Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 82 pity it was a holiday

Yes, the problem today was that we had great conditions but as it was a mega holiday (family day in several Provinces and Presidents Day south of the boarder) the snow got trashed up just like a weekend. If it had been a normal Monday we would have had fresh snow right through to last bell - well actually we did but that's another story.

Overnight we had 17 cms of good light snow which qualified as awesome powder. The base was up at around 262 cms and temps started at -2 at the base and -7 on top. During the day they rose so that the base was plus figures but with no direct sunlight the snow stayed in great shape and on top single figure minus temps kept the snow looking and feeling good. The top of White Pass was well socked in and the cloud base only lifted late afternoon. We had light flurry activity on and off becoming heavier as we got towards evening.

We went to the New Side again. I was asked about my problems with the Old Side on holiday weekends and in a nutshell they are, families gather there causing large crowds and slow lift running and there is always a big bottle neck at Haul Back. With the Meat Hook no longer running it is hard to get out to Snake Ridge and particularly, as today, the top of the Cedar High Traverse is frequently closed due to avi risks. Finally the pay for powder groups are allowed first tracks there ahead of us mere mortals and I would rather go to the New Side where your access to fresh tracks is based on your skill, strength, knowledge, work ethic, and lets be honest luck which is what mountain culture is about and not simply how much you are prepared to pay.

We were on the fifth chair up on Timber and had great early tracks down Lift Line. From the top we hit out on the Idiot Traverse and got to the Anaconda/Surprise split and found both untracked. We hit Surprise on the grounds that Anaconda would keep and had awesome first tracks all the way down Surprise. Next time round (Currie was still closed) we went out into Knot chutes and had the Tight Knot which had loads of fresh deep powder. This time we hiked the hump into the Anaconda chutes some of which had been taken but still plenty of untracked where your only danger was being barrelled out by your own slough. Bootleg Glades were untracked in the nearside trees so we took them and even in the lower section there was still loads of untracked all the way down into the Gilmar trail.

After that Currie opened but Polar Peak remained closed due to poor viz and we just looped -
Cougar Glades - two tracks in the top that disappeared and then untracked all the way down with a massive slough in the left hand exit down the creek after one of the best runs in Cougar of the year.
The Brain - rather more tracked up than I expected but still great skiing in the tight trees.
Lone Fir/Easter/Spinal Tap - we had ridden the White Pass chair with patrollers who confirmed that the Saddles opened while we were on the chair. By the time we got to Corner Pocket it was trashed down to the tires, a record even for a holiday weekend. A hike up to Lone Fir revealed some ok skiing in the chute and great soft powder below. Spinal Tap was mostly untouch with great powder on top of yesterday's soft.
Siberia ridge - White Pass chair had broken down so we had a quick drop down Sib Ridge for the first time this year and it was ok. The gnarly mid section wasn't really gnarly and all the rough terrain below was like your own personal terrain park covered in soft and often untracked snow.
Decline/Window Chutes - Mostly soft but tracked and deep, good skiing.

After lunch we headed up the Polar Peak to find it open with terrible warnings of how bad the viz was but with confirmation of 20 cms of fresh on top of a load of blow in on top of yesterday's deep powder. Our view was that with a surface like that who needed to see where we were going.

Papa Bear back to the chair was great deep powder but with no viz for the first few turns. Then Baby Bear chute which was one of the most awesome drops of the season with fantastic deep untracked powder. Exit via Secret chutes which were tracked but still deep and then a cut into Spinal Tap which was just as good as it was in the morning.

Next loop was another Papa Bear cut back followed by a traverse into Spirit Bear which was mostly untracked and totally awesome all the way down. Exit via Stag Leap which although a little tracked up was great deep powder skiing. This brought the Polar Chute total trips for the year to 70 - not a bad total.

This gave us just enough time for a final Skydive rip which was just as great as you would have expected on a day like this. Far too many beers and a good evening with much more snow in the forecast - here we go.

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