Friday, December 21, 2012

Day 21 a timely reminder

Yes, today was the day when powder skiers who's ability had been flattered over the past week or so by the hero snow that we have been having received a sharp reminder that there is rather more to this sport than they might have thought. The factors that made it such a tough day were -
New Snow - 19 cms but this time heavy with a high moisture content.
Temps - rising to zero or possibly above at the base and only about a degree lower on top. The result was the existing snow became very heavy indeed, ok if you were first tracks but such hard work when tracked up.
Viz - it was snowing all day as usual and the light was the flatest I can remember. Flat light is what some people would call a white out, but only if they have never been in a real white out. To make matters worse during the day the cloud base descended to about half height on the hill so eveything after that had poor viz  as well as flat light.

We went to the New Side and first run got to the fence on the Zig Zag just as a patroller above waved to me to indicate it was green. The light was so flat in untracked snow that neither of us covered ourselves in much glory as to style but we got down. Skiing wasn't helped much by getting some abuse from the chair from people who thought we were poaching - dickheads.

After that we did several loops in Surprise trees as they were the only place that the light was ok and found some ok but heavy untracked snow. We arrived at Anaconda just after it opened and had a spectacular run down chute two with only two tracks ahead of us. For the rest of the morning we looped Surprise and Anaconda as the snow got heavier and the skiing tougher waiting for Currie Bowl.

I must have been very good in a past life as the fence on Currie dropped just as our chair reached the top of White Pass. The low traverse only on the far side of Currie was open so we went in. Rather than try and work a hard traverse we just swung Alpha Centauri top to bottom in untracked lines between the few tracks that had beaten us in. Next time round the side step traverse had been cut so we worked our way out the Currie Creek where we were blocked by a sign line and so had  a very fast rip down Currie Creek in lightly tracked snow. I have to say I was not happy to see so many people ignoring the sign line and equally unhappy to see no action being taken against them.

The rest of the morning we spent our time dropping off the Reverse Traverse anywhere between Concussion and Barracuda and finding very heavy untracked lines with the viz getting worse and worse,

After a very late lunch I went back up the New Side having heard that Lizard and Cedard Bowls remained closed on the Old. I was amazed to find Polar peak open and went up only to find the viz worse than my worst fears. It was a long grope down Pappa Bear in what felt like soft heavy powder but as I couldn't see it I couldn't be sure. It was then just a couple of loops of Concussion and Currie Creek again both of which were getting tracked up and so becoming very hard on the legs.

At the end of the day my legs were toast having had to deal with a whole day of heavy snow and poor light which does tend to push you into the back seat for some good old fashioned thigh burn. I was due to go to an end of the world party but was just too knackered to make it.

Temps are still hovering around zero on the deck but a cooling trend is forecast with more snow so with any luck we will be back to hero conditions tomorrow or the day after.

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