Friday, January 25, 2013

Day 56 Mixed conditions but good if you play it smart

Yes, today was a bit of a strange one which if you played it smart (which I guess we did) you had a pretty good powder day but if you didn't you would have had an ugly rain day.

There was no new snow overnight and on the way to the hill temps were -1. As we arrived it started to precip as wet snow at the base becoming quite ok snow higher up. It was clear that things were going to warm up with the diurnal effect so we went to the Old Side to get some low altitude skiing in before the temps rose and the lower hill turned to rain.

After a quick warm up on Sunny Side shoulder in poor light we looped out to Gorby Bowl/Steep and Deep and found deep untracked snow that was filling in with a combination of new snow and wind sift. The return from Haul Back top to Boom bottom was, as usual Kangaroo which was starting to get some very heavy wet snow in between the bumps but skied slow and mellow. We decided that going high was a decision that we needed to take rather earlier than anticipated so we had a rip down a very smooth Boom in big GS turns before heading over to the New Side.

Going up Timber in wet snow and poor viz we joked about Polar Peak being open in such conditions and we amazed to find that when we got to the top of White Pass that Polar was open and loading. I Can't think that very many of us went up today but those that did were rewarded by the best skiing on the hill. At the top it was totally socked in with howling wind and icey bumps which kept out the crowds and guaranteed great untracked skiing in the chutes. Pappa Bear was ok but a bit patchy but like yesterday Mamma and Baby Bear were awesome with deep untracked powder from top to bottom. We did three loops -

Loop 1 - Pappa Bear to he chair then Mamma Bear to the Traverse. Exit to base was via Cougar Glades which were really nice and filling in with the new snow. We were cutting out to Stag Leap and thinking about dropping into the trees when things strted to get really mushy so we cut out into the run an had a trip down in heavy snow, by the base it was just starting to rain.

Loop 2 - Pappa Bear/Baby Bear then a drop into Concussion which was flat and filled with untracked soft snow in the chutes to the left. I stopped by the tree I had hit yesterday and whacked it several times with my pole just like I did with trees I hit in Spinal Tap the other day. Let this be a warning to any tree that tries to hurt me , a few days later I will be back and beat the crap out of you so no more of this nonsense.

Loop 3 - Pappa Bear/Mamma Bear and then we intended Skydive and lunch. As we passed the entrance to the Brain we noticed it was untracked and dived in, after all we are only human. It was great untracked skiing in the new snow all the way down to the final pitch. After we cut out onto Skydive things changed pretty quickly and we found ourselves pushing pure elephant snot for the last few turns.

At the base over lunch it was raining hard and the rain line looked to be a fair way up the hill. The afternoon strategy was obvious, go high and stay high. I spent the whole afternoon Looping White Pass by cutting out into Knot Chutes (and Slim Thin and Jim) and then dropping Surprise Trees working my way out further each time. In the end I was dropping the top of Triple Trees and having to work my way back along Trespass Trail. No one (well actually one set of tracks) had been out as far as that and I spent all afternoon getting fresh tracks in heavy powder and staying dry as I didn't have to run to base below the rain line.

Last run was Skydive which skied smooth and heavy most of the way down and very heavy in the last few turns. It seemed to me that things were cooling, the precip was at least coming down as wet snow there and the skiing surface wasn't quite as bad as before.

So here we are hoping for a cool down but expect all the weekend warriors to be on the hill and going high tomorrow so things could be ugly - lets see.

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