Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 111 why I am not all that keen on spring skiing

Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying that I don't like spring skiing ( it is after all skiing) all I am saying is that there are a number of reasons why it is my least favourite of conditions and today proved just why.

Up until yesterday we had classic spring condidtions where the south facing slopes softened during the day and refroze over night whilst the north facing slopes remained crisp winter skiing. This meant that you could ski the north facing slopes at any time of the day and have good sking whilst on the south facing you had to wait until around late morning before they softened and became ok. Yesterday we had atmospheric warming which meant that everything irrespective of aspect melted during the day and then refroze over night. The result was that the north facing slopes were ugly boiler plate and remained so until very late in the day when they may have softened but posssibly not at all and the south facing slopes turned to mush so fast in the morning there wasn't much chance of getting anything but boot deep slush at any time.

It was -1 at the start with no new snow and the base reduced to about 292cms. We went to the Old \side and finding Bear melting from the opening bell we tried the Sunny Side shoulder and were amazed to find that too was soft and was giving us spring skiing that early in the day. We looped Lizard to Dancer to try the North facing stuff in Lower Easter and found it boiler plate. This set the trend for most of the day where the skiing was either mush or boiler plate with not much in between.

Boom Ridge proved to be going mushy in soft bumps but Cedar Ridge next time round was hard, icey and very scratchy. Amazingly Kangaroo skied ok as long as you took the left side in the sun - I would imagine later in the day it was something of a waterfall. Boom Ridge was getting very heavy and Cedar Ridge remaining ugly and hard with Kangaroo the only redeeeming feature for a couple more laps. We headed to the New Side down a very slushy Boomerang Guts. The effect of all this variable skiing was to slow down significantly the amount of snow we could put under our skis.

We had three loops up Polar Peak in Barely Legal, Grand Pappa and Pappa Bear which were all getting very slushy before heading to base through High Saddle and Easter which were hard and ugly. Next time from Timber I dropped Lift Line which was very icey and bumpy. We had a couple more loops on Polar ( Barely Legal and Pappa Bear) which were as before and then headed own to lunch. My drop through Stag Leap stands out as the worst run of the day with some turns ending in deep elephant snot which almost stopped you while others ended on ice where you skis tried to fly out from under you and there was no obvious way of working out which was which. Lunch.

After lunch I did a few loops in Polar which were as they had been in the morning. I tried another drop through High Saddle which was not only mushy by now but poor light - this could be the end of a beautiful friendship. Lift Line had been closed to stop people getting across into Mars but I cut in under the last sign and shouldn't have bothered. It was just as hard and icey and ugly as it had been before lunch despite most of the rest of the hill turning to slush.

This time up Polar Peak there was some cloud cover (did I mention it was yet another bluebird day) and with the afternoon wearing on the chutes were stating to set up which actually gave a rather better skiing surface. After a couple of loops I realised that time was getting on so I hit Pappa Bear, Currie Powder and Gilmar Gully non stop from top to bottom - pretty knackering after the sort of day we had experienced. Actually as a lot of this was on stuff that had been groomed at some time to give a firm base it skied pretty well as the surface reformed in the cooling air.

Last loop was out to Skydive and we had no idea what to expect. Actually it was rather hard in the top section but from mid mountain with soft snow reforming on a firm base starting to take an edge it was much better than expected. Loads of beer with buddies who were on stat hols for Good Friday and now an early night as the legs took a real beating today. In a nutshell we either had mush or ice and not much in between and that's why I am no great fan of spring skiing.

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