Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 111 a really tough ugly day

So why was today so tough and ugly ? We got to the hill this morning with temps of +2 at the base and about zero on top. It was clear that it had not got very cold last night and we had both mountain and valley fog socking things in all day. During the day it warmed, the sun came out, it clouded over, it then produce a serious ice pellet storm and finally produced lightening which caused the lifts to be closed an hour early - actually the lifts reopened after about half an hour but by that time we had ditched our skis and didn't feel inclined to go back out again in what were some pretty marginal conditions.

We started on Lift Line and found mushy snow on a crunchy base in poor light that was far from easy to ski. After that we tried the Gun bowl from the top of White Pass which was hard refrozen crud and avi debris left over from yesterday. In poor viz this was about the worst conditions you could find.

We decided to go to the Old Side via the Reverse Traverse and were pleasently surprised to find that the Saddles were open. We dropped Corner Pocket which was great if heavy coverage and although under the chute the viz was poor it was great untracked powder skiing which got a bit technical in the lower portions. We exited via Dancer as getting into the groomers was the only game in town when you got below the melt line.

Having lost Lynda we went up and down Bear a couple of times looking for her with no success before heading back to the New Side. A run through Easter bowl showed it to be super heavy both on the way out on the traverse and then again in the run. It was not a quick run, nothing was today which explains the relatively low number of runs done compared with a normal day. Easter was very heavy all the way down and require 3 stops to reset the legs during the course of the drop. Our only defence would be that we were doing one hell of a lot better than the couple of other skiers we saw out there. Early lunch.

After lunch we went back to the New Side and went to check out the Saddles but found them closed. The only solution was to go out to Skydive which was even heavier than the other stuff we had skied. We made a very slow descent in the mush.

Next time round we tried 1-2-3s which were still pretty tough. It's always a bad day when you are trying to find avi debris to ski on the grounds that it is better than anything else. We exited via Diamond Back which had a pretty firm base and was rather less sticky than most of the snow on the hill.

Last time round we arrived at the base of White Pass in a grappel (yes I know it isn't spelt like that) storm with the ice pellets hosing down, very high winds and a thunder storm - events much enlivened by a lightening strike that sent sparks flying fron the bull wheel in the loading area. We just got the last chair before they closed and from a very socked in White Pass groped very slowly along the Reverse Traverse until we arrived in the shelter of the trees above Stag Leap. As I had hoped the transformation was wonderful. The covering of ice pellets had cooled the mush so it was starting to set up as well as provide a slick skiing surface on top. The result was great rip down Stag Leap in what was almost winter conditions apart from the final few turns.

Arriving at the base all lifts were closed due to weather (lightening) and we were told that they were unlikely to open again. As it turned out they did but we only lost an hour of a not very special day. As we drove away from the hill it was +3 and raining in the valley which probably means it is snowing in White Pass or at least it will be over night.

Off for a Patrol appreciation drinking night with fingers crossed for better conditions tomorrow.

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