Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day 48 there comes a time when no matter how much wind you get there is no snow to sift

The stats say it all, in the past 7 days we have had 7 cms of snow and although the wind has worked overtime to give us wind sift that is a fair imitation of powder there comes a time when no matter how much wind you get there is no soft snow to move and all you get is the old snow packed in harder than ever - today was that day.

On the way to the hill it was -7 and temps rose steadily all day until driving back from the hill it was +2. looking out on my deck only a moment ago it was -1 which is way warmer than the last few days. Conditions were almost bluebird but with some high wispy cloud. The problem was that winds were very apparent at the top of Polar Peak which again remained closed. During the day the wind line moved down the hill so that by mid day it was on the Timber Ridge and later moved to the Currie Chutes and even lower.

Normally this kind of wind would bring soft windsift but after 3 days of this there is little or snow snow to be blown around and the result was that we had packed in surfaces to ski on. Actually this wasn't so bad as the surface took a good edge in crisp conditions and there was always a little slabby windsift to make it more interesting.

I spent some time in the morning looping back to White Pass chair through Knot Chutes which remained firm but taking and edge, when they get round to opening Polar Peak I would imagine that the chutes up there would ski very much like this. As it became obvious that Polar Peak would not open I just started to do New Side loops off White Pass.

As I have said the snow was packed in and taking a firm edge on a crispy base with a little slabby snow blown in. There is not much point in giving a blow by blow account of the runs skied as most of them were the same and the same as yesterday. Our New Side loops were - Currie Creek, Skydive, Cougar  Glades/Stag Leap, Decline, Stag Leap, Decline/Window Chutes, Cornice Chute, Secret Chutes/Spinal Tap, Knot Chutes/Anaconda/Bootleg, Siberia Ridge (nice and mellow and lightly tracked) and Surprise Trees.

It's really not worth going in to details of each run until the snow comes back and gives us something to differentiate them. By exception, Spinal Tap was heavy in the top giving hero snow but very scratchy and technical jumping in and out of the creek bed to exit, Anaconda was particularly nice in top section of the second chute with soft snow and Sib Ridge was almost giving face shots (if rather wet ones) on the way down. Apart from that things were as described - hard crisp edgy skiing on wind packed snow.

Final run of course was Skydive and what we lacked in numbers (3 of us) we made up for in quality with me, Andy B and Randy sharing the final rip of the day. With temps forecast to go to plus figs tomorrow, more wind in the outlook and no new precip it looks like we could be in for a very interesting few days. I think a visit to the Old Side first thing might prove interesting as the lower hill softens.

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