New Side and had a couple of runs back down White Pass to check the conditions which were a bit tougher than yesterday but ok windsift. We went out into Currie bowl where the traverse was only open below the Polar Sink and we went out to Concussion. We tested Concussion and found it was great and untracked in the top. We took it all the way down to see where it turned ugly but to be fair we got to the Gilmar Trail and everything was in ok shape.

At the top of White Pass next time a patrol buddy told me that the Saddles were open despite the fact that the high traverse was not. We took a long side step traverse up to Corner Pocket and were second tracks in with the chute in perfect condition and the powder underneath just awesome if the light was a little flat. We cut into Easter Bowl which had been closed yesterday and were amazed to find just how much untracked there still was in there even though it had been open all morning.

Next low loop we went out the Easter and found loads of more untracked snow. The nice thing about Easter is that it is such a wide open bowl that you can find fresh tracks in there long after the top of the bowl has been opened - we did, awesome.

On the next time round we found the Reverse Traverse had been opened and we were second track across. I passed on the chance to drop High Saddle just ahead of a board that had hiked up from the low traverse and hit Lone Fir which had a couple of tracks in but awesome powder under the chute and plenty of untracked lines.

After that it was -

High Saddle - great skiing in the chute itself for the first time this season and even better powder underneath with only a couple of tracks ahead.
One Step Beyond - the chute beyond Lone Fir. Amazingly there were a couple of tracks in there but by playing the side chutes there was lots of very deep untracked for me.
Low Saddle - the saddle had been tracked but a right cut into the chutes and yet again it was untracked powder. Even this late in the day the exit via Easter was still providing some fresh lines near the left side trees.
Secrect Chutes - great powder top to bottom in about 3 GS turns - over the head face shots all the way down through the trees as far as Freeway.
Tight Knot/Anaconda A1/Bootleg Glades near trees - a great run with deep tracked powder and a lot of untracked snow on the Anaconda shoulder
Tight Knot/Surprise Trees - a nice time filler at the end of the day with the days accumulation in Surprise, surprisingly good.

Final run of the day was a rip dow Skydive which was awesome on top, pretty good in the middle section and bear ass ugly refrozen crud for the final pitch - no guts no glory.

Maybe more snow and a cooling trend for at least one more day so perhaps we get Polar Peak tomorrow.

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