Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Day 67 what a nice surprise

Yes, today was one of those days when you go to the hill with no great expectations and actually have a fantastic day's skiing. We arrived to temps of around zero and overcast conditions which stayed all day. As soon as we got to the hill it started to snow with wetish stuff at the bottom but good snow on top. We had flurries all day which mostly came as ice pellets and despite base temps getting up to +3 by mid afternoon we only had one drop to the base where the snow coming down could really be described as wet. Towards the end of the the day we had a great graupel storm which gave us a thick covering of the soft ice pellets which was great hero skiing.

Official figure were only for 1 cm at the snow plot at the mornings reading but my guess was we had about 5 cms of fresh in the cycle as a whole and maybe even more in places on the New Side with windsift. It's amazing the difference even a bit of snow like this can make particularly if you stayed on the North facing slopes where the underlying conditions were pretty good. We had a great morning of getting first tracks (or at least if anyone had been there before us their tracks were filled in -

Skydive - we cut the traverse out there and took it top to bottom in untracked snow.
Stag Leap - there were no tracks in through the trees and when we got there we found the run untracked. Wonderful soft skiing in nice terrain all the way down.
Secret Chutes/Spinal Tap - again no tracks among the trees and the snow really getting quite deep in places. Spinal Tap was also untracked and very nice skiing in and out of the creek bed.
The Brain - trying to keep up the untracked theme and also showing this the a new buddy Brad (hi Brad) we cut into the Brain and unsurprisingly found it untracked. There were some really nice lines through the trees before cutting out on to Skydive.
Lone Fir/Easter Bowl - this was the star of the day as not only was Lone Fir untracked but it was filled with the deepest blow in imaginable. I was almost taken off my feet by Brad's slough as I waited at the bottom. Easter was nice and soft with some untracked lines.
Gotta Go/Bootleg Glades - we had one last run before lunch and were trying to keep our untracked skiing record intact, plus Lynda hadn't been in Gotta Go yet this year. The main chute was tracked but by traversing into the left chute we found untracked lines all the way down through the final part of 3's and on to the trail. The trees to the left of Bootleg were also untracked and good tight tree skiing and the lower Gilmar Gully was just fun.

After a fairly late lunch we carried on looking for untracked stuff on the New Side and found that the conditions were getting softer and deeper as the flurries of graupel continued. We tried -

Decline/Window Chutes - it was still very nice soft bumps skiing in Decline and the straight drop into the chute was untracked. Once in the chutes there were still a few tracks but it was ok skiing and the snow, even in the choke, was in good shape.
Cougar Glades - as always fresh tracks could be found somewhere in the trees on the way down. The left hand lower exit was skiing ok but the snow was getting a little heavy.
Easter Medows Chute (I guess I must stop calling it One Step beyond)/Spinal Tap - I hiked up again and took the chute beyond Lone Fir which was if anything deeper and more blown in. I had a great drop jumping in and out of the chute in the trees to the right to avoid my own slough and the fan below was just great. I cut across Easter to Spinal Tap again and found it mostly filled in and just as good as before lunch.

I had time to kill at White Pass so traversed into the Knot Chutes and dropped them. This confirmed my view that where we had south facing sun affected surfaces from Saturday the new snow was barely adquate to given enough coverage to  repair the damage.

Skydive was as always soft and tracked but well filled in for the final non stop run of the day. Perhaps another 10 cms tonight which would make things just fantastic but I am not counting chickens. Beer, hot tub and an early night does seem like a sensible precaution.

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