Friday, March 16, 2012

Day 99 not great but way beter than expected

Expectations were way down as it rained all night and seemed pretty warm in the valley. Temps on the way to the hill were +2 and although the official report showed 18 cms of fresh and a 368 base we figured this was as a result of yesterdays precip and measured at the snow plot which is pretty well up the hill along side Bear. To add to this the official description of conditions was "varied" for the upper mountain and "spring conditions" for the lower which is about as close as a hill ever gets to admitting to crap conditions.

We went to the New Side to get high where temps remained at plus fgures at the base all day and around -2 at the top to start with getting up to zero or slightly higher up there as the day went on. Conditions were overcast giving up ice pellets in showers during the morning but clearing at lunch time. Over lunch we had rain at the base turning to wet snow higher up and with about 20 mins to go to final bell the lifts were closed due to too much wind - in other words pretty well every condition you could think of at some time during the day.

A sign at the top of White Pass said that Currie bowl wouldn't be opening today and that was exactly what happened.

The first drop from Timber to White Pass revealed a crust (probably rain crust) under the new snow/pellets so that jump turns were required and it was tough all the way down. We then hit Knot chutes and Surprise Trees which were ok in the top but crust from about half way down Surprise so much more jumping required.

Next time round Knots were as awesome as ever (working our way across the chutes) but we found Anaconda just opened. This was great and we hiked the hump and put first tracks in the chutes which were grippy fresh pellets but still with big sloughs. As the last couple of turns out of Anaconda were a bit crusty we came back to White Pass via Trespass Trail which was as easy as I can remember it with the skis sliding well on the fresh pellet surface.

We spent the whole of the morning working our way across Knot Chutes from the Tight Knot all the way to Simon's Crack and everything in between some of which got done more than once. In general terms all the chutes were good with new pellet powder on a slightly scratchy base but great skiing. Returns to White Pass alternated between Surprise Trees and Anaconda all of which were good with fresh tracks in rather testing crusty conditions. A funny thing was that the further you went into Surprise the higher you had to start jumping your turns in the crust. Clearly something happened up there last night but I can't work out what.

Last run before lunch was a great drop of one of the far Anaconda chutes which still had fresh rather icey snow even after a few tracks. Bootleg just looked ugly so we bottled it and went to base via Gilmar trail which was in much better shape than yesterday and quite ok. Over lunch it started to rain at the base but having heared that the Old Side had been good in the morning we decided to give it a go.

Later reports in the bar suggest that the Old Side had never been good and certainly our trip tended to confirm this. Being low we had wet snow sticking to the goggles to add to the general poor viz. Cedar ridge was heavy and tracked and Boom bowl wasn't much better - we returned to the New Side.

We resumed the New Side where we had left off with Knot Chute/Surprise Trees loops but the difference this time was that the wind had got up so at times it was difficult to see anything in the swirling snow. The effect on the snow of course was to give new untracked skiing surface as a result of the new wet snow now falling and the wind sift. The last time round Tight Knot was agin full of deep untracked windsift and we trashed it to very good effect.

White Pass chair close 20 minutes early due to the wind which was strange as by that time the wind had passed and we were skiing in quite mellow conditions - my own view is that this was call from someone who wasn't on the spot looking at what was actually happening. Even so it was an ok day on a day when the expectation was that it would be crap conditions which makes it ok by me.

More snow forecast but conditions are so crazy who knows how this will pan out.

No comments:

Post a Comment