Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 109 just getting hotter

As forecast the ongoing warming trend has continued. Today we had another bluebird day which started at -6 which was way warmer than the -12 starting temps of earlier in the week. During the day temps tended to stay cool for most of the morning but began to spiral around lunch time so that the temp at the Polar Peak load mid afternoon happened to be around +6 with things much warmer in the direct sunlight. Even driving away from the hill tonight we noticed it was +10 down town.

The overall effect was that snow stayed pretty crisp during the morning but once the sun got hold everything south facing became very mushy indeed - even the Polar Chutes. By the end of the day the stuff that was in shadow or no longer had the direct sun was starting to set up to some pretty ugly refrozen crud.

Lynda decided to take the day off so I headed over to the Old Side to see what I could find. Without the sensible advice of Lynda I decided to try the Sunny Side shoulder on the basis that maybe the early sun had softened it. I was wrong big time and it was ugly hard refrozen horse's heads all across the face - in a nut shell I got there about 2 hours too early.

After that I took 4 loops which comprised Cedar Ridge starting at Bear Chair Top and ending at King Fir, Kanagroo as a return to base and then a loop on Boom Ridge back to boom chair between each Cedar Ridge drop just to ring the changes. Cedar Ridge was north facing and as such all the runs were on firm crisp snow which took a nice edge but which was well skied in. Kangaroo was good all four times with the upper section having some soft on the top of the bumps which it paid to ski - just about as good as Kangaroo ever gets. Boom Ridge might just have been the run of the day as it was firm but taking a nice edge and with quite big bumps that allowed for some very nice bump skiing with the bumps doing the hard work for you. Four loops of that and it was time for lunch.

Over lunch I took a gamble and got rid of my jacket and put on a light fleece instead. I also ditched my gloves in favour of some light inners and of course had already left off my thermals in favour of a pair of boxers but that is probably too much information. At first I thought I had made the wrong decision as things struck quite fresh but not long into the afternoon I realised that things were getting very warm and I had made a good call.

I went to the New Side and straight up Polar for a Barely Legal and then Pappa Bear loop in the chutes. The chutes were much softer than I thought they would be with a sliding surface of mush on a none too firm base. It really felt like the skis might slither out at any time. Route to base was High Saddle And Easter Bowl and even though the saddle was a little more scraped out it still skied ok as did Easter bowl.

Next time up Polar we did a Grand Pappa Bear, Crusty the clown and Bill's chute into Mamma Bear. Just like before they were getting very soft and I dread to think how they will set up tonight. The route to base this time was through Stag Leap which of course had softened but actually was in much better shape than I thought it woud be. The high skier traffic through the lower section had actually created some nice firm bumps.

I got to the top of White Pass with not much time to spare so I dropped 1-2-3s which isn't something I often do. The snow was in ok shape as it is north facing but it was very tracked up and disturbed with traverse lines which made skiing challenging. The snow was also rather chunky which just added to the problems. The Gilmar Gully was probably some of the best skiing with the high skier traffic having pounded in the snow and the bumps coming at you at pretty regular intervals.

We just got to Skydive in time and had the usual rip. Like yesterday there were bumps in the top and the mid section was more bumpy thaqn before and the snow seemed to had a reset feel to it. The bottom section was just tough and scratchy to the point that you had to slow down and take a fairly cautious line. Of course we dropped it in one.

Another night of a fews beers on the locals deck in the sun. Remember the appreciation party for Groomers and Patrollers tomorrow night at the Corner Pocket at 6 o'clock.

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