Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day 91 the Peak opens but the best snow is lower down

Overnight there had only been a light dusting in town but on the hill it felt like a couple of cms more. Temps on the way to the hill were -10 and they stayed well below zero all day giving a final temp of -3 as we drove away from the hill. During the day it snowed off and on all day so that we had an accumulation of about 4 cms by late afternoon. Conditions were pretty socked in from above White Pass chair.

We wnt to the New Side and did a quick White Pass loop through Quite Right trees for no other reason than I needed to find a quiet place to make some yellow snow - I guess more information than anyone needed. The whole of White Pass was skiing well with a little fresh snow over a firm base which took an easy edge - the light wasn't anything to write home about.

We knew that White Pass chair was open for the first time in four days so we went up. Quite honestly it was a bit of a disappointment. The light was very bad for the first three or four turns and then we got into the chutes that had been tracked up by "ski cutting" and were also full of blasting debrise. Despite this we looped back and tried Mama Bear which was better in every respect but still not worth getting excited about. We exited via Severe Concussion which was great skiing as were the gullies lower down with all parts starting to get filled in by the falling snow.

Next loop was Barely Legal off the top of Polar Peak that seemed a lot better as no one had been there and the exit chute which had been tight before was super soft fresh snow. We then went out to Baby Bear which although tracked was good deep snow. Exit via Decline/Window chutes which still had stacks of untracked lines particularly in the top section trees above the chute where we had contiuous face shots - forget the log drop it's way below the surface.

Final loop before lunch was just Papa Bear chute down to the Reverse Traverse which was all deep if tracked powder and which gave 5 Peaks for the day and a season running total of 86. This time we exited via Stag Leap where you had good skiing through the upper trees as long as you stayed out of the main traffic areas. The run itself was great soft snow all the way down becoming more friendly as the snow accumulated.

After luch we stayed on the New Side (sorry Old Siders but it was the best skiing although I got some pretty good reports from Snake Ridge area) and went back to the Peak. When we got there things were socked in so bad we decided not to go up. We stayed of the same mind until about 3 when the cloud base lifted slightly and we decided to give it a go only to find the chair shut. We spent the rest of the afternoon looping Currie Bowl -
Secret Chutes/Spinal Tap - by now the snow was really starting to fill in so all the skiing was fresh tracks on a soft deep base. Spinal Tap was particularly good with no tracks since the storm and great soft snow in the creek bed.
Cougar Glades - hard to describe how a few cms of snow could make all the difference. By staying left and cutting close to the trees it was still possible to find some fresh lines but the snow covered tracked powder was pretty good anyway. The left had exit picking the really steep pitch was awesome with your own slough getting up to about thigh height.
Decline/Window Chutes - we did it again, partly because it was so good and partly because we had linked up with my buddy Rob who hadn't skied it with us earlier. Just like before the top entrance was great deep powder and lower down it was much improved and untracked after the 5 cms or so we had just had during the day.
Two Knot chute/Surprise loops in good soft new snow was a good way to kill time at the end of the day and face shots in Surprise, which no one seemed to have skied much, were a real bonus.

Last run of the day down Skydive was about as mellow as I can remember it after you got through the bumps at the top. Unusually it just got better as you went down so that the final pitch was point your skis anywhere in soft snow and let it rip - a perfect end to agood day.

More snow in the outlook.

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