Saturday, December 15, 2012

Day 15 love convective cells

As I was riding up the last lift of today with a patroller buddy he told me that the outlook was for convective cells. These are the second favourite words for all Fernie skiers as they are the local weather systems that can lead us to getting huge dumps while the area forecast and what is happening all round is just a light dusting. Of course nothing is guaranteed but at least we are in with a shout. Before anyone asks  the first favourite words for a Fernie skier are "the beers are on the house" but I don't anticipate hearing them any time soon.

I was wrong yesterday when I said today would be a bit of a zoo, we got to the hill about 8:45 and parked well into lot 2 with only a little more traffic than a week day. It was explained to me that this weekend all the out of towners are tied up with office parties, Christmas shopping, visiting families etc. Whatever the reason it was pretty quiet.

It had been colder overnight down to about -10 and we started with base temps of -8 and a couple of degrees colder up the hill. During the day temps rose but never to the point where the snow softened and I guess by the end it was -2 at the base and -5 on top. The day was overcast with afternoon snow showers but no great acumulation. Viz was very socked in at the top such that half way through the day Polar Peak had to close and by the end the "white" line was half way down White Pass - from the words used you will guess it was another New Side day.
Just like the previous days the snow was lightly tracked everywhere but with blow in and the daytime snow the skiing surface stayed in great shape. The day shaped up as -

Surprise Trees - two loops in good soft snow.
Anaconda Glades - still some of the best snow on the hill in chute 2.
Bootleg Glades - good in the top but very twiggy on the exit.
Lift line - used every time from Timber Top to White Pass base and still soft but scratchy in places.
Polar Peak - very socked in at the top but half way down Papa Bear became soft flat windsift.
Tom's - where the snow had blown to, deep, untracked and very nice.
Timber to bottom rip - caused by me getting my pole hung up on the chair and not being able to untangle it, had to race the chair to the base to get it sorted.
Polar Peak - still good low down but the viz much worse.
Concussion - good soft snow in the left of the steep chute.
Anaconda - as before , good, then lunch

After lunch it was the usual afternoon loops of -
Easter Bowl - very mellow soft bumps
Cougar Glades - still some untracked if you are prepared to take some ballsey lines near the trees.
Surprise Trees - still in great shape
Skydive - where else would you finish but in the soft bumpy terrain of Skydive.

While drinking in the bar tonight I was told that the upside estimate for the current weather cycle was 70 cms in 48 hours - I hope they are right. At least the weekenders had a couple of runs down Polar peak today to calm their paranoia that we only open it mid week - perhaps.

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