Friday, April 5, 2013

Day 118 a bit of a wash out

Yes, today was a bit of a wash out in every sense of the word. It rained hard all night and stayed warm so that temps on the way to the hill were +6. It was raining off and on when we got to the hill and the ridge lines were socked in and Polar Peak chair wasn't running due to high winds. You didn't have to be a genius to work out that the Monster Enemy Lines Chinese Downhill simply wasn't going to happen in those conditions and it didn't - but more of that later.

We went to the Old Side and found the actual skiing surface in surprisingly good shape as long as you stayed on the previously groomed or high traffic packed in areas. Bear, Arrow, North Ridge etc were all nice easy skiing with soft on firm and we looped them. Best skiing was China Wall which is now soft bumps although you do have to avoid some big bare patches and lower Kangaroo which is still soft bumps on the firm underbase.

Of course where there had previously been soft off piste the snow was mush all the way to base and to all intents and purposes unskiable. We didn't have much choice as everything beyond Arrow in Lizard was closed as was everything right off North Ridge. I did take a speculative drop into Cedar Ridge just to test how bad it was and it was very bad - I would have done better with scuba gear rather than ski gear.

We spent most of the morning looping what little was open on the Old Side with occasional dashes into the Bears Den to get out of the worst of the showers which did have some graupel in them but were mostly rain all the way to the top. We had a very soggy lunch with just a few other around who were stupid enough to be skiing on a day like this.

After lunch we continued much as the morning but by 2:30 the rain had set in as unbroken from top to base and getting heavier and we took this as sign to call it a day. The most amazing thing was there were still about a dozen people out on the hill as we came off which must go to prove something but I can't think what.

We went to the Griz Bar where for just over an hour only one other set of customers came in, at all times the staff outnumbered the customers by a margin. It was in the Griz we read the press release from Monster confirming that the main event had been cancelled "on Fernies 45 degree + headwall.." and instead they were running a scaled down event tomorrow from the High Lizard Traverse to base for the reduced prize of $5000. Whilst that is a big step down from $20,000 it still seems pretty ok to me to be racing for 5000 bucks just for straightlining lower Lizard.

More rain is in the forecast and it looks like tomorrow may be another short day decked out in my yellow plastic rain suit - $9.99 from Canadian Tire. After that forecasters are calling for a cool down with actual minus daytime temps on Monday and Tuesday with white precip to come. Whether or not we get these conditions and if we do how they will affect the hill are two very interesting questions. Meanwhile today was the biggest washoutof the season.

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