Monday, April 9, 2012

Day 123 Another bluebird spring day

And so it was. After yesterday's big warm up we had the inevitable freeze overnight under clear skies with temps dropping to around -4. Today was a complete rerun of yesterday with bluebird conditions, a freezing start, rock hard ice everywhere, and then a warm up in the sun so that we had temps of +15 at the base, even +9 on top and all south facing slopes softening like mad.

Obviously there was no new snow but the base only dropped to 424 cms which is pretty amazing considering the continuing warm sun.

We went to the Old Side after a slightly delayed start to drop in a Fernie Ford to book the Explorer in for it's annual service next week when the hill closes. I'm afraid to offend die hard Old Siders but really it's getting hard to justify a trip there when set against what is now on offer on the New Side. Really there is nothing challenging enough in Lizard bowl to attract, and because of avi debrise Snake Ridge and beyond are closed and likely to be for the rest of the season.

This only leaves the triangle and as with today when Boom ridge was closed due to conditions it only really gave us Cedar Ridge, Boom bowl and Linda's run none of which were very good. To be fair some buddies who skied it in the afternoon said conditions had mellowed but after about half a morning poking around looking for good snow and only finding refrozen crud we headed for the New Side.

Lift Line was a firm base with a bit of crud on top but taking a nice edge. From the top of White Pass we saw that Polar peak was not yet open because of the icey conditions so we cut back into Gun Bowl (still frozen) and then Anaconda Glades (great winter snow in the chutes and slightly heavy to the point of being hero snow) Bootleg Glades (soft on top a bit chunky in the lower sections).

Next time round Polar was still not open but we found the Saddles were and dropped High Saddle which is getting a bit bumped up but nice skiing in the chute. The snow underneath was tracked powder and in ok shape. Exit via Easter bowl which was quite tracked in snow but taking a good edge.

After lunch I headed up to Polar Peak to find it open and did a series of loops in Papa Bear, Barely Legal, Grandpa Bear and finally Mama Bear. The whole of the south facing chutes had become soft bumps which skied ok but did have a big penalty (a long slide) if you made a mistake. High Saddle and Easter had been so good before lunch that we did them again and they were just as good - really good.

Next time up Polar I tried to do Barely Legal but got the entry slightly wrong and ended up in the trees and rocks to skiers left of Grandpa Bear which was a new experience and not bad coverage with just few jumps over some rocks. We exited via Baby Bear (getting very slushy), Low Saddle (skiing very easy if a bit lumpy) with the chutes under Low Saddle getting a bit tracked up and heavy, rather past their best before date. Of course Easter was still the way down.

I got to Polar just in time for a final run up to the top and then a drop down Papa Bear taking the tight chute on the left which was untracked and smooth but very soft. That brought the total to 7 Polar chutes for the day and 149 for the season to date. Just like last week I dropped Currie Powder and Trespass Trail back to White Pass in time for a final run up.

Last run of course was Skydive which was very varied and we spent our time moving left into the sun and right into the shade all the way down to try and find the best surface which depended on the pitch, the aspect and just how long it had been in/out of the sun.

Beers on the deck in sun with buddies then home for a quiet night in. Another good spring day. Any time you are sliding around on snow in the second week in April has to be good news.

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