Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 89 is there a grandmother left alive in Alberta ?

The reason I ask this question is that I had expected the weekend crowds to be gone today but in fact when were arrived at the hill at about 10 minutes to 9 it was very crowded, we were lucky to just squeeze in to the back of parking lot 2 and most of the cars seemed to be Albertans who were extending their weekend to cover Monday. I can only assume that an aweful lot of people from Alberta had taken the day off as a sickie or in the time honoured tradition asked their employers for time off to attend their grandmother's funeral.

The snow dropped off over night but we had 36 cms in the last 24 hours and the base had risen to 354 cms. Temps were -12 to start and during the day they rose to about -3 at the base and -6 on top with the base temps falling away to -9 as we drove away from the hill. We had the tops socked in early on but after that it cleared to a mostly bluebird day with some cloud cover so that heli bombing was delayed but when it came we got some good openings.

We went to the New Side because we were hoping for Currie bowl (which we got) and Polar peak (which we didn't). I understand that on the Old Side where we didn't go Cedar High Traverse didn't open but everything else did and it was pretty good. A sign suggested an opening of Currie bowl at 11:30 and given that we had, had about a metre of new snow since it had last been opened with much more in the dips and rolls we were all getting very pumped up and ready to go while we waited.

We had several loops in Knot chutes (Slim, Thin and Jim as well) which were all deep but tracked snow, and then runs into Surprise Trees (excllent deep snow) and beyond and a track back to White Pass chair. Sure enough Currie opened more or less on time.

We hit out to Cougar Glades across the Reverse Traverse that had been cut but was shoulder high on either side in places as you worked your way out. There had been a couple of tracks in Cougar Glades but because of the waist deep powder (assume most places were waist deep powder today as they were) we had to straight line the top until we got up enough speed to start making some slight turns. It follows that we didn't really see any other tracks all the way down.

Next loop I linked up with my buddy Rob and he suggested the Brain as being a place that would not have been trashed. What and awesome suggestion, whilst there were a few tracks in the Brain it is so wide that there were fresh lines for both of us. What is more we could just throw down fall line tracks, jump the remains of any dead fall and still have plenty of space in the trees. Things were so good that for the first time this year we went all the way to the cat track in the bottom section with no problems.

We then tried Decline/Window chutes - Decline was little tracked up but with some deep splashed but Window chutes only looked to have a couple of tracks in and in any event we stayed in the trees either side. Over the head untracked powder all the way down. By this time the crowds had gone and we were back to a normal Monday, more or less.

Next was Secret chutes which were lightly tracked but very deep followed by Spinal tap which again had a couple of tracks showing but deep, deep snow in the creek bed and waist deep snow when you hopped onto the shoulders.

We then took a decision (besides not stopping for lunch) to hit areas that we would not hit if the snow was not so deep. After all, it's great to hit Stag leap with even more snow than usual but how much more fun to go for something that would not normally be on the agenda. We went back to the Brain but this time fall line skied the steep trees on the left of the creek bed which were so tight that it was actually dark and hard to see. Great deep powder skiing that you could only do by straight lining the tight stuff - awesome skiing that really pushed up the heart rate.

Next we made our only bad decision which was to cut across the Knot Chutes to Gotta Go. Just like a few days ago this was scraped down the the crust in the mid section and I assume it will be like that all season - now clearly off my "to do" list for the rest of the season. All the skiing below was great soft deep powder and the trees to the left of Bootleg Glades were so friendly that I took them all the way to the bottom for the first time ever.

We went back into Currie and took Cougar Glades to the left and stopped just short of Stag leap dropping the trees there. I'm not sure this place even has a name but because of the tightness and steepness of the trees it was pretty well untracked. We had our work cut out but found good lines in untracked powder all the way down until we were eventually spat out somewhere on the Bear connector.

Last run was a trip up Mitchy chutes which were tracked but still deep then out for a final rip down Skydive. In keeping with the traditions of the day we drifted off into the trees on skiers right and again had great untracked waist deep powder for the last run of the day in the tight trees (longest straight line I have ever had to do which really got the heart going) before cutting out into Skydive half way down the final pitch for an amazing free ride with the skis more in the air than on the ground.

Beer with buddies and an early night in anticipation of Cedar High Traverse or Polar Peak, whichever comes first tomorrow.

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