Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 104 a great sense of timing

More about the timing later but first apologies to those of you who have been waiting for tonight's blog. The reason it is late coming is that I have been down at the movie house watching some vintage ski movies in aid of ski heritage week. The scary thing is that my buddy says he can remember the K2 road trip movie coming out and he is younger than me - feeling old.

We woke up this morning to the sounds of heli bombing as the skies were at least clearish for the first time in a few days. On the way to the hill temps were -1 and cooler on top. During the day base temps rose to +5 and temps on top were a little above zero. The official report gave 18 cms of fresh in the last 24 hours most of which would have fallen during the day yesterday and a base of around 285 cms.

There had been a considerable wind event and that combined with the fact that Currie Bowl had closed at lunch time yesterday (there had to be at least 10 cms of fresh in there) and that Polar Peak had to be a certainty for today, decided us to head for the New Side. In the event whilst Polar Peak looked a goer for most of the morning the cat cutting the new track broke down and it was late afternoon before the track could be cleared so once again no Polar Peak, fingers crossed for tomorrow.

First time off White Pass we got to the shoulder of Gun Bowl just as they dropped the rope and so had first tracks in Surprise trees which were a bit creamy but ok. Next loop Knot chutes remained closed but we hit out along the Idiot Traverse only to find Anaconda newly opened so we had first tracks in the chute just over the hump then first tracks in the nearside trees of Bootleg Glades. All this was good untracked snow but a little slabby due to the wind.

Next time up White Pass we completed a hatrick of perfectly timed arrivals as they dropped the fence just as we got off the lift with only a handful of people there. The Reverse Traverse was closed but we actually cut the traverse out from Polar Sink so when we arrived at the top of Skydive we could have helped ourselves to first tracks in any of the big three or associated runs. We hit Skydive top to bottom untracked, me on the left Lynda on the right, all nice deep powder that had mounted up since yesterday's mid day closure.

We then looped Currie -
Cougar Glades - only a couple of tracks in front of us in the top and they disappeared when we got down a few turns. Great untracked powder all the way down to the cat track at the ski out.
The Brain - untracked in the top but quite a few more tracks lower down. Plenty of fresh lines to be found in the trees to the skiers right of the creek bed and we were able to take it all the way to the cat track at the bottom of Skydive.
Stag Leap - (please note it is Stag in the singular, so many people seem to give it an incorrect posessive 's') Well tracked but still soft snow and some untracked bits in the mid section. The ski out was starting to get soft.
We had an early lunch hoping for Polar peak but discovered on our first run after lunch that wasn't going to happen.

In the afternoon Knot chutes had just opened so we put tracks in the Tight Knot which was very deep and soft and only seemed to have the ski cutting tracks in there ahead of us. Surprise Trees were getting tracked but still had some fresh lines close to the trees.

Next time round we had intended another Knot Chutes but got tempted into Gotta Go which for the first time this year was not scratchy in the choke but good deep powder down to where the tracks from 3's started to chunk things up. This time through Bootleg we tried the far (skiers right) trees which were not quite as good as yesterday but still good powder but a bit scratchy lower down.

After that we discovered that the Reverse Traverse an Saddles were open so we dropped Corner Pocket which was very friendly with only a couple of tires just starting to show and with some great soft untracked snow underneath the chute. We crossed Easter to Spinal Tap which was ok but just starting to get a bit heavy. Next time we did High Saddle and the soft snow under that which were every bit as good as Corner Pocket had been. This time we worked our way all the way out to the top of Window Chutes which were very similar to Spinal Tap - good but heavy.

To fill in at the end we did a Mitchy Chute (very nice blow in) and Tight Knot/Surprise both of which still had remarkably good deep soft snow as a a surface. Final rip was Skydive top to bottom without a break which although obviously more tracked up than the first time was still good soft skiing all the way down.

A good day (not quite as good as yesterday) made all the better by the hill being even less busy than it was yesterday, we hardly saw anyone out on the far side of Currie all day. Fingers still crossed for Polar Peak tomorrow.

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