Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 90 no new snow but stll plenty of fresh tracks

We had no new snow overnight but there is plenty in the forecast so we are all pretty relaxed. Starting temps were -15 at the base and they probably got up to low minus figures during the day as they were -4 as we drove away from the hill. Up top it stayed cold, I would guess about -7 all day. We started off with valley cloud which gave up some light snow and which socked in the top of White Pass very white. Later it burned off to give a pretty good bluebird day with temps probably a bit warmer in the direct sunlight. The base had dropped to 346 cms giving an extra 6 cms of settlement over night and the snow was correspondingly heavier.

We had a choice, go the the New Side for Polar Peak or go to the Old Side for Cedar High Traverse - we went to the New Side. With the top socked in we could hardly see Polar Peak chair at the loading area but it was clear that it wasn't running. This was due to an accident last night with the cat which had slid off the cat track and down the slope and for safety reasons the chair couldn't open. It took all day to recover the cat using another cat (good side effect was that grooming was strictly limited) so Polar Peak remained closed all day and we had to change our plans.

We found that the Saddles were open so we dropped through Corner Pocket which was in pretty good shape with no tires showing. The light on the far side wasn't great but we had mostly untracked powder all the way below the Saddles which was great deep powder which hadn't been skied for three days. We headed across to the Bear Chair to try our luck in Cedar.

Our luck was in as they had opened the Cedar High Traverse for the first time in 3 days. We went out across it 4 times trying Steep and Deep, Gorby bowl, Gorby right shoulder and then a drop into a tight steep chute I have never been in before through the trees into Lower Gorby and the Gorby bowl left through the trees which were good to the rock band then a bit technical. All of these had been tracked but because we were trying lines well away from the main traffic (easier) areas we could still find thigh deep untracked lines for significant parts of the descents.

Each return was through Kangaroo which was nice filled in bumps but with about a 3 ft drop onto the cat track half way down. The loops were completed through Boomerang or Bear Chutes both of which were good soft bumps with stashes of deep powder. An awesome long morning of deep powder skiing with significant amounts of thigh deep untracked snow.

In the Afternoon we went to the New Side and had it confirmed that although the cat had been pulled off Polar peak and the conditions were now bluebird there just wasn't enough preperation time left so the Peak would remain closed.

We went to Anaconda via Knot chutes and then Bootleg glades and found great deep partially tracked snow (untracked in the bottom of Anaconda) with the only problem being that the snow was losing a little of it's hero quality and you couldn't quite throw down like yesterday. This require a few quick checks to bring down the speed when fall line skiing wasn't quite the way to go.

Next was drop through High Saddle which was skiing well after the bumps in the top and in the improved light there were lots of untracked lines but blast debrise was a constant problem. The exit through Easter was starting to get a little chunky but still deep in places.

We found ourselves with time on out hands so we did two White Pass loops through Knot Chutes which were tracked but good soft snow in any chute and each time a finish through Surprise Trees which was still deep tracked powder.

Final rip through Skydive was as always good, particularly in the mid section where there was still tons of soft snow. In the final pitch I was subject to a bit of pilot error for the first time this year and managed to roll it which gave everyone a good laugh at my expense - no harm done.

Back to the hill tomorrow.

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