Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day 95 how wrong could I be

It rained yesterday evening so much that we didn't go out to the Griz parade. Temps were warm overnight and in the morning they were +4 on the deck with overcast conditions, no new snow reported and wet precip in the forecast. We confidently predicted a crap day's skiing, so much so that Lynda took the day off to get over her cold on the grounds she wouldn't be missing much.

When I got to the hill things were a bit different. Temps were warm at the base rising to +8 during the day. Up top they must have got to +2 but with the overcast conditions there was no direct sunlight so the snow stayed in good shape. There was wind, a lot of it so that Polar Peak chair remained closed. The surprise was that there had obviously been quite a lot of thick grainy snow plus a load of blow in which gave good hero untracked skiing conditions against all the odds. Obviously quite a lot of people had the same wrong idea as me but weren't stupid enough to go up to look anyway so as a result the hill was pretty well deserted.

Lift Line was untracked a good 20 minutes after opening and that told the story for the whole day. With the temp pattern we had anyone could work out that there would be a mush line lower down and the best bet would be to go high on the New Side. First trip up White Pass showed that the ski back below the lift was untracked so I took it and it was great,

The next loop set the pattern for the morning when I traversed out into Knot chutes and got first tracks in Tight Knot, then Slip Knot, then Slim, Thin and Jim. After that each time I got first tracks in Surprise trees, Surprise Tees going one chute beyond my prvious tracks, Anaconda Glades hiking the hup and getting first tracks, Anaconda 2 getting first tracks and Anaconda 4 getting first tracks, this was getting repetitive. Exits were always through some permutation of Bootleg Glades where some first or fresh tracks were always available. It was only starting to get mushy as you got down to Gilmar Trail so all the fresh tracks were in great hero powder which allowed you to hit the fall line more often than is usually the case.

Around noon we tried Cougar Glades which had a few tracks in which soon disappeared. Good skiing most of the way down but very heavy snow in the final exit. We just had time for another Knot chute/Anaconda/Bootleg loop after that before breaking for a late lunch.

After lunch it was more of the same but rather more so. First trip I hiked Knot chutes and hit Tight Knot from the very top through the narrow entrance which was pretty mellow in the hero snow. Next was the top of Triple Trees down to Trespass trail which had a few tracks in the top which disappeared half way down giving first tracks to the trail.

The rest of the afternoon was spent traversing into Knot chutes and again hitting all of them from Tight on the skiers right to Jim on the skiers left (Thin was particularly good). The runs were completed either by dropping back through far left Surprise Trees/Triple Trees or going very far out on Anaconda. Going out that far on Anaconda is great as the chutes are not numbered and you are really having to pick your way through the tight trees that spit you out just above Bootleg, needless to say totally untracked. To exit these runs we skied past Bootleg and hit the trees on the far side which I don't even think have a name and again sking steep tight tree chutes all the way down in mostly untracked snow - totally awesome untracked skiing in hero snow.

We had a quick experiment checking out the Brain and found that whilst it was great lightly tracked powder at the top it turned to real elephant snot half way down and even the lower section of Skydive was really hard work. In the light of this we abandoned Skydive for the last run (shock horror) and did the Knot/far Anaconda/far Bootleg run which remained great snow with plenty of fresh lines if you looked for them.

A great day when it was least expected made all the better by first/fresh tracks all day due to the total lack of skiers in the parts of the hill where we went and where in our judgement the best skiing would be. Still pretty warm and raining in the valley as we left the hill after a couple of beers but that just could mean another White Pass powder day tomorrow, who knows.

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