Sunday, December 30, 2012

Day 30 more people but still quiet if you know where to go

The light snow of last night fizzled out pretty quick and we had no significant accumulation. Temps on the way to the hill were around -10 and during the day they got up to about -5 before falling back to -9 as we drove home. For most of the day the top of the hill was socked in which gave us some light mountain snow which was a nice skiing surface but didn't really add much to the base which has now compacted down to around 210 cms.

I thought Polar Peak might be open right off the bat as there was a certain lightness in the cloud cover so we went to the New Side and inertia being what it is we stayed there all day - I promise I will be back on the Old Side tomorrow. The crowds were still not as big as I have seen them at this time of year in the past and if you got out to the end of the Reverse Traverse or the the top of the Big Three things weren't really much different from a normal Sunday. That having been said the hill is really starting to show the effects of no snow for a week and high volume holiday skier traffic. Whilst the snow is still nice a crisp and taking and edge and there is still some soft to be found we are starting to see some very big bumps forming all over the hill.

The light at the top of the New Side was very flat and conditions at the top of White Pass very socked in. As a result we decided to do a loop back through Surprise Trees to get ourselves together in some tree shadow. It was pretty good, tracked up but still with some soft berms to surf on the way through. When we got back to the top Polar Peak was open so we decide to give it a go - big mistake, it was like skiing in a milk bottle and we picked our way down to the Reverse Traverse before cutting out to Cougar Glades. I tried the trees very hard right which still had lots of soft but were very tight, so tight in fact I had to cut back left about half way down. We exited through the lower left chute which was a bit technical through the twigs and dead fall but still enjoyable.

After that we just looped the New Side avoiding the Peak -

Decline - still good but with the whole top section now soft bumps. Only the lower pitch as soft snow of any kind. We cut into Window Chutes at the half way stage and had great semi tracked skiing in the trees. The log drop is now about 3 ft and the lower section soft snow but a but scratchy in the final pitch.
Stag Leap - getting a bit technical through thr trees with some slick sections. The run below the trees probably still has the most soft of all the big three.
Currie Creek - as I have said before this tends to be left alone as by the time anyone gets there they are on a mission to go further. Actually it was quite well packed in but gave us good easy bump skiing (well as easy as that kind of pitch allows) all the way down.

As last run before lunch we tried Polar Peak again and found Pappa Bear a little more visible than the time before. We cut out to Skydive and found the bumps in the top bigger than ever but easing off all the way down until the final pitch was just pushing soft snow.

After lunch which was quite late I headed up Polar Peak to see if things had improved - even bigger mistake than the morning as the viz was about as bad as I have seen it all season and I had to grope my way down to the Reverse Traverse. As I was in need of being able to see something I went into the Brain which was a bit tracked up in the top section but still with some soft and untracked stuff in the second section if you played it very tight with the trees.

Next time round amazingly the cloud had lifted when I got to White Pass top and Polar Peak was bathed in sunshine. I just managed to catch the last chair up and went to Baby Bear on the grounds that with the crap light all day all the traffic had stayed in Pappa Bear - I was right and had a fantastic rip down Baby Bear in deep soft snow in perfect light.

As it was so late it was a slog round Trespass Trail to get back to White Pass then out to Skydive for the last run. Skydive remainded bumpy a lot further down than usual but the bumps took a nice edge. Great to meet up with my buddy Rod half way down and now he is in town I expect us to be leading each other astray on the hill.

A good day spoilt only by having to line up for about a quarter of an hour to get in the Griz Bar. Must be the only business that would leave their best customer (ok Tyler maybe second best) standing out in the cold while members of staff by pass the line to go to the bar - can't have members of staff having to line up in cold after all can we ?

No new snow in the forecast for a few days so all we can do is hope the crowds start to drift away.

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