Sunday, December 23, 2012

Day 23 the storm passes but more to come

Last night's winter storm blew itself out in the night so this morning dawned with no snow actually falling for the first time in about a week. The hill we claiming 12 cms of fresh but I have to say that in places it seemed much more to me, perhaps as much as double in certain stashes. Temps had fallen to -12 at the base and started about the same all over.

During the day an inversion developed so that temps on top were about -5, this was except up Polar Peak which was it's usual windy brutal self driving ice pellets horizontally at you at about 50 klicks. We had flurries off and on during the day with a super heavy one late morning which must have accumulated at least 5 cms in an hour but things brightened up towards the end of the day. They are calling for another 10 cms tonight and who am I to argue.

We went to the Old Side and as we arrived at the top of Bear they dropped the fence into Lizard Bowl. I am not a big fan of Lizard as the pitch is not steep and the skiing generally not challenging but as there was untracked to be had we took Bow Trees and assorted gullys and first tracked our way back to Bear Chair.

We then proceeded with our original plan which was to go out to Snake Ridge and hit the Gorby Steep and Deep shoulder which just like yesterday was thigh deep and totally awesome. We worked our way back to Boomerang with conflicting reports as to whether or not there was a problem with the chair. It seemed to be running but we were told by an insider not to rely on it and so headed to the New Side via a very mellow drop down Boomerang in chopped up powder.

On the New Side we had time for three loops via Polar Peak before lunch -
Pappa Bear/Skydive - poor light in the top but good snow all the way. Great deep lightly tracked powder in Skydive.
Mamma Bear/Stag Leap - as with Pappa Bear. Stag Leap had much better coverage than last week in the trees above the run and the run itself was great rolling soft powder, like a terrain park but better.
Baby Bear/Decline/Window Chutes - still poor light and great powder in Baby Bear. Decline still had some untracked lines along the side but was mostly deep tracked powder. For the first time this year the direct drop into Window Chute from above off Decline looked an option and it proved to be deep untracked snow which I guess hadn't been skied this year. The chute was still full of soft snow and the log drop down to about 3 ft at the most, one more dump and it could well disappear.

After lunch I went back to Polar Peak and hit Grandpappa Bear on the grounds that it was one of only two Bear lines I hadn't tried this year (excluding Goldilocks who isn't really a Bear). This took me back to Polar base for another ride and this time I dropped Spirit Bear which was a little rocky in the entrance but very soft and deep after that. The run to the bottom was via Cougar Glades which in truth were pretty tracked out although the left side exit chute was almost untouched, probably as there were some alders and dead fall to contend with.

I only had time for a couple more loops excluding Polar Peak so went back to Stag Leap as it had been so good earlier - it was a little more tracked up but still very good. I bumped into a ski instructor buddy and we hiked up into Big Bang next time round and got some very nice lightly tracked lines on the right near the trees.

So last run was Skydive as usual. The whoopdy-do on the far side of the bridge had been getting worse all day and last time round it took a fair bit of caution in the entrance to keep your speed down to a safe pace - some work is seriously needed there. Skydive itself had a few bumps in the top then you could pull the trigger for a crazy free ride all the way down in great soft snow.

Tonight we went out for our traditional pre Christmas meal in the Lizard Creek Lounge. The main course was excellent (good old Alberta beef) but the service was slow, the drinks over priced (8 bucks for a small bottle of cider) and the desserts aweful - think we will give it a miss for the rest of this season.

Let's see what Christmas Eve holds.

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