Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 80 where were the crowds ?

We had expected massive ugly crowds this weekend due the a "perfect storm" of holidays. With the Alberta family weekend, other assorted Provincial family weekends and Presidents day south of the boarder on Monday we expected the ugliest weekend for crowds in living memory. What we got was a pretty busy Saturday but nothing to write home about. We went to the New Side to avoid what I thought would be the greater crowds on the Old side (families like the Old Side and the racing teams are based there) and during the day reports of some ugly line ups at Haul Back convinced me that this was a good call.

We had another 4 cms of fresh although it appeared much more in places. The base was up to 252 cms nd the starting temps at the base were -3 and several degrees cooler on top. During the day temps rose to low plus figures at the base and low minus figure above. It was overcast all day and we had snow (to be fair mostly grappel) off and on all day. At the end of the day it was still coming down pretty white so we have some optimism for tomorrow.

When we got to White Pass top we found that it was socked in and that Polar Peak was closed. As a result we took a run out through Concussion which was still not all that easy in the flat light but as it had a covering of new snow it was ok. Next time round we went to Cougar Glades and had first tracks although as usual a couple of tracks appeared and disappeared half way down. It was very good skiing with the new snow providing a great surface particularly on the left hand creek bed ski out.

Next we tried Stag Leap which as usual was rather more tracked than I would have like but some ok skiing in between the tracks of others. On the previous time passed we had noted how light the tracking up to the top of Easter Bowl had been so we hiked up and were rewarded with some great skiing with only a couple of tracks in front of us. To exit we cut right into Spinal Tap and had fresh tracks all the way down the stream bed which as I have mentioned every day is great to jump in to from the right hand shoulder.

Spinal Tap gave us the idea that Window Chutes might be quite nice so we took the top of Decline which still had plenty of untracked lines and then cut into Window Chutes which had just one track ahead of us in the lower section and had wonderful deep skiing all the way down to the cat track.

We had decided on a late lunch to avoid the crowds so we went to the Brain which had a couple of tracks in the top section and after that was great untracked snow on the right hand side of the creek bed. Met a couple of blog followers in there who said kind things about my poor efforts so thank you guys.

Last run before a very late lunch was a hike up to Lone Fir where I was amazed to find about a dozen skiers getting ready to jump in - the most I have ever seen up there. As they were putzing with their gear I took the opportunity to jump in ahead of them and get about fourth tracks into the chute which was skiing like dream and could be GS turned from top to bottom. As it had been so good before I hit Spinal Tap again and although there were a few more tracks it was still pretty spectacular.

We had a very late lunch to avoid the crowds which seemed to work. After lunch we found that Polar Peak had opened. Acually it had opened just before lunch but only for the "easy" looker left side with the chutes closed. This had no attraction so we ignored it but after lunch the chutes were open even though we only had a very short afternoon. Light was very bad for the first couple of turns but after that it improved. The chutes were filled in with deep new untracked snow and windsift and were great, I had two drops down Popa Bear going back to the Peak chair.

Next time I had a tough choice. I wanted to loop back to the chair but was convinced that the best chute would be Baby Bear from which the only way back was via the base. The awesome deep untracked powder of Baby Bear won and I dropped that and then Secret Chutes which had filled in nicely with the grappel that was coming down - not so much fun on the Polar peak chair where it hurt even through your ski pants !

A quick White Pass loop through the Knot Chutes (tight knot) which still had loads of deep semi tracked snow all the way through the chute. Final rip down Skydive top to bottom without a break which was a good work out and great soft bumps/tracked powder/harder bumps down low.

A great day's skiing with snow still coming down this evening - fingers crossed.

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