Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day 53 more lift problems, still no new snow but an end of the drought is in sight

Yes, today was much the same as the previous few days with no new snow, valley fog, a temperature inversion, and a lift problem. Today it was White Pass Chair which was supposed to open half an hour late, then at 11, then 12, then 1 and eventually opened about 1:30. This was on top of yesterday when we lost Timber Chair for more than half of the day. A buddy of mine pointed out that they use the same technology to move coal in the mine where he works and it never breaks down. He also made the point that if they stop shifting coal they don't get paid while at a ski hill they charge the customers  whether the lifts work or not - seems like a good point to me.

Temps were -8 0n the way to the hill and rose during the day a degree or two but always remained cold when you found yourself in valley fog. It seemed to warm a bit on top but my guess is that it reamained below zero all over the hill all day.

With no real choice we went to the Old Side and after a warm up down Sunny Side shoulder which was hard bumps we poked around on Boom, Linda's, Cedar Ridge all of which remained flat from old wind grooming but with the base packed in rock hard. We even looped out to Gorby Bowl which like everywhere else was hard but with rather greater penalties for getting it wrong on the way down to the cliff band.

With incorrect information that White Pass was open we headed up Timber only to find it wasn't and having to loop Siberia Ridge which remains in remarkably good shape, rather like a free riding terrain park.

We just had time for one more loop out to Snake Ridge on the Old Side before lunch and dropped Steep and Deep which had some patchy lines - ok to the right and very wind affected to the left. Of course there was always Kangaroo which we skied 3 or 4 times (I've rather lost count) and just like the past few days it was great icey bumpy skiing for those prepared to put in the effort.

After lunch we moved to the New Side and got to White Pass chair just about as it was loading. Polar Peak was loading but at the top we found the chutes shut and had to make do with running down the icey rocky chute just to lookers left of the lift. The official reason for the closure of the chutes was that they were slick which I don't doubt for one minute but I can't help but feel that those of us who would enjoy this kind of skiing were being penalized for the "experts" who stacked it on the chutes a few days ago and fell top to bottom.

We just looped the New Side with -

Cougar Glades/Stag Leap - the snow was firm but taking an edge in the trees and out on the run it was soft in the mid section and crisp in the lower parts.
Stag Leap - the run after Cougar had been so good we gave it a go and it was good. Through the trees was firm but ok and the mid section of the run was soft bumps taking an edge, the lower section was as before.
Decline/Window Chutes - great crisp bumps in Decline taking a nice edge with still some soft snow in the drop in through the trees to the chute itself. The log drop is a bit bigger, maybe 3 ft and the ski out scratchy but all in all a nice pitch.

With time to kill I looped White Pass through Knot Chutes (hard packed but smooth) and Surprise Trees (quite crisp but easy skiing taking an edge) before heading out to Skydive. The final run down Skydive was really good with the big bumps in the top skiing well and the undualtions lower down providing great free riding terrain. Even the bottom section is hard but ok.

So there we have it. The high pressure ridge that has dominated our weather system for the last week or so is falling apart and wet pacific coastal systems are moving in over the next few days, Timing and amounts of precip are uncertain but then aren't they always. Thursday morning at 4 am Canada AM are broadcasting live from the hill and we are all invited to attend. I think I will give this a miss, partly because my bed is warm and cosy at that hour and partly because the chances of me being let anywhere near a live mike are about the same as me becoming the next Pope - I think the interviwees that day will be giving the party line on all matters skiing so there goes my chance in show biz.

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