Thursday, March 7, 2013

Day 89 and a pretty good way to come back

So the official figures read like this - we had 16 cms of snow overnight pushing the base to 281 cms but it snowed during the day probably pushing the 24 hour figure to over 20 cms and the base correspondingly higher.

In normal circumstances you would think that this would give awesome (or even awesome, awesome) conditions but in the event all we got was some pretty good skiing. The cause of this was twofold - firstly there was a hard rain crust all over the hill (even at the top of Polar Peak) which meant that you were always dropping through on to a hard icey crust and where the snow sloughed ( which was in many places) the icey crust became the only skiing surface available. Secondly the rising temps at the base meant that the snow on the lower parts of the main runs (particularly the big three) became very heavy and cheesy especially for those of us who were a little out of condition having had the last 8 days off.

It was -2 when we arrived at the hill and it had been snowing all night. It snowed off and on all day while the temps rose to around +4, to the credit of the Griz snow continued to come down white even if it had a high moisture content. During the day the snow slackened a bit but after we had finished it came back with a vengance which promises good powder for tomorrow.

We went to the New Side on the grounds that the higher you went the better the snow would be and this proved to be not an entirely bad plan. With a buddy from the RCMP we were listening out on the radio for news of openings as we skied together. Our first loop was out to Anaconda Glades which were untracked in the chute we took but the snow sloughed down to rain crust as we skied it. Bootleg Glades trees to the left were just great untracked snow for first tracks but I guess second tracks down wouldn't have been anything like as good.

Currie wasn't open so we had a couple of White Pass loops through Surprise Trees which were good deep snow on a scratchy base. After we finish there the fence on Currie had dropped and we had a long morning with a late lunch skiing -

Cougar Glades - two tracks in just in front of us that disappeared and then great untracked skiing all the way down.
The Brain right - plenty of untracked lines but the firm base meant that you had to ski with a bit more caution than last week.
Decline/Window chutes - rather more tracks than I expected but ok skiing where the heavy snow was pushed over the firm base.
Stag Leap - a little skied out through the trees but loads of untracked lines in the run. The bumps which had been soft were now hard and this was feature of all of the skiing in the Big Three all day.
Secret Chutes/Spinal Tap - again rather skied out in the top and very bumpy and icey in ST itself.

After lunch I went back to the New Side and found that Polar Peak was open. The viz was as normal bad but the snow in the chutes was soft and deep although the scratchy base was evident suggesting to me that the rain at the end of last week fell all the way up to the top of Polar peak. I hit Pappa Bear back to the chair and then Baby Bear (all the chutes were soft and deep although you could see nothing) down to the traverse. After that it was a run down Decline which was soft snow on top of hard bumps in the top and very heavy snow in the bottom.

With time running out I took a loop through Currie Creek which was surprisingly untracked - I guess everyone had either dropped off before or pushed on to the Big Three. This just left time for a final run down Skydive where I was joined by a couple of the regulars. It was a tough non stop run with the snow lower down now getting super heavy but a great way to finish the first day back on the hill.

While we were drinking in the Griz we had a very heavy storm which must have put down at least 5 cms in about half an hour. If nothing else we will have this to ski on tomorrow although it is continuing to snow as I am typing this - maybe we will have another big powder day tomorrow.

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