Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day 55 Yes

The heading of course is the answer to the question posed yesterday - would it ever snow again. It did overnight last night and gave us a pretty good day. The official figures were for 12 cms of fresh but it seemed to be quite a bit more in places and the base repaired to 193 cms. We were supposed to get sub zero temps but by midday with the cloud clearing base temps were +5 and only just below zero on top. Things have cooled down a bit now but it is still +1 on the deck as I am typing this.

The resulting snow was exactly what we needed. Dry champagne powder would have just blown away and the heavier high moisture content that we got was exactly what was needed to stick to the slick surface and provide something for the next round of snow (forecast for tomorrow) to stick to. Add to that the fact that it was real hero snow that held you up so well that you could just point your skies and go and you had a recipe for a pretty good day.

As this was the first fresh snow for two weeks we were in line 15 mins before the lifts started loading on the New Side - I left the Old Side alone as I didn't want my day to be spoilt by the potential of pay for powder groups getting in ahead of me. It was good call as after putting second tracks in Lift Line I actually cut the traverse out the Skydive having to side step across Currie Creek (and nearly giving way to the temptation to drop it as it looked so good) in order to get there. There is no feeling in the world so good as standing at the top of Skydive on a powder day having cut first tracks knowing that you can go anywhere on the Big 3 and get first tracks all the way down. I took Skydive, keeping to the left to leave something for those who came after me and just floated down on the hero untracked snow.

Next loop I tried Cougar Glades which only had a couple of tracks that disappeared off to the right. It was great untracked tree skiing on the left before cutting out into Stag Deep which was equally good with only 3 or 4 tracks in ahead of me. An obvious choice was the Brain for the next loop which unsurprisingly was totally untracked which allowed some super tight tree lines in the second section to be taken.

I went to Decline which was tracked but had some untracked parts before dropping left into the top of Window Chutes. The Chutes were untracked as two borders who were cutting in from the left had decided to stop to wait for a buddy - no friends on a powder day. It was good deep soft snow and I hit the log drop right off the centre to chalk up yet another first track score.

I had hoped that Secret Chutes and Spinal Tap would have been untracked and to be fair there were untracked lines in the chutes. Unbelievably two tracks were in Spinal Tap ahead of me, after all who else would be stupid enough to ski a gnarly line like that. Even with the tracks it was pretty ok skiing. As a final run before lunch I hiked Lone Fir and found about 4 tracks in the chute in front of me which still left some nice lines. Best news was that the fan below is now covered again in soft deep snow and now should just get better as the snow gets sloughed out of the chute. Easter bowl was soft and ok and a good easy way to go to lunch.

Polar Peak opened in the afternoon. The top was socked in with poor light and strong winds which kept most of the faint hearted away from what was the best skiing on the hill that I found. The first few turns in the chutes were icey, bumpy and with the poor viz you had to pay attention, after that the chutes just got better. As always my loops comprise one Pappa Bear back to the chair and then one of the far chutes with a run to base, you don't have to be genius to work out that three loops this afternoon resulted inn 6 trips up Polar Peak.

Loop 1 - Pappa Bear, a bit variable but better and deeper snow as you got lower. Mamma Bear awesome deep untracked powder all the way down to the Reverse Traverse. The run to base was through Cougar Glades which still had some untracked lines. This time in the lower area I hit the trees between the Cougar Glade exit and Stag Leap. I'm not sure these even have a name but they are steep and get super tight with some dead fall which means taking air in tight trees - great fun.

Loop 2 - Pappa Bear as before and Baby Bear, if possible even better than Mamma Bear. I know there had been tracks in before me but they were sifted in and it was great. Exit via Concussion which nearly proved to be an appropriate name as I misjudged a tree and managed to blow off a ski in the resulting confusion but no harm done.

Loop 3 - Pappa Bear and Baby Bear, see above. Of course we finished on Skydive which was surprisingly flat and still with some untracked patches - we hit it top to bottom without a break.

So a great end to the snow drought with more in the forecast to a greater or lesser degree over the next few days.

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