Monday, March 26, 2012

Day 109 not as bad as it could have been for us.

The reason I added "for us" in the title was that if you were a groomer skier today might have been a pretty good day. From what we saw when we used them the groomers seemed quite firm with a soft slushy covering and skiing in an easy way. We of course do not ski groomers (my view that skiing groomers doesn't count as skiing at all is well known) so we had a lot more work to do to salvage some good skiing from what the hill served up today.

On the way home last night it was +10 in town and arriving back at the hill this morning it was +3. I am sure that it stayed at plus temps all the way to the top of the hill all night, it certainly felt like it. Conditions were overcast to the point that the top of White Pass was socked in as thick as I have ever seen it, obviously Polar Peak was never going to be on the agenda. The forecast was for light rain all day but we got away with it to the extent that we only had a little precip off and on and by the end of the day when it started to come down it was coming down as ice pellets on top.

We decided to go high and went to the New Side. Our first drop down Lift Line to White Pass said it all. The 2 cms of new snow was wet and very sticky slowing down everything, the underlying surface was very soft and where it had not been skied was heavy elephant snot. The only partly skiable stuff was where the surface had been skied yesterday and in normal circumstances would have been a hard icey base.

At the top of White Pass things were so socked in that it took a long time to grope down the Gun Bowl and eventually get back the White Pass base. This got so bad during the day that people were actually down loading White Pass as they couldn't see to ski which went down really well with those of us stuck on the chair going up as it had to be stooped for each down loading - thanks guys.

We decided to try the Old Side and worked our way out to Skydive (no easy thing in the viz) and found that the bumps in the top of Skydive were soft and the main run was very heavy slush but skiable if you put the effort in but slow motion skiing.

On the Old Side we tried the Sunny Side shoulder which was just mush then Boomerang which was ok but soft on the old bumps. We then spent the rest of the morning working our way down the more skied parts of Cedar Ridge which was ok. Returns were through Kangaroo which was pretty much run of the day as the bumps that would normally have been icey were in fact quite soft. The only mistake was trying to take Buck Shot all the way down which proved too slushy with no firm base to give you a starting point to jump your turns, slow motion GS turns were the only way down and were very hard work - lunch.

After lunch I resolved to go back to the New Side as Skydive had been the best of a bad bunch and just spent the afternoon looping out on the Reverse Traverse in dreadful viz which did actually get a bit better and very slushy conditions that just started to set up towards the end of the day. The order of service was Skydive, Decline, Skydive, Stag Leap, Skydive. Decline was bad for all the reasons that it has been good up to now - lots of untracked snow. Stag leap was ok but the entrance through the trees was a bit dodgy as in these conditions my navigation is +/- 3 feet which does reduce my safety margin in the trees. Skydive just semed to ski easier all day or perhaps I wa sjust getting used to it.

Not a bad day considering and we were lucky that the rain held off until after we had finished. Now for a rant - the hill is in a mess from all the garbage that has been thrown from the lifts over the past few days. Why it should suddenly have got so bad is a puzzle to me but it has and it makes me mad. Throwing garbage in this way shows a lack of respect for the hill and angers the snow gods resulting in poor snow conditions.

The hill themselves are not blameless in this for two reasons. Firstly it doesn't seem to be anyone's responsibility to pick up this garbage. Hosts, patrol, lifties, all tell me it is not their job. My question is who's job is it and why aren't they doing it, I have probably picked up more drink cans from the hill than members of staff over the past two days. Secondly there does not seem to be any system for penalizing the offenders so (surprise surprise) they go on offending. I suggest some notices saying that anyone found deliberately throwing garbage from the lift will have their passes pulled for the rest of the season. This, with some well publicised pullings should send a clear message - RCR please do something about this - rant over.

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