Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day 47 hard snow and hard skiing

No new snow today and temps were around -10 on the way to  the hill. During the day they must have risen to almost zero at the base but stayed about -5 on top, so much for the inversion the forecasters were promising. It was clear on top with high cloud but the ridge line winds were pretty brutal which prevented the opening of Polar Peak. A few high traverses up into the chutes off the Reverse Traverse showed it was quite hard pack in the Polar Chutes and no great powder so no great loss.

We went to the New Side to hang around and wait for Polar Peak and in the way of things we stayed there all day. In summary the soft windsift that we had seen yesterday had been packed in very firmly so that what had been soft yesterday was hard and only just taking an edge today. Lift line was a tough ski and remained so all day although once you got used to it you could rip it quite hard.

I looped out to Currie Creek and found a bit of blow in but still plenty of hard stuff to contend with. The next loop was further to Cougar Glades on the grounds that the trees would have protected the surface from the wind packing which was true but only to some extent. I cut out into Stag Leap and found the bottom section crunchy but no worse than it has been.

It's getting hard to remember exactly what happened and in what order as days are starting to merge into one so this may not be exactly the right sequence of events -

Lone Fir - I hoped the wind would have sifted in some soft powder, what a mistake. In the chute it was ugly slab which would probably have been ok for the later skiers after we had brokenn it up. The fan which is usually soft powder was hard ugly wind swept crust. We climbed to get this and juice certainly wasn't worth the squeeze in this case.
Decline/Window Chutes - actually the bumps at the top of Skydive/Decline had filled in quite well. The run itself was a little wind affected but in Window Chutes the snow was soft with the crunch line still in there starting at the choke.
Stag Leap - nice in the trees but wind affected in the run and scratchy in the lower section.
Easter bowl - I don't often do it but it was surprisingly good in the trees on the right, the short hike up to the top was well worth it.
Skydive - great as always in top and even the scratchy section at the bottom was starting to respond to the light skier traffic and was heading towards ok.
Secret Chutes/Spinal Tap - the tree protected snow in the chutes was very good. Spinal Tap was heavy but tracked snow with loads of dead fall and a crunch line in the lower section. I can't decide whether I love or hate this pitch but today for the first time I was able to drop into the creek bed and then jump up on to the right shoulder in the lower section in an almost competent fashion - perhaps it's love.
Cougar Glades/Stag Leap - by holding the trees very tight on the left I still managed to get some fresh lines but it was a pretty ballsey call to hold it that close. Stag Leap was still scratchy in the bottom.
Surprise Trees - slabby but ok.

And that brings us to Skydive as the last run which was just like earlier in the day - great bumps in the top, soft ripping skiing in the middle and a bit crunchy lower down.

Today proved tough because everything that was soft blow in yesterday had been packed really hard by the wind except in a few places where the sift was still good. Tomorrow may give us Polar Peak but at best my guess is that will be hard pack with some soft windsift on the lee sides of the rock bands - who knows.

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