Monday, March 18, 2013

Day 100 a very good day, but...

And the "but" was that we were expecting an awesome day and it didn't quite materialise. That's not to say that today wasn't a very good day's skiing, in fact in the bar I overheard a vacation skier saying it was the best day of their life but I guess that Fernie just raises the bar in your expectation of skiing conditions. The issue was that after the hill closed last night it puked snow in the town and I would guess that we had a minimum of 15 cms of new snow judging by what I had to clear off my hot tub. When we got to the hill in the morning it was apparent that nothing (or as near as makes no difference ) had fallen on the hill after closing last night so what we got this morning was what we had last night.

Now this wasn't an altogether disasterous situation as we had large areas such as Polar Peak and Snake Ridge that hadn't opened yesterday and were ripe for the picking. Even the stuff that had been open was deep, soft and only partly tracked so there was good skiing to be had in all areas. None the less we didn't get the totally filled in untracked snow all over the hill we town dwellers (the hill dwellers knew the situation) were expecting - blimey, this is starting to sound more and more like a chapter from the Hobbit.

We arrived at the hill to temps of about -5 but it was apparent these were going to rise fast in the broken cloudy conditions. In the event we had everything from warm heavy snow in spring like conditions in lower Steep and Deep in the morning to full on winter conditions up Polar Peak in the afternoon including flurries that hit all parts of the hill at random at any time of the day. I know it sounds strange, particularly if you are trying to work out what is happening on the hill but it has to be said that strange is a very good description if the wild conditons which seem to change from miniute to minute when you are on the hill. Facts for the record are that the base is now 296 cms (could go to 3 metres later this week), temps on the way back from the hill were -1 and flurries have been hitting off and on ever since we got back.

We went to the New Side to find that Currie Bowl was closed while they worked on Polar Peak. We hit Knot Chutes which were deep and filled in before traversing and finding Anaconda Glades open which was a bit of a Surprise as they had been closed most of yesterday. It was super deep soft hardly tracked snow in the chutes. We had some ok skiing in lower Currie before cutting across the Bear Connector to the Bear Chair.

We found that the high traverse across Cedar was open but the sign line at Trillium was shut cutting off the Snake Ridge area. I understand that patrollers had been pulled from preping Snake because of an unexploded shot in Lizard/Polar - just one of those things. We looped Cedar three times getting good lightly tracked lines through the trees while we waited, returning through Kangaroo (pretty ugly but softening as the day went on ) and Boomerang (really nice soft snow with a bit of untracked in places).

Eventually we went back to the New Side and tested Currie which was then open only at the lower traverse level and went out to Secret Chutes and Spinal Tap which were nice and deep but rather more tracked up than we expected. Word came that Snake Ridge had opened and we headed across to Bear and then out on the traverse. First loop was the Gorby/Steep and Deep shoulder which was spectacular and mostly untracked with over the head face shots all the way. The Steep and Deep exit had been skied but was so extensive that untracked lines in knee deep snow were easy to find.

Next loop we hit the ridge between Steep and Deep and Redtree and found again loads of untracked lines between the existing tracks. As we came out of the left hand chutes the snow was getting decidely heavy in the warming sun. Both the above loops were completed through Kangaroo (as before a bit scratchy but softening) and Boomerang ( still good soft easy skiing). It was time for a very late lunch.

After lunch we went to the New Side for a short afternoon and put 4 loops up the recently opened Polar Peak via Barely Legal (twice) Pappa Bear and Spirit Bear. The chutes off the Peak were a mixture of soft deep snow on a blue ice base from last weeks rain storm. It seemed best to me to stay on the soft snow so we did; jumping the ice patches whenever we could. As usual progress up the lift was slowed by morons having to down load as they didn't fancy the skiing they saw - what part of "double black diamond experts only" is hard to understand guys ?

We went to base via Corner Pocket which was skiing surprisingly ok with the tires only just starting to show. As usual the crowds just headed left out of the chute and missed the trick that a sharp right cut opens up great untracked powder for the whole of the Saddles ski area. Easter bowl was pretty good as well.

We just had time for a quick loop of Stag Leap which skied so mellow in chopped powder and gave face shots all the way that I might have been tempted to do it again as last run had tradition not intervened. Last run - Skydive with about half a dozen of the usual suspects. It was great rip and having lost the (not) race yesterday I won it today so I was happy.

We had a good celebration of my 100 days in the Griz - given that I must spend at least 20 bucks a night in there on average I would point out that this represents about 2000 bucks spent there this year, just saying. The forecast is for another weather cyle hitting from Wednesday onwards which as usual should hit with a warm front and possibly rain to start then turning to snow for the next 4 days - bring it on.

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