Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Day 122 still skiing untracked snow - how good is that

Still no new snow but it dropped to -7 in the valley overnight and I guess it was a lot colder on the hill which help the stabalize the snow pretty well all across the hill allowing for more openings. On the way to the hill it was -4 and conditions were mostly sun with some cloud. The result was that in the direct sunlight temps rose to plus figures of up to +8 softening all surfaces but in the shade not much softened at all.

We initially went to the Old Side because we had been told that someone was trying to set a new world record for the most vert in one day and to do this he would have to ski the Bear 58 times. On the way up we did the math and worked out that he would have to loop the Bear once every 7 and a half minutes which as the Bear takes 8 minutes to run to the top at standard speed looked a bit of a tall order. I think he would need to have a word with the hill to get the hours extended and the lift speeded up if he wants to stand a chance.

Having lost interest in the record attempt we skied around Lizard Bowl always running down to Bear load to check the snow conditions if we were to start skiing the Saddles again. Everything looked ok and much, much more was groomed in Lizard Bowl today making any skiing below the Saddles much easier than yesterday, if that is what you are looking for. We went to the New Side to see what was new.

Arriving at Timber load I was told that Surprise Trees had opened for the first time in a week or so. When we got to the top of White Pass we found that although Knot Chutes remained closed, the Gun Bowl and the Idiot Traverse were open and so we could go out to Surprise Trees or Anaconda Glades. The Gun bowl skied very mellow and powdery and when I got to the end of the traverse I found that all the tracks went into Anaconda and I had to cut fresh tracks into Surprise Trees. The skiing was soft slighly heavy powder on a rather scratchy base and totally untracked. A little lower down some tracks came in from the right but there was still plenty of untracked.

Now for the amazing part - the next time round I found that mine were still the only tracks into Surprise and so I cut the traverse a bit further and then dropped with much the same effect as before. I did this again on the far side of Surprise, and then again on the near side of Triple Trees first section and then again in Triple Trees first section proper - all loops were returned to White Pass load along Trespass Trail. I couldn't believe I got 5 runs of untracked powder with no one coming out to follow me - I guess that's a function of the hill being even less busy that yesterday if such a thing was possible.

I noticed on the Idiot Traverse that soft snow was starting to pinwheel out of the Knot Chutes and figured (wrongly as it turned out) that the traverse would be closing soon. We hit Anaconda Glades and had an awesome run in good powder on the north facing slope so that we both had to stop at one time to let our sloughs pass to avoid being barrelled over by them -conditions lower down were a bit varied so beating out your own slough would have been a bit of a ballsey call today.

We hadn't forgotten the Saddles and took a High Saddle loop followed by a Low Saddle loop.The chutes were getting a bit slick in places but nothing some good edge to edge jumping couldn't handle. Under the Saddles it was just like yesterday with great powder and many untracked lines to be threaded if you just paid attention. We went for a very late lunch.

After lunch it was just more Saddles (Low, High and then Low again) and although they were getting more marginal as the day went on they were still in pretty ok condition. The skiing underneath still had many untracked lines to offer if you just looked hard enough. At the end of the day I had just time for a quick groomer loop on White Pass which was so unused that you could almost straight line it from top to bottom.

Tradition has a lot to answer for - I could have had an easy saddle to finish but found myself heading for Skydive. My buddies had quite sensibly avoided me by this time so I faced the final Skydive drop on my own. At first it wasn't too bad with soft snow on the bumps and then the mid section was soft and melting and my hopes rose - all too soon as it turned out. The last section was ugly icey ploughed up crud and even worse than yesterday if that was possible. It was very hard work to get to the cat track but eventually I made it, lets say the skiing was effective rather than pretty.

I only stayed for a couple f beers in the Griz Bar tonight as it is Beer and Burger for 10 bucks at the Northern and I don't want to miss that. The forecast says we are in for four days of "mixed precip" I wonder what that will actually turn out to be, only time will tell.

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