Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 96 brutal weather, great skiing

Let's deal with the weather first. It rained most of the night and temps were +3 on the deck this morning. The hill claimed 3 cms of fresh but the amazing thing was the forecast that called for cooling temps all day resulting in a winter storm warning for the Elk Valley with the rain turning to snow and possibly 30 cms of fresh in the evening going into the night.

When we arrived at the hill it was +2 at the base and -1 on top and these temps didn't seem to change much during the day. It rained at the base and half way up the hill although during the day the snow line seemed to move steadily down the hill though it never really arrived at the base. There was stacks of wind (so much that Polar Peak wasn't even started today) and this with the rain/snow on top gave pretty well blizzard conditions up in White Pass and what can only be described as totally brutal conditions by anyone's standards.

The obvious thing to do was to go high and loop White Pass. Even though everyone was up there (who in their right mind would be skiing anywhere else) it wasn't crowded. Most of the skiers seemed to be in instruction groups (ski school, Non Stop etc) and for the most part these seemed to be fixated on skiing groomers leaving the good stuff to the dozen or so of us who were prepared to give it a go.

Viz was a problem all day but straight off the bat Lift Line proved to be soft, flat, deep blown in powder and untracked - this set the standard for the day. There was no way in the conditions that we were going to go to base in the rain so we just put in loops of Gun bowl, or as we got more confident the various Knot chutes. After that it was Surprise Trees all the way across to Triple Trees and back again. The snow was awesome and untracked and coming down so hard that each time you looped through it was untracked from the time before. The new snow was starting to slough particularly in Knot chutes (Tight Knot to Jim and back again) and all in all it was a pretty awesome mornings skiing in what amounted to fresh tracks everywhere we went.

To finish for lunch we dropped Anaconda Glades which clearly had been skied but because of the new snow all the chutes were untracked and the biggest danger was being taken out by your own slough. Bootleg Glades were good down to Gilmar Trail but after that it was sticky elephant snot all the way down to the base.

The afternoon was an exact rerun of the morning except that the snow in the Knot chutes was much deeper and more prone to slough and The Triple Trees/Surprise Trees shoulder was deeper and again untracked in the new snow. We looped until last chair.

Last run was down Anaconda where even more snow had accumulated so that it was a race against your own slough all the way down. We hit the trees just beyond Bootleg Glades which were untracked and only got heavy in the lower section. The ski out at the bottom of the hill was a bit less sticky in than in the morning as a result of the cooling temps.

In summary a great day skiing up in White Pass which was only prevented from being awsome by some rather dodgy viz and a lack of vert due to being restricted to White Pass. More snow forcast tonight but it doesn't seem to be getting as cold as they said so I have some doubts, but lets see.

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