Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 3 so much better than expected

Now, lets put this into context, compared with the awesome powder days that we have had and will have again the current conditions are pretty poor but in the context of an early season skiing experience what we have at the moment is pretty ok.

I went to the hill today with very low expectations. There had been snow over night but so light that the tire tracks in my drive were still clearly visible. The radio forecast a rain snow mix for the next few days with daytime highs of +4 and as we headed off to the hill in temps of +2 we had light rain. As it was we had some really very good conditions for early season which proves the old skiing adage - if you don't go you don't know.

When we got to the hill they were claiming 12 cms in the last 24 and a base of 97 cms. Given that most of that snow probably fell yesterday expectations were still low. As it turned out the snow had continued to fall as a very fine graupel ( that's what I have been told is the correct spelling of grapple) and had provided a good covering. Temps stayed a degree or two above zero at the base all day with temps of about zero mid mountain and -1 at the top. The conditions were very overcast with occasional short flurries of graupel during the day.

It being the first weekday of the season skier traffic was very thin and all day it was possible to stop for several minutes without seeing anyone. We headed up Bear to find that the overnight snow had left a smooth powderish covering about half way up the boot. We took a couple of runs down Bear and laid fresh tracks each time by staying left and right. Next as Cedar bowl had been opened from the very top as far as Cruiser we dropped the chutes off the top of the Bear and had some quite deep untracked but heavy snow down to Alpine Way. We then did a couple of loops via Haul Back and Boomerag each time cutting as close to Cedar Ridge as possible before dropping left to Cruiser - Cedar Ridge and Boomerang off North Ridge remain closed. The snow was great with fresh powder on the old base but still with the ground contours showing through to make for good interesting terrain.

Late morning Lizard High Traverse opened all the way across to Dancer and we were there when the fence dropped. For the rest of the morning we just looped off Bear traversing out into Lizard until we could see no more tracks then dropping down in untracked powder (sort of) about boot high down to Tower 6 trail.

The afternoon was just are run of the morning and we were still finding fresh tracks right up to closing bell. Right at the end I bumped into some buddies (Rob, Dan and Brian) for a final rip through Cedar and then Bear and Cascade - a great finish to the day.

So, having gone expecting the worst I ended up having a pretty good day. Technically as what we were sking was untracked and flew as we skied it I guess it has to count as powder but lets keep a sense of proportion about things, it was good but by no means awesome.

Final mention is for Kodiak which we skied mid afternoon. Being a bit lower the untracked "powder" was very heavy indeed, tending to force you into skiing rail road lines in wide curves rather than nice turns. The toughest run on the hill at the moment for anyone looking for a challenge.

As always beers in the Griz bar with buddies then a hot tub back at the ranch. First day that I don't feel completely knackered at this time of night.

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