Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 110 hot but different

Tonight's report may be a bit shorter or at least rather more disjointed than usual due to the Ski Patrol appreciation evening which involved getting unbelievably drunk with some ski patrol buddies. As they will all be too drunk to read this I will just go on record to say that they are the most awesome bunch of guys (gender non specific statement) who could ever look after a ski hill. They do the most professional job I have ever seen and remember I have seen a lot of ski hills in my time. Best of all they do it with good humour and a smile on their face while being prepared to risk their lives at any time to save yours - respect.

Today got warmer but in a different way. Over the past few days it has frozen at night, got warm in the sun but stayed ok on the north facing slopes, in fact what most of us would call normal spring skiing. Today it didn't really get cold overnight and was only -1 on the way to the hill. The conditions were mixed cloud cover so the warming didn't come from direct sunlight. ; instead it came from atmospheric warming which meant that for the first time this year surfaces softened irrespective of their aspect so that (for example) the bumps on top of Skydive which never really get the sun got quite soft. Later in the afternoon  the sun came out really quite hot and we were back to spring skiing.

We went to the Old Side and looped Cedar Ridge (firm but taking and edge) Kangaroo ( nice firm bumps but don't tell anyone in the Fernie locker room as they won't believe you despite not having skied the run themselves) and Boom Ridge which was ok but skiing a bit tougher than yesterday. We then went to the New Side and had High Saddle which was ok but work on the S5s (see later remarks) and then Easter which was ok with the bumps firm under the soft surface skiing pretty mellow. We had a last run to base through Decline which just felt a bit chunky and uneven compared with yesterday but I guess ok.

Of course all this was a bit subjective as my good skis (Shoguns) were in for repair so I was on my old S5s for the morning. It's amazing that when I went on to the Shoguns just over a year ago I didn't feel that I changed the way I skied just because the had 300m of rocker in the tip. Going back I found I had got used to just lifting the tips to direct the skies and having the S5s with no rocker and where you have to bring the tails round to redirect the skis was much more work and no where near so much fun. Worth noting that the problem with Shoguns was where the Salomon logo cut into the base had started to deliminate and had to be stuck down - stop trying to be so clever guys and just make us plain bases to ski on.

After lunch I got my Shoguns back from repair and can't remember feel such a release since my first divorce - they were light quick turning and even had some new edges and a bit of wax to help with the warm slush we were skiing on. I went to the New Side to play on the Polar Chutes.

I had runs down Barely Legal, Grand Pappa Bear and Pappa Bear all of which were super slushy on big bumps before heading out to Stag Leap which was in surprisingly good condition and was maybe the run of the day, even low down it wasn't too bad. It wasn't hard to work out that the only slightly wintery conditions were up Polar Peak so that's where I spent the rest of the afternoon. I lost count of the various runs but it was the usual suspects from the morning several times over plus a new variation by starting from Shale Slope and cutting left into Grand Pappa Bear through the rock bands. This took us almost up to final bell.

I took a last drop through High Saddle and found two boards and a skier in there kind of hung up. They let me through but to be quite honest it's tight enough in that cute without having three stiffs to negotiate on the way down - ah well, you do what you have to do and it was an ok run down below the chute and Easter bowl was still skiing firm but ok.

Skyidive at the end was ok but for the first time in many weeks I was there alone. Of course alone or not I hit it top to bottom with no break - well, there is such a thing as pride. I skipped the Griz tonight becuse of the Patroller party and the way I feel at the moment that is probably no bad thing. I will be interested to see how tomorrow starts given that almost all the hill softened today - that having been said valley temps aren't forecast to get below zero tonight so who knows.

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