Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day 92 beaten up by the hill

Yes, after today's skiing I am feeling more beaten up than at any time I can remember in the last 10 years. The problem was that all the south facing slopes were refrozen crud which didn't melt today as there was not much direct sunlight - to be fair a bit of the lower stuff melted as the melt line (independent of sun effect) moved up the hill. This meant that to get to all the good north facing stuff it was a traverse on the hard refrozen crud which formed the traverse. As we hit the traverses at speed to get as much good stuff as possible the result was that we had hard brutal traverses all day and by the end just felt totally beaten up. We still had some pretty good skiing though.

We went to the Old Side at first and dropped off the chutes at the top of Bear into Cedar Ridge which was soft blow in and may be the best snow of the day. The gully and gulch we still full of soft blow in. We had a couple more loops in Cedar (we had been told that Snake Ridge was pretty chunky and not worth the effort) doing Cedar Ridge right and King Fir. Neither of these were quite as good as the first loop but still some ok sift on a firm base which in the circumstances was as good as it was going to get.

The three return loops from Cedar were all down Kangaroo which was ugly icey bumps with refrozen crud in the lower section. As I have said before, if you don't want a challenging run don't ski the Roo. I am told it softened in the afternoon so that skiing was a bit more mellow then. With a big chunk of the morning gone and the wind getting up we dropped Boomerang which was easy soft snow with some blow in so that we could cut across to the New Side.

First trip on the New Side was out to Easter Bowl to give the first brutal traverse of many. Easter wasn't quite as good as I thought it would be with some scratchy sections but on the whole it was ok north facing skiing. We tried a loop back through the Knot Chutes. When I we I mean I as Lynda said it would be ugly and refrozen and she didn't fancy it. As usual Lynda was right, although she had understated the case, and Fraid Knot was just as ugly as I can ever remember - hard edge to edge jumps all the way down just to stay out of trouble.

The last run before lunch was Skydive - another traverse. It skied rather better than expected with the bumps in the top soft, the mid section ok soft snow with only a few scratchy places and the lower pitch taking an edge and only ugly and chunky in the final couple of turns. Lunch.

After lunch it was back to the New Side in the hope that Polar Peak might open but it never did - I guess the winds which were quite strong where we were must have been just too much up there. The afternoon was series of ugly hard traverses which resulted in some pretty good skiing at the end -

Decline - soft bumps all the way down. The very final section below the last steep pitch was super hard work as there had been little skier traffic and you had to work your way through some very heavy chunky snow.
Stag Leap - a bit technical through the trees at the top but after that surprisingly good and soft all the way down to the final pitch. The last bit of the run was a mixture of hard pack and crud and honestly not for the faint hearted.
Secret Chutes/Spinal Tap - it was all a bit tracked out but as a north facing slope the snow remained in good shape. In ST itself the snow did get heavy but was still soft. The final section in the creek bed was made easier as the melt line had moved up and softened the bumps.
Anaconda Glades - the traverse out has to have special mention for it's rough hard brutal qualities. After that Anaconda skied like a dream with some nice ridge line blow in.

I am sure there were a couple more runs which I can't recall having had few beers in the Griz bar with buddies but take my word for it they were all hard to get to but ok when we got there.

Skydive was the usual finish which we took top to bottom in one. Just like earlier in the day the bumps in the top were soft, the mid section easy soft snow and the lower section hard but taking an edge.

Sundays are my favourite day in the Griz as the crowds are gone home, the weekend band is still playing and it is just a lot of locals and ski patrollers in there telling stories of the weekend. This tends to lead to a beer or two more than planned but what the hell, you are a long time dead.

Forecasts seem to be giving up on snow over the next few days, in fact the outlook suggests that winter is over and spring is on the way - lets see.

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