Friday, February 1, 2013

Day 63 wind sift or wind slab, it depends on where you went

On the way to the hill today it was +1 at the base and temps rose during the day so buddy of mine who couldn't get to the hill until afternoon told me it was +6 in down town Fernie at noon. Ridge line cloud cover and a cold wind kept things in ok shape for most of the day but there was no doubt that things were getting a bit heavy particularly in the direct sun light. On the way back tonight it was still +2 and it looks like we are stuck with this warm air for a day or two during which time we have to pray to the Griz for no precip.

We went to the Old Side not expecting much but found it had been wind affected in the night and on the slopes where the snow had been deposited it was either super soft sift or slightly crusty slab. The trick all morning was to try and work out where the snow had come down and in what form to get the best skiing. For most of the morning this meant dropping Cedar Ridge in a variety of lines from Alpine Trail on the skiers left to King Fir on the skiers right. The snow was mostly soft sift and as hardly anyone else seemed interested in doing this fresh tracks could be found all morning.

As the people started to turn up (it seems to me that more and more people are taking Fridays off and the hill is becoming almost weekend like in places) we had to push out further to find new snow. I did two loops in Gorby Bowl, one on the left shoulder into the trees and then cuttting left into Steep and Deep and the other hugging the right shoulder all the way down to the cliff band and then exiting with a quick left, right shuffle to avoid the worst of the cliffs. On both runs the snow was a little slabby at the top but soon became soft deep sift in the lower sections.

Returns were always through Kangaroo (6 times) which was tough icey bumps and so great fun and Boomerang (3 times) which contrary to normal skiing law seemed to get smoother and more untracked the more it was skied - go figure. After a very good morning on the Old Side it was time to have a fairly late lunch and try the New Side.

Polar Peak and the viz wasn't bad at all, although a bit patchy. We did a Pappa Bear loop to the chair and then hit out to Baby Bear which was full of soft sifted snow all the way down to the Reverse Traverse. The trip to Base was via Concussion which was nice and soft and taking an edge and then the Gilmar Gully which is quite interesting lower down with some fun rollers to hoc in and out of the creek bed.

Next time up Polar we tried Grand Pappa Bear which wasn't a great call. The shoulder below the chair was wind affected and even with some blow in the surface it was scratchy crust. We went out to Mamma Bear and found the skier's right of the chute untracked although I guess this was just due to the blow in that was coming in fast even as we watched it. A really great rip down to the traverse. This time the exit was via Stag Leap which had enough sift on yesterday's skiing to make it very mellow.

We were a little short of time so having linked up with my buddy Rob we had a non stop rip through Anaconda Glades which were nicely filled in and Bootleg Glades which flipped between sift and slab without much warning. Because of the time pressures it was a White Pass top to Timber Base rip in one with no stops which was a bit hard.

This was not as hard a Skydive last run where Rob and I arrived late so had a max speed rip top to bottom with no stopping. A very though end to a long day but I guess it does mean my energy levels are coming back and the cold seems to have subsided.

Tomorrow will be a short day and a short report as Lynda is coming back from the UK and I have to drive down to Calgary to pick her up - with any luck I should get 2 or 3 hours in during the morning before I have to head off. It could be a bit of a strange weekend anyway as tomorrow is Ground Hog Day and Sunday is Super Bowl. Doesn't look like the weather is going to change much either.

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