Saturday, February 23, 2013

Day 85 a perfect storm

No, I am not refering to last nights snow dump of 20 cms which was pretty good but not perfect. I am refering to the conditions that led this to being the busiest and most crowded day of the season. We have Alberta family day (which seems to be a week long) so that there are already crowds, it's reading week for the more senior students (why they are skiing and not reading is a mystery to me but what do I know) we have the junior free ski competition with all their competitors and family and we have a weekend so all the usual weekend warriors are here. Add to that the first significant snowfall (20 cms) for weeks and we have the perfect conditions for an ugly busy Saturday and we were not disappointed.

It snowed overnight but unfortunately not hard enough to close the pass to keep the crowds away - note to my friends and followers from Calgary, I do of course mean "close the pass just after you got through it". It was only -1 on the way to the hill and overcast but from the fact that we had a 20 minute line to get the car up the hill and then when we got there we were in parking lot 3 even before 9 o'clock it was clear it was going to be a very ugly busy day. We went to the New Side on the grounds that the pay for powder groups would have trashed the Old Side and I reckoned that the bottle neck at Haul Back if you wanted to ski Snake Ridge and beyond would be just stupid.

As it was on the New Side we had big line ups at both Timber and White Pass all day which significantly reduced the amount of snow you could put under your skis in case anyone wonders why we appear to have done so little today. Even riding singles didn't seem to help much.

First time up White Pass Currie was closed but we got word Anaconda was open. We went to Anaconda via Knot Chutes which were a bit busy but still had some soft lines. There were only a couple of tracks in the mid chutes of Anaconda and we had great powder in the trees. We went to base via Bootleg Glades (totally untracked in the near trees) and Gilmar Gully, lightly tracked and plenty of untracked lines).

When we arrived at the top of White Pass next time we had one of those moments that the Griz allows only to those who respect his hill. As we came off the chair the fence to Currie dropped and we led the charge out on the low traverse to the Big 3. In the event we dropped into an untracked Cougar Glades and 4 of us had untracked lines all the way down to the didused cat track. It was the second best run through there of the season (the best being when Lynda and I put first tracks of the season down there in thigh deep powder) and as it turned out the run of the day - proof that virtue has it's own rewards.

After that the day was punctuated buy long lift line waits (at least 5 minutes some times) until mid afternoon when the visitors found that they didn't have 7 hour legs and things got quieter. We did -

The Brain right - a couple of tracks were in front of us but as always there were so many lines between the trees and and in and out of the creek bed that there was loads of untracked.
Skydive Trees right - surprisingly tracked in the top but untracked in the lower tighter tree sections and great skiing.
Polar Peak - we did a loop as soon ast they opened the Peak and came back to the chair through Pappa Bear. There was a long line so the next time it was a very deep and lightly tracked Baby Bear before traversing on.
Secret Chutes/Spinal Tap - the chutes were well tracked as was ST although the snow in there was holding up well as being soft and deep - lunch.

We had a very late lunch to avoid the crowds so all we could do in the afternoon was -
Polar Peak - Mamma Bear this time still with tracked soft snow.
Decline Window Chutes - Decline was soft bumps and the direct drop into the chutes had untracked lines. The chutes themselves were well skied and a bit scratchy in the choke.
Stag Leap - Still loads of soft snow
Skydive - a good number of us turned up for the final blast. The bumps in the top had be softened and slightly flattened by the new snow. For the rest of the run it was a deep rolling free ride with plenty of time spent in the air.

We skipped the Griz tonight as the line up to get in was down the stairs and the only way you could have beaten to rush was if you were to come off the hill early and miss out on part of one of the best days for weeks - no way were we going to do that. The alternative of a few beers in the Park Place Pub a two bucks a pint cheaper was actually something we might want to consider more often.

Maybe more snow tonight but the crowds should be less tomorrow and by Monday things should be back to normal.

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