Sunday, December 2, 2012

Day 2 a big improvement

After the rather sketchy conditions of yesterday a fall of new snow went a long way towards getting the season back on track. Conditions are still very much "early season hazards" but at least now it's starting to feel a bit like some of the other opening weeks that we have had and we have rather more of the Old Side to play with but still no sign of the New Side. Given the very low skier numbers we will probably have to wait at least until next weekend before we get the New Side.

Overnight the rain turned to snow and whilst it wasn't a heavy fall it kept on coming and was still falling as we drove to the hill. Starting temps were zero in the valley and -1 at the base of the hill. The boards claimed an 85 cm base and 8 cms of new overnight, given the measure was taken early in the morning we probably started with about 10 cms of quite heavy fresh snow. It snowed all day with the snow fall building so that by closing we had quite an accumulation on top. Base temps rose to +1 and the snow turned to rain at the very bottom but not enough to do too much damage to the snow already on the ground. So while we did have a fair amount of new snow it was with a high moisture content and heavy.

The effect on conditions was to turn yesterday's base into a very hard ice crust. I think there had been some grooming but it must have happened while the snow was wet slush yesterday evening as when the base formed it was very bumpy and uneven. The fresh snow of the day gave a good soft covering but the conditions were about as tough on the legs as I can remember as the icey uneveness was hiden by the new snow so you were constantly having to react and rebalance everywhere you skied. The new snow never got quite enough to give a smooth ride but it did cover a lot of yesterday's bare patches and as a result the rock skis only took a couple of new gouges during the course of the day.

We started on Bear and had a couple of runs on the new soft snow where some untracked stuff could be found. Just like yesterday we looped out to Haul Back via North Ridge and Emily's which were in much better shape than yesterday but still no skiing off either side into Boomerang or Cedar Ridge. From the top of the haul back Lower North Ridge was now open so that was the route back to the Boom Chair.

That set the pattern for the day. As patrol managed to open new areas we skied them a couple of times before moving on to the next opening. As a result we tried -
Arrow - great soft snow in then top then many different ways down as you spread out along Tower 6 Trail. Below the trail things got very interesting with a lot of alders and other bush work making sking very challenging but great fun.
Alpine Way - when opened you could access much of Cedar Ridge just on the near side of Cruiser. The many and varied ways down were lightly tracked in heavy powder but following the advice from Ski patrol we cut out left half way down to avoid what was described as "hero to zero conditions".
Cedar Centre - very sketchy on the icey base with loads of growth to make life interesting, probably the toughest challenge on the hill at the moment.

All the skiing was linked by loops through Bear or Boomerang so that the whole thing came together as quite enjoyable circuits. Another bell to bell day which left the early season legs complaining. A visit to the Griz Bar to see friends and then home for a hot tub seemed to go a long way to effecting a cure.

Cooling temps and more precip in forecast so if they have got it right (no laughter please) then things should continue to improve - lets see.

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