Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 63 where did that come from

With no real expectation that things were going to be much good we had a really good day. Overnight there had only been 1 cm of snow with the base coming up to 278 cms but when we got up there it seeemed to us that there had been rather more than just 1 cm as everything was filled in and if the surface was not great powder it was least nicely renewed on yesterday's tracked up soft snow.

A big plus was that it started to snow in flurries all morning and by the afternoon it was coming down hard with enough accumulation to make even to lower parts of the big three just about acceptable if tough work. As we left the hill tonight it was still coming down pretty hard and although it has stopped here in town, looking back at the hill it still seems to be snowing to me. Temps at the base were a couple of degrees above freezing and about -3 on top although by this evening the base temps were -1, and I assume everything else was accordingly cooler.

We had buddies with us, one of whom was trying out new skis having lost one in Surprise Trees a few days ago so the start was a bit slow. We went to the New Side on the basis that a Polar Peak opening was on the cards (good call) although the cloud base was socking conditions in at around the top of White Pass let alone the top of Polar Peak.

We had a run down White Pass followed by a run through Surprise Trees (no ski found) and then a loop out through Anaconda Glades/Bootleg Glades. All of this was untracked in the new snow but obviously well tracked up underneath. The skiing was quite tough on the chopped up snow but ok.

Next we went out to check out the Saddles and to our surprise Corner Pocket was in not too bad shape even 24 hours after opening. We all dropped through and found some great soft powder under the chute but unfortunately the light was so flat that it was hard to really let it rip. Exit through Easter bowl was a bit chunkier than yesterday.

On the next loop we learned from our experience and hit Cougar Glades so as to stay in the trees and help with the light. We were first tracks in today which was just about starting to count for something as the snow was starting to accumulate.

Then they opened Polar Peak and that was the rest of the day gone. To be fair it was totally socked in at the top but they seemed to have used so much blasting powder to clear the chutes that the surface was slightly dark and gave you viz down to the level that you could really see. We did 5 loops, 3 through the wider chutes and 2 through Baby Bear which is fast becoming my favourite chute on the hill.

Just a word to those who have been bad mouthing Polar Peak on the grounds that the light is bad, there are rocks, ice, wind crust etc. This is high mountain chute skiing and we are dealing with grown up terrain here - it isn't Disneyland. Of course all the obstructions mentioned exist but so does some of the best (actually forget some of) steep, deep untracked powder chutes on the hill. My advice is if you don't like the ugly stuff don't ski it, ski the powder instead, if you can't work out how to do that then leave it to those who can.

On three occasions after the Peak we exited through the steeper parts of Concussion which were just awesome soft powder getting deeper and more untracked as the afternoon went on. One exit was a hike up to Lone Fir which was good deep snow in the chute and even better snow below into Easter bowl. Final exit was Cougar Glades which were filled in enough for a top to bottom maximum speed rip and with the left hand exit chute now skiing ok on the new snow.

Final lap with time to kill demanded a hike up to Mitchy Chutes which by this stage were becoming quite deep and untracked. Last run of course was down Skydive which was awesome in the top and still very good in the middle. The final section which yesterday I described as bear ass ugly had improved. The refrozen crud was still there but with enough covering of relatively high moisture content new snow to provide a surface that would at least be described as almost acceptable for those willing to put in the effort - a big improvement on yesterday.

Still snowing as we left and a base temp of -1 so things may be pretty good for tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment