Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Day 101 a bit wasted

No, not the day but me having spent the "apres" with my good buddies Rod and Karen who were having their last day on the hill of the season so we went to their condo at Snow Creek for a drink the bar dry session and had a pretty good attempt at it. As a result this report may be subject to errors and other general memory lapses (even more than usual) so be warned.

It was cold overnight and was -12 on my deck as we left for the hill. The official report was for only 1 cm of snow overnight but to be fair that little snow wasn't worth bothering about and in any event was undetectable to the human eye - which is what I am equiped with. The forecast was right and we had near enough a bluebird day so that temps came up quite fast although in the upper mountain they remained cool all day. The problem was direct sunlight which at this time of year is strong and so we had very soft snow in the affected areas which by the end of the day as the sun went down were setting up as pretty stiff sun crust.

We went to the Old Side and had a run down the area fence by Redtree on the grounds that this was as far awy from the sun as you could get. It wasn't a bad decision and we had some deep soft snow with even some untracked lines all the way down the fence. Kangaroo was ugly and ice (now there's a surprise) but Cedar Ridge being north facing had some good soft snow. At the bottom of Cedar I tried something I haven't tried before (no, not that) I took the View Trail exit but dropped left into the trees having crossed the Haul Back T bar and ran to the bottom of that lift through the trees on skiers right. It was nice tight tree skiing and I think will now become my default route to the base of Haul Back. Kangaroo was unchanged and Boomerang was still soft as we headed to the New Side.

It's worth saying here just how deserted the hill felt today. We hardly saw anyone on the Old Side and things weren't much busier when we got to the New. We went up Polar Peak for a couple of runs through Barely Legal and Mamma Bear before cutting down through Stag Leap which was a bit heavier than yesterday but was still pretty good tracked soft snow. Next time up Polar we did Barely Legal again and were about to drop Baby Bear when we were distracted by events on the head wall.

 A boarder had tried what looked to me like a close out line beyond the Wimp Chutes, slid to the big (and I mean big) cliff band, taken his board off, lost it over the cliff and got stuck there. It was obvious that his only hope was a rope out from patrol and we headed down to lunch working on the basis that it would take some time before things got interesting. We dropped via Corner Pocket which was still just about skiable with only a few tires just showing, awesome skiing in deep powder on right cut under the chute and some ok stuff in left side Easter bowl on the exit. Lunch.

After lunch we got up to the top of White Pass just in time to see the boarder making it to the the top of the headwall on the patrol rope. I hope he will be attending the Patrol and Groomers appreciation event on the evening of the 28th March at Corner Pocket ($10 at the door) - in fact everyone who reads this blog should go as a way of saying thanks.

We looped Polar Peak in several ways still finding loads of soft deep snow but also with some hard blue ice in places if you were dumb enough to try and ski it. Barely Legal got a couple of trips as did Grandpappa Bear which needed a bit more caution than usual to avoid the rocks and ice but rewarded you with some great skiing in soft powder on the trees on skiers right. Baby Bear was still full of soft as we dropped down to High Saddle which was in surprisingly good shape in the chute - you could actually ski it. After that it was just like Corner Pocket this morning with great skiing below the chute to base.

I was skiing with red pants Rob and he mentioned that he had never skied Gotta Go so we just had to. I did warn that I didn't know what the snow conditions were like and on balance I am glad I issued that disclaimer. The chute had slid and over the shoulder Google Earth was even worse. We had about four turns on blue ice before the soft snow cut in and then we had some pretty good skiing a long way down eventually to get to the groomed runs below.

We just had time for a quick White Pass loop through the Knot Chutes and Surprise Trees which proved that south facing slopes on a sunny day that were setting up with a crust were not exactly a stroll in the park. Skydive as last run was still in good shape if a little scratchy in the final pitch.

Far too much to drink with friends and now getting ready for a precip cycle which may come down as - who knows what, whatever it is we will ski it.

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