Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day 57 better than I expected

My fears were that we would get the weekend crowds and with all the snow concentrated up top it would turn into a zoo. In the event we had another 17 cms over night which fell all the way to base so the whole hill was available. Add to that the fact that the whole of the hill (including Polar Peak despite it being socked in) was open right off the bat and the crowds (such as they were spread out) and it was no busier than a normal weekend. What this meant was that once mid morning I had to wait about 4 minutes to get on Timber chair but apart from that it was plain sailing.

It was only -1 on the way to the hill with layered cloud all the way up to the top where it was more like -7. Temps at the base rose during the day to low plus temps but as we are now under the cold air mass on the tail of a weather system the flurries that fell all morning came down as snow, or at worse ice pelets.

Working on yesterday's plan I went high to the New Side and found White Pass socked in. Out on Skydive one pair of tracks had got in ahead of me but held a tight line on the right. This gave me the left untracked which was soft hero snow where you could point your skis anywhere and go.

Next loop I notice Polar Peak was open and so spent the morning going up the Peak and just taking one run down the chutes and then a trip to the base. These worked out as -
Mamma Bear, no viz but super smooth deep powder. The Brain, untracked and getting really soft and deep in the tight trees. I was able to cut the creek bed even closer than yesterday and it was a great run.
Baby Bear, not as good as Mamma but still pretty awesome. Hike up to Lone Fir and found a few tracks in it so I went on to the next chute and cut right into what I have been told is Easter Medow Chute. It was untracked and the only problem was to beat you own slough out of the narrow exit before it got you. I cut across Easter bowl and into Spinal Tap which had been skied a bit but was still deep with hero snow that allowed for some good fall line lines to be had.
Mamma Bear as before and then Decline/Window chutes where Decline was tracked but with plenty of untracked lines. The drop into Window Chute was real hero snow that allowed you to take the fall line again, the log drop was mellow and even the choke was skiing ok with snow holding in there.
Mamma Bear as before and Stag Leap. By now Stag Leap (like all the Big Three was tracked but the snow was holding up so well you could stay on top as long as you kept your speed up and just ski it like untracked powder. Lunch

After lunch I went back to the New Side and Polar Peak. As I got to the top the light suddenly improved and although not brilliant you could at least make out the terrain. I took the opportunity of skiing the chutes that I had missed in the morning due to poor viz. Grand Pappa Bear back to the chair was ok in the top and awesome untracked powder in the lower section. Barely Legal back to the chair was also great and the exit chutes are now filled in with soft powder. Spirit Bear hadn't been touched as far as I could make out although the snow was sifting in fast all the time, it was best deep untracked powder of the day.

I ran to base through Cougar Glades which were well skied but as always had good lines in the tight trees to the left. I had intended to stop on the lower trail and cut out to Stag Leap but the snow is now so deep I skied right across the trail without ever noticing it and found myself taking the left exit chute before I realised what was happening.

Another Polar Peak and another Grand Pappa Bear which was just as good as before with a few tracks this time. I just had time for one more loop and knowing I was tight on time I took Pappa Bear (still soft and deep low down), the steep left chute into Concussion (soft if a bit tracked) and Gilmar gully all the way down to Timber chair in one - Peak to base non stop.

Skydive was of course there for us at the end of the day and the top two sections although tracked skied soft and fast. The lower pitch had softened during the day and was just setting up as things cooled just to add interest to the last few turns of the day.
With Aussie Day and the Kokanee Dreams party there was no chance of getting in the bar so we skipped to the pub down town and had a couple before heading home.

We seem to have got away with the warm front as we have precip in the forecast on a cooling trend for the next few days, lets wait and see.

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