Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 42 typical Fernie

And just what is typical of Fernie is the way the conditions change just to show you up when you think that maybe you have things under control. Yesterday we had hero snow which meant we could all ski as if we were experts, no pitch or line was a problem and we all thought we had got it cracked. Today conditions changed so that it was a lot tougher to ski what we had and much tougher to find untracked lines, if you wanted to ski like you did yesterday you just had to put in much more effort.

The effect on the snow users was that they either had to muscle up and ski harder or give up and go home. Looking at the lack of skier traffic in the afternoon I guess quite a lot decided on the latter course of action - no one will be surprised to know that I chose to go for it and squeeze the best I could out of the conditions.

The hill called 4 cms over night but I guess most of that fell yesterday. On the way to the hill it was -10 and stayed that way all day getting a little cooler on top and with the wind chill I guess we were looking at about -16. It was mostly clear and during the day it became bluebird particularly on Polar Peak. Working on the basis that the Peak and the Saddles were the only parts of the hill not open yesterday we went to the New Side to cash in.

Polar was closed at first and we had a run through Lift Line and Surprise Trees which proved to be a bit heavy in the areas and slabby on the open slopes. It was evident that there had been a massive wind event leading to huge windrows, slabby snow and really hard wind packed crust, sometimes all within a few metres of each other.

Next time we dropped Knot Chutes which had looked soft from a distance but which actually were hard packed wind crust and tough skiing all the way down. We finished off with Anaconda (where all the soft wind had blown to) and Bootleg Glades (still soft untracked snow in the trees to the left).

Polar Peak was not open so we looped Corner Pocket (a bit tight in the chute but fantastic deep untracked powder below) Nearside Easter (great untracked lines in the trees) High Saddle (realy tight edge to edge jumping through the chute and then below just as Corner Pocket) Nearside Easter (as before).

Polar Peak opened and we had several different lines down and ran back to the base of the chair. The snow was very varied, soft on top and with huge windrows across the chutes and hard pack below those. I didn't even look at Grand pappa Bear as it just looked like a lunar landscape. The only bad experience was Barely Legal which was awesome soft snow all the waydown to the rock bands which were totally scoured - the exit was very scratchy and left a few dints in my bases.

For lunch I ran off the hill therough Low Saddle ( which after a right cut half way down the chute was super deep untracked powder) - Easter nearside trees again.

After lunch it was back up Polar Peak which remained bluebird and the most fantastic 360 degree view of mountain tops, perhaps in the world - and awesome view on an awesome day. We had more runs up and down Polar to the base of the chair which was much as in the morning. I did take a trip out to Lone Fir as all the Saddles looked pretty scraped out and hiked up to find it steep and deep and very mellow skiing through the chute with even better snow in the fans through the avi affected trees.

More playing on Polar Peak comfirming that the far chutes Like Mamma Bear and Baby Bear were in the best shape for the day. A last drop of Pappa and a return trip through Trespass Trail brought me back to the top of Sydive for the final run. The only other person today was my good buddy a ski instructor called Andy who had been working all day and fancied a rip. We had a good one with the crunchy section in the bottom third proving to be an interesting challenge.

No new snow in the forecast and temps suposed to be down to -16 tonight. Could be an interesting weekend.

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