Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day 83 windy, and I mean windy

When we got up there were reports of 8 cms of new snow lifting the base to 272 cms and an outlook for a cloud sun mix. No one mentioned wind which was not apparent as we drove to the hill and even though the banners in the parking lot were flapping we were not really prepared for what was going to hit us.

We went to the Old Side really for no other reason than we had not been there for a couple of days. The wind was super strong and I was surprised to find the Bear Chair running at all. Temps were around zero at the base and cooler above although it was very hard to judge these things in the wind which gave a huge chill, kept the snow in good shape and pushed in windsift way above any call on new snow accumulations.

It seemed that there was ridge line cloud but actually the ridge lines were socked in by the blown snow coming off the top in the strong winds. We headed out across Cedar which was closed at the high traverse and evemtually dropped in just on the nearside shoulder of KC chutes. This was all deep windsift on soft as was all the snow we encountered during the morning.

The rest of the morning was spent looping off Boomerang Chair which was reckoned to be the most sheltered and coming back via Linda's, Boomerang, Boomerang Ridge, Cedar Ridge and King Fir. All the skiing was great filled in wind blown powder with the mid part of Boomerang almost becoming wind grooming.

Just before lunch we hit out on the traverse with a view to getting to Steep and Deep but were side tracked as we crossed Snake ridge which appeared untracked in the wind groomed snow so we dropped it and then KC chutes both of which were great soft snow. All four returns were through Kangaroo which was skiing a bit tougher than a few days ago as the bumps had been chopped up a bit. In summary the morning had been good skiing in wind sifted powder even if the surfaces were a little variable.

After lunch we went to the New Side and either the wind had dropped or it was just less windy over there. Interestingly White Pass lift was still only loading 3 at a time (as opposed to it's design of 4) but with the crowds much reduced it didn't cuase any line ups. The afternoon loops were into Currie and across the Reverse Traverse as Polar Peak had been closed for the day and who could blame them in those brutal wind conditions. We had -

Cougar Glades - tracked but not bad sifted in wind giving good soft skiing in the tight trees on the left.
Stag Leap - again great soft snow with tracks but becoming real hero snow in the lower sections now that the warming conditions were being felt.
Decline/Window chutes - good soft bump skiing down to the trail then some surprisingly good deep untracked snow in the Window Chutes themselves.
Secret Chutes/Spinal Tap - hardly touched deep snow, particularly good in the creek bed.
Knot chutes/Surprise Trees - the Tight Knot had a couple of icey turns in the middle but otherwise ok. Surprise Trees were still full of untracked blow in and well worth the late visit.
Final Skydive rip was just great. Bumps in the top, soft powder in the middle and softening blow in amounting to hero snow in the bottom - perfect.

An evening at the Northern for their fantstic value Tuesday offer of 10 bucks for a beer and a burger. A few more beers hence this late report and a nagging feeling that at least one run is missing off the New Side. Snow in the forecast.

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