Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day 44 a bit nippy

Yup, on the way to the hill today it was -20 at the base and about the same over the whole hill. During the day it rose to about -10 with some sun and the ridge lines socked in by cloud. On the way home tonight it was -12 on the temp indicator in the car so I guess it may be warming up a bit. Polar Peak was closed all day so the Currie Head Wall may have to wait a day or two but the reason for closing was that with wind chill on top it was -32 and you can't risk taking punters (many of whom may not be best prepared) up there in those conditions.

We went to the New Side and found that the combined effect of the very cool temps and a wind event in the night was that the snow had become very chunky and hard work. There were also death cookies breaking away so that on more than one occasion today I landed a ski on one coming out of a turn and had some quick work to do to stop one of the skis breaking away down the hill and taking me with it.

We drifted out to Cougar Glades and had a good run through the trees still finding soft untracked snow close to the trees but the hard pack did mean you had to stay hard over your skis all the time. Next loop we went down Skydive. The bumps in the top have smoothed out a bit and the top sections still had some soft snow to surf on. The lower third was well below the rain crunch line from a few days ago and was hard work. My guess is that it will take at least 10 cms of fresh to repair the lower parts of the Big 3.

We were getting cold so we worked our way over to the Old Side which as usual was few degrees warmer but still no stroll in the park. We spent the rest of the morning running around Cedar Ridge (several ways) Boom Ridge, Boomerang, Linda's, all of which were ok skiing on a firm base but with some soft on top. We did consider working our way out to Snake Ridge but with the cold snow proving grippy the juice didn't look worth the squeeze and a buddy that went out there confirmed this was the case.

A special mention must go to Kangaroo which was about as bad as I can remember it with a "marginal condition" sign from patrol at the top. The top section was hard icey bumps with ice tufts to catch you and twigs, roots, stumps and rocks to add to the challenge. The lower section made the top look like a piece of cake - it was breakable rain crust all the way through and a real nightmare. Having done it once we just couldn't believe how bad it was so we went back to do it again and found it just as bad - there are times when we are pretty dumb.

In the afternoon we met up with more friends and played on the New Side -

Currie Creek - we didn't mean to go there but it looked so good and once we were in it was a super rip to the bottom.
Decline - surprisingly soft in the top sections and nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be low down, a bit crunchy and no more.
Anaconda Glades - the first chute over the hump was full of deep but heavy snow. Once you got the hang of it the snow skied almost like deep powder.
Bootleg Glades - the nearside trees were still mostly untouched and it would have been a spectacular high speed rip if it haden been for catching my basket in a small bush and getting yanked into the back seat.

For the final rip down Skydive at 4 there were 9 of us which is a record for this season. Of course with so any of us there we just kept pushing each other until we all had a great rip on the edge of control even through the crunchy sections at the bottom. We had beers and nachos in the Griz as a goodbye to our buddies Steve and Liz who are heading back to the UK tomorrow. This gives us a few days before our next guest arrives from Ireland - as I have always said - you would be amazed how many friends you have when you own a house in Fernie.

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