Monday, February 25, 2013

Day 87 oh yes

Overnight they were only reporting 5 cms but as we arrived at the hill it was snowing. In fact it was a very localised system which seemed to give us light snow at the base, graupel as we went up Timber and was just puking soft snow at the top of the big three. As this happened every time we lapped I guess it wasn't a change in the weather pattern but just local (very local) conditions. At the end of the day who cares, we just got snow puking on us all day so that at 3 in the afternoon we were getting fresh tracks in lines that we had skied earlier in the day.

With all the holiday weeks and weekend crowds gone we were back to a typical quiet Fernie Monday and with no great dump reported overnight even the locals kept away until the afternoon when they realised that something rather good was happening on the hill. It was -3 when we arrived and although temps got to low plus figures during the day the precip kept on coming on down white all day. On top temps were a bit lower and the snow had a lower moisture content. As I said before the snow just dumped all day so that no matter how hard we tried we couldn't trash the hill and we just got better and deeper powder right up to last turn.

We took one look at the boards and saw that Cedar High Traverse was closed so that all the really good skiing out on Snake on the Old Side would not be available. On the strength of this we went to the New Side all day which proved a good call particularly as Lizard High Traverse closed early afternoon while the New Side was green for most of the day.

On the New Side there was very little traffic and with the local Fernie ski community staying off the hill due to only a 5 cm call we could go pretty much where we wanted and get first, or at least early tracks. Bearing mind that the snow was piling up all day as we skied (possible 20 cms in 24 hrs by the time we left the hill) the runs were all soft and deep and getting more so as the day went on, the only thing that counted was whether or not you got untracked snow.

Cougar Glades - we got first tracks and all took different lines all the way to the disused cat track at the bottom.
Stag Leap - great untracked snow until in the lower section we encountered one track which was Lynda's from when she had skied in there from Cougar the previous time round - funny girl.
The Brain right - there were a couple of board tracks in the top trees which seemed to disappear left and then we had right side trees all the way through in very soft and deep and getting deeper snow.
Secret Chutes/Spinal Tap - only a couple of tracks in earlier than us that could be easily avoided so some good stuff.
Skydive Trees right - these trees just to the right of the run have so many lines that they are always going to have untracked options. The final tight pitch through the deadfall was made a little easier by the falling snow.
Polar Peak - viz had been pretty socked in but we gave it a go with Steve taking Pappa Bear, me taking Mamma and Lynda taking Baby (the whole bear family) with the rest of our group taking the easy way out and not trying it. The snow was just awesome, soft deep and smooth powder, the viz was crap but in those conditions who needs to see.
Decline/ Window Chutes - soft and filling in as fast as you could ski it, a great way to end the morning before lunch.

After a late lunch (look at the mornings itinary) we went back up Polar Peak but found that the clouds had socked in even more in the heavier snow so that even Mamma Bear had to be skied cautiously until the last third of the chute. We went back to Stag Leap and found that everything we had skied in the morning had filled in and we were back to very good deep powder all the way down.

We decided that Polar Peak was just a side show next time round as we couldn't really rip it in that light so we went out again to the Brain but this time left side. Just like before there were a few filled in tracks at the top and then untracked steep tree powder for the rest of the run - I love steep powder tree skiing.

Next we were getting towards the end of the day because of the late lunch so we did a White Pass loop. I took the far side of Surprise Trees which by this time were so full of soft new snow that you could pretty well point your skis anywhere you wanted and then just go with the consequences.

Last run of course was Skydive which by that stage was getting so full of soft new snow that you could almost ignore the terrain - as a buddy of mine said at the bottom "you cheated down there, you didn't turn" it wasn't that bad/good but it was getting on for that way.

It's still snowing so tomorrow could be a good day. This would be great for me as tomorrow is my last day before heading back to the UK for a week while I sort out a load of grown up stuff. The blog will not be written while I am away so make the most of tomorrow's post which should be pretty good given the forecast conditions.

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