Sunday, December 9, 2012

Day 9 the saddles in early December - can this be true

There was only a dusting of snow overnight (3 cms) and a base at 151 cms. Temps were falling so we arrived at the hill to temps of -7 at the base and -10 on top. During the day they rose a couple of degrees but this still meant that temps all over the mountain were in the range for perfect powder snow which is what we got.

I expected crowds today but things were quiet, so quiet in fact that it was more like a week day than a Sunday - a school of thought was that the weekenders had skied so hard yesterday and partied so hard after skiing that they were in no shape to ski today, that might even be right. The forecasters were calling for a fine day with afternoon flurries so sure enough it started snowing mid morning and just continued with dry, light powder all day, in fact it's still snowing out on the deck now.

We headed to the New Side on rumours of a Polar Peak opening but it soon became apparent this would be impossible. The upper part of the hill was totally socked in with snow and blowing snow in windy conditions. Viz was very white, particularly at the top of White Pass - I guess that's why they call it White Pass.

We tried a few runs off White Pass in the Gun Bowl which was braille skiing and through Highline Trees which were nice soft windblown powder. We then tried a couple of runs through Surprise Trees and found the Idiot Traverse quite mellow and lots of untracked lines in Surprise itself. Next was a couple of trips through Anaconda to try the new glading in chutes 1 & 2. I have to say these are now rather too open for my personal taste but I dare say many will think it an improvement. I understand that 3 and above remain tight steep trees so I guess thats something for everyone.

After a quick hot choccy break we discovered that the Reverse Traverse was open out to the Saddles. For the saddles to be open at this time of year is quite unusual and I went looking for the powder below them which has been untracked so far this year. The viz on the traverse was non existant.
High Saddle - one guy beat me in but there was so much thigh deep powder that we both had awesome untracked skiing. As with all saddle runs I cut right into Easter Bowl and found deep soft lightly tracked snow in the trees on the left.
Corner Pocket - even better than High Saddle if only because of the extra vert. great untracked thigh deep powder.
Low Saddle - a quick right hook after the trees in the top opened up more deep untracked skiing.
Lone Fir - I thought it was worth hiking up and wasn't disappointed, only a few skiers had got in before me. A little scratchy in the choke but after that awesome deep powder down into Easter.

After a very late lunch I took a quick trip out to Decline which was in great shape with deep soft snow, plenty of terrain to give an interesting ride and great work low down to clear out last years alders.

As I arrived at the top of Timber a patroller buddy gave me the nod that Big Bang was about to open so as soon as the signs flipped I cut Lazy Locals Traverse into the top and then hit Big Bang top to bottom untracked with over the head face shots all the way. It was so good that after that I looped back off White Pass top and had another go - Big Bang was still mostly untracked and just as good as before.

Last run of course was Skydive which had been filling in all day and was great soft deep powder all the way down. A great way to finish.

So it was still snowing as I was puting up my Christmas lights with a deck temp of -6. Looks like another good powder day tomorrow with an outside chance of Polar Peak.

1 comment:

  1. I am enjoying your real time reporting from Fernie. Looking forward to skiing Fernie in February.