Friday, January 18, 2013

Day 49 a bit of a windy one

The forecast for today was for a big warm up which did happen but the main feature of the weather was the strong winds which were very strong at ridge line levels and were even quite strong at the base. The effect of this was that even though base temps rose to +3 during the day and the conditions were bluebird there was no real melt and the main feature was even more sifted snow even after the winds of the past few days. Needless to say Polar Peak was a non starter in these conditions and when ever you looked up there the wind driven snow coming off the ridge lines confirmed this view.

We went to the Old Side as I had a feeling that the rising temps may have softened the lower slopes - boy, was I wrong. The conditions had changed in that there were huge areas of wind grooming giving a flat easy skiing base in many areas. On a day like this you expect wind grooming to have affected Boom Guts as that happens every time but what I didn't expect was to find wind grooming in many areas of Cedar Ridge, King Fir and Linda's. All these runs are usually protected by trees so wind grooming is limited but today we saw smooth flat surfaces which just picked up extra depth as the day went on and the snow blew in.

I know that many people love it when the skiing gets this easy in areas that are usually a little more difficult and rip the runs over and over agin at high speed, just because it is so easy. I know I am the odd one out but having ripped around all these lines during the moring I became bored by the lack of challenge (there are only so many ways you can rip a soft snow billiard table surface) so I went to look for something more challenging.

Kangaroo provided my answer by giving me tight alders in the top, icey bumps with twigs and rocks in the top section, a tricky drop on to the cat track on ice and a very challenging bottom section in crust with horses heads on the top of the bumps. I have always taken the view that if your technical skills are good then Kangaroo is a great run and if they are not then it's a nightmare of your own making. I dropped the roo 5 times and had a better run every time as I started to understand how the lines played out.

After lunch I headed out to the New Side. Winds were getting very strong and for a while I was worried that they might stop one of the chairs but we kept going. As always the way from Timber Top to White Pass bottom was Lift Line and it skied nicely with soft powder in the top turning to ok bumps in the bottom.

We just hit out on a few loops due to the fact that it was a short afternoon following such a long morning on the Old Side. They ran -
Stag Leap - ok in the trees but a bit confusing working out what was a real obstruction and what had just blown off the trees. The sift was getting good in the mid sections and skier traffic had pounded in the worst of the crunch low down.
Decline/Window Chutes - Decline was easy soft rolling terrain but the drop into the chutes was decidedly chunky. The chutes themselves were fine but the log drop is now up to about 4ft and the exit through the choke just as the scratch line begins isn't getting any easier.
Secret Chutes/Spinal Tap - I cut further right than usual and found a few untracked lines in the tight trees. Spinal Tap was very rough and chunky in the top and very scratchy low down particularly when jumping in and out of the stream bed. It was tough but I enjoyed it.

So at the end of the day we came to Skydive and although the numbers were down again (2) the quality was through the roof - me and Lynda (explanation for some of my readers, this is British humour). We had a good ski down in ok but firm conditions and met up with our Irish buddy Simon in a bar (now there's a surprise) as he was enjoying his first day with us out here.

I guess we will just have to go and have a look tomorrow as forecasts are all at odds with each other.

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