Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Day 102 first day of spring ? really ?

So, here we are at the official first day of spring and what do we have ? Well, some pretty un bloody spring like conditions in my humble opinion. Overnight temps dropped to -5 and stayed that way on the way to the hill. It was snowing and stayed that way all morning. It had been forecast that as usual we would have a warming trend on the front of a new precip system, cooling towards the end. Well, we haven't seen the end but it certaintly warmed on the front with the rain starting at the base around lunch and with the line moving up the hill steadily all afternoon until we had rain just above White Pass base by close of play. The result was ugly heavy mashed potato snow from mid mountain down to the base by the end of the day when lower mountain temps had got to something like +5.

We went to the Old Side for the first runs of the morning on the basis (correct) that the warming conditions would turn the snow to rain before long. We had time for three runs into Cedar off Cedar Ridge twice and King Fir once. It was all good skiing in the falling snow with  a surprisingly large accumulation of new snow given the modest claims of the official website which I would estimate at around 5 cms in places. I have never seen the Old Side so deserted and at times we would spend several minutes not seeing another soul moving in the whole of Cedar Bowl. The skiing was good on a firm base and as you would expect - untracked.

Our loops to base were through Haul Back trees skiers right ( a nice new tight tree line with no tracks dropping off View Trail) Kangaroo (three times and skiing as mellow as I can remember it with the new snow giving a nice edge) and finally Boomerang which was hardly tracked and soft deep snow - we then went to the New Side to avoid the warming wet snow.

On the New Side it was socked in from anywhere above Timber (I should have mentioned that most of the Old Side was socked in as well) and by the top of White Pass it was really poor viz in the snow which just about stayed white at the top even in the afternoon. We looped Stag Leap and the Brain right just before lunch which were great skiing on the new snow in the top sections but just in the last few turns it was getting mushy as the rain line started to rise - the shape of things to come during the afternoon. Lunch.

After lunch, as things warmed we went to the New Side to get higher and keep cool - it didn't really work. We looped Decline, Stag Leap, Secret Chutes/Spinal Tap and all of them were ok soft snow getting deeper in the continued fall as the afternoon went on but the point at which the mush line arrived was also getting higher all the time. By the end of the afternoon the rain was most of the way up the hill and the mush started less than one third of the way down any of the Big 3.

Somewhere in there we took a loop back through Knot Chutes and Surprise Trees just to stay high and we found yesterday's crust was covered but poor viz and heavy snow made for some pretty average skiing. Towards the end we took a drop through Anaconda which was skiing soft and deep in all the chutes but the lower exit through Bootleg Glades was just getting to be heavy elephant snot.

All this got us back to the top of Skydive just after 4 o'clock for the final run which just about summed up where conditions had got to. It was snowing but the surface was soft even in the top from the warm temps. The first third was just about ok but getting heavy in wet snow. The final two thrids were super heavy elephant snot especially where there had been no skier traffic although on occeasions the rain crust/ice base poked through just to keep you on your toes - a pretty interesting last run.

The forecast is for cooling temps and loads more precip. If this works out and the new snow covers the ugly chopped up stuff that will turn to ice as it cools then we will be ok , if not then we are in for a couple of days of very challenging skiing.

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