Thursday, March 29, 2012

Day 112 winter returns - sort of

Overnight we had some rain in the valley and the official site said that there had been 10 cms overnight pushing the base back up to 402 cms which seemed about right for the mid mountain snow plot.

On the way to the hill it was +2 and light rain. It rained at the base pretty well all day but by the same token it was snowing up in White Pass. The variable was the rain/snow line which started very low down but by afternoon had risen more or less to White Pass base before droppin to about half way up the hill as we drove away tonight. The result was that we went high and had powder on the upper mountain all day whilst the lower mountain was always very sticky and the bits in between were (in the words of the official site) variable.

We went up Timber and found that Lift Line was ok if slightly heavy powder but very hard and scratchy underneath. The Gun bowl had filled in with excellent powder but Surprise Trees were a little disappointing with the powder not as deep as we hoped and the base a sort of breakable crust with not enough fresh to pad out the surface and make it really comfortable.

After that with the top of White Pass socked in and no chance of Polar peak we looped out along the Reverse Traverse and for the rest of the morning got -
Skydive - only second tracks and great powder in the top two sections which got a bit claggy in the final pitch.
Cougar Glades - I was amazed to find it untracked and like Skydive it was great powder followed by some tricky mush in the very bottom.
Easter bowl - a few tracks and just like the others, great on top and then heavy.
Anaconda/Bootleg Glades - Fantastic untracked powder in Anaconda which up top was just building as the day went on. Bootleg was mostly untracked but a bit sticky lower down.
1-2-3s - Very good powder 1s and 2s but 3s werev very hard work.
Stag Leap - about 4 tracks in ahead of me so still plenty of untracked to be worked between the various lines. Really starting to get to elephant snot in the last pitch.

We had a fairly late lunch up at Lost Boy's having decided to make the best use of the snow in the morning before the rain line got too high. One run to the base via Decline and Window Chutes and we were convinced that there should be no more runs to the base today as the rain line was now pretty well up to White Pass base and very wet below that.

We spent the rest of the afternoon looping White Pass through the various chutes of Knot Chutes which were all deep and untracked powder filling in very fast followed by a variation on Surprise Trees that had improved out of all proportion from the morning with more snow on top of the crust. A great afternoon in fresh powder albeit in limited terrain.

A final run back down Skydive was very good for the top two pitches and super super heavy elephant snot for the final third which was all a bit technical.

Beers and a quiet night in with Ice Station Zebra on TCM, what could be better.

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