Friday, February 8, 2013

Day 70 a demo day

Yes, today was the day I demoed some Armada JJs from Straight Line. My conclusions was that they were a pretty ok pair of skies, not as good as my Sally Shoguns (but to be fair I work with those 130 days a season) but still very good. I think if I was prepared to put in the time and learn exactly how they ski best they may turn out to be a very good pair of skis indeed. Everyone says "of course you should really try them in deep powder" this is rubbish as all skis are great in deep powder (remember how well we used to ski it on our skinny skis all those years ago) and you could actually ski deep powder on a couple of planks of wood and it would be ok. The real test of skis is in the more marginal conditions. If anything I was a little disappointed that I didn't have the "road to Damascus" experience that others seem to have had when skiing the JJs and just found them an ok good pair of skis.

It was overcast with ridge line cloud when we got to the hill but the the cloud burned off eventually giving a pretty sunny day. Temps at the base started at -2 and rose to +3 by the afternoon and the official figures were for about 5 cms of fresh but it just looked like a dusting to me. On top temps started at -5 and hung on just about below zero during the day. Polar Peak was initially closed due to poor viz but opened during the morning and just got busier as the day went on an the viz improved.

We went to Skydive to give the new skis a test and found it was firm bumps in the top and fairly bumped up all the way down. Next loop Polar Peak was open so we had a very foggy drop of Pappa Bear which was scratchy in the top but got to some nice soft powder from about half way down. This time we came to base via Stag Leap which was bit slick in the trees but nice soft snow in the run itself.

We went up Polar again and this time went to Baby Bear which was soft, deep and only lightly tracked. Our route to base was through Cougar Glades which were good but I just couldn't get the really tight lines working with the demo skis. The final exit through the lower part of Stag Leap was as before, soft and ok.

Our final loop before lunch involved a loop back off Polar through Grand Pappa Bear which was big mistake as the light was totally flat and the surface just wind crust. We played it safe and went out to Baby Bear again which was as before. The exit was Decline (nice soft bumps all the way) and Window Chutes (untracked in the top but getting quite scratchy lower down particularly in the choke) which was a good finish before lunch.

After lunch I went back on to my Shoguns to compare and contrast and after throwing it down in a few places I decided I am not going to be changing my skis any time soon. The afternoon went -
Polar Peak/Secret Chutes/Spinal Tap - I stuck with Baby Bear in Polar and then found Secret chutes tracked but with plenty of soft in the trees. Spinal Tap was tracked but good hero snow.
Polar Peak/The Brain - This time I did a Polar loop going out to the Clown Chutes which although short were steep and untracked before finding some open untracked stuff to take back to the chair. Next Spirit Bear proved good and tight but with a few rocks coming through. The Brain was tracked but using the Shoguns I cut super tight lines in the trees and took the creek bed at the bottom before cutting out into Decline, still great untracked tree skiing if you take some ballsey lines.
Polar Peak/Cougar Glades/Stag Leap - Mamma Bear was just as good as Baby and probably a bit less tracked. In Cougar I hit the left tree lines that I couldn't in the morning due to the demo skis and got some good untracked steep fall line tree skiing befor cutting out left into Stag Leap which was still skiing pretty well.

I'm sure I have missed out a couple of runs but it has been a long day and quite few beers were taken with buddies in the Griz tonight. The last run was Skydive top to bottom with no break and it was bumpier than it has been so that speed did have to be controlled in a couple of sections.

I have to go to Calgary tomorrow to pick up an Irish buddy (yes, another one) so it will only be a couple of hours skiing in the morning and a short report. There is no new snow forecast for a few days and with the weekend crowds I don't think I will be missing much.

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