Sunday, April 7, 2013

Day 120 a powder day at this time of the season - I guess so

If you define a powder day as any day when you are skiing untracked powder snow with more than 10 cms of fresh for a significant part of the day then I guess today qualifies as a powder day.

It rained all night in the valley but the temps were only just below zero so we had hopes that on the hill things were coming down white. The early morning figures from the hill were for 12 cms of fresh but we were understandably sceptical. On the way to the hill it was only +2 at the base and on top the viz was swinging from socked in to quite clear and back again on a 10 minute cycle.

We went to the New Side and found that up top in White Pass we had almost full on winter conditions with real powder in the top of the run becoming a little heavier as you got to White Pass base. The White Pass loops were a  bit better today as the open area extended from the I bowl sign line on skiers left to about Mitchy's Chutes on skier's right.  The extra area gave us much more to go at with a 12 cms powder covering and the total lack of crowds (even for a Sunday) meant that there were significant areas of untracked snow available all morning.

After a few great powder loops in White Pass which involved Gun Bowl, High Line, Quite Right under the lift, Highline Trees, Little Trees, and many other lines where we found good untracked lines, we headed down Currie Bowl. We hope for a traverse out beyond Currie Powder but that was all closed so we had lots of good untracked powder in Currie Powder itself although by the time we got to Gilmar Trail it was getting pretty heavy.

For the rest of the morning we put loops in White Pass always looking for new untracked lines which we found quite a lot of the time and then dropping to base off the top of White Pass. The base runs were always through Currie Glades which we entered via the Polar Peak load (Polar Peak was closed)  and found great untracked line albeit getting a bit heavy by the exit. A special mention has to go to Gilmar Gully which was super soft on the old bumps and getting heavy but challenging if only to avoid the sink holes above the stream in the bottom of the gully. We looped about three times and went to lunch.

After lunch I decided to try the Old Side to see if I could access the Big 3 from Easter bowl. I didn't really expect the skiing to be much better but it was somewhere different to go and something different to do and so seemed worth while to me. As I started the afternoon it socked in and started to snow from about above the Bear load and rain below that - off and on those were the conditions all afternoon.

First loop was a low side step into Skydive which was ok soft snow with some untracked lines but generally speaking more tracked than I expected. Next I went low into Decline and found a lot of untracked lines. One of the funny things about Decline is that because of the great skiing off either side the tracks in the run tend to become fewer as you go down and today was no exception. The final pitch was great with a lot of untracked areas but a bit sticky on the last couple of turns.

I had noticed a couple of guys hiking high off the Easter traverse and decided to follow suit. The result was that I came out in the top of Skydive with all my options available. It may seem strange but the very people who were working so hard to hike into the big 3 were totally locked into the idea of skiing one of the runs rather than any of the trees. I dropped into the Brain and had totally untracked skiing all the way down and it only got mushy in the last two turns of the final section before I cut out into Skydive. Last run was another maximum hike up to the top of Skydive but this time taking Cougar Glades untracked from top to bottom as a spectacular finish to the day.

Having hiked as much as I did the only cure was a lot of beer in the Griz where the first one didn't even touch the sides. Sunday is my favourite night as it is a locals only event with everyone coming up with stories of the weekend. So, today was a great full on powder day which can't be bad for the start of the second week in April - Lynda was also celebrating her 100 days on the hill.

The forecast for the next few days is cooling and snow - who knows, they might even be right.

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