Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 66 a pretty tough day

I don't know if it's just me, or the conditions, or the fact that it's day 66 but today just seemed like hard work. A buddy of mine did say that he had never experienced such a variety of conditions (ice, refrozen crud, softened snow, sun crust, bumps, powder etc) all in the same day, sometimes all on the same run. In truth you could never be off your guard today, there was always something trying to catch you out.

The day started just like yesterday with no new snow and a base 278 cms. There was a low cloud base with a bluebird day on top so that temps at the base were starting at -10 whilst on top it was a spring like zero. During the day the cloud burned off giving some amazing upper mountain sights such as sun dogs and angel dust. By the end of the day the whole sky had cleared and the base had warmed to -3 whilst the top had cooled to -6. I guess this explains the weird mix of conditions we experienced.

We went the the New Side and had a couple of drops through Concussion which was just about being kept good under the cloud - at this stage Polar Peak was closed. Next time round Polar Peak was open and despite what I said last night about avoiding it I went up. It was hard bumps in the chutes but they were taking an edge and so far from ice, but if you fell you weren't going to stop any time soon. Cougar Glades were soft in the top but refrozen crud in the bottom and very hard work.

Next time round Polar Peak was closed and remained so for the rest of the day due to mechanical problems - I think Calgary will start to suspect a conspiracy theory about weekend closures. We just did Reverse Traverse loops -
Easter Bowl - Really very good shape if a bit tracked up low down.
Decline - Great skiing in the top, ok in the mid section and hard and cruchy in the bottom.
Lone Fir - tracked up a bit more than yesterday but still great soft snow all the way through the chute into Easter.

Crowds hadn't been as bad as I had expected considering it was a bluebird weekend. After lunch I decided to go back to the New Side but was frustrated by Timber Chair having a big break down so I headed for the Old Side. This turned out to be a lucky break as I hiked out into the Fish bowl and had an amazing untracked powder run along side the avi debris that had come down but staying to the safe side. A short hike out of Fish was an acceptable price to pay.

A return through Kangaroo got me thinking that all those hours spent skiing Kangaroo in it's ugly state were really paying off by making the icey bumps in Polar peak seem pretty tame stuff, what goes round comes round. The bumps in Boomerang were soft and after a couple of loops I got word that Timber had reopened.

Just time for a loop through Stag Leap which actually wasn't that good, a loop back under White Pass which was in great shape and the Skydive with the usual suspect. Skydive was actually the best of the big three with the soft snow in ok, if chunky shape most of the way down and only the very bottom section ugly.

No new snow forecast so things look set to get tougher if you want my opinion.

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