Friday, April 12, 2013

Day 125 a really tough day

The reason today was so tough was that all the things that have been happening in this latest weather cycle to make skiing easier failed to happen today - let me explain. So far we have either had softening conditions during the day so it didn't matter what had happened the previous day, you could ski the mush. Alternatively if it had frozen overnight and not softened during the day there has always been some new opening available so that you could ski previously untracked snow which of course was smooth and easy to ski.

Today our chickens came home to roost and we found that everything had previously been open in soft conditions so what was available (ignoring groomers)  was tracked up and ugly. This wouldn't have mattered if things had softened but they didn't. It was -6 overnight and arriving at the hill it was -1. Initially things looked quite encouraging as it was tending towards the bluebird with temps rising fast. In the event we had cloud cover coming in off and on all day and as result it never really warmed up so everything stayed pretty hard. By the end of the day we had a little atmospheric warming so that the very lowest part of Skydive had softened but apart from that we were dealing with some hard ugly conditions.

We went to the Old Side initially and skied around Bear and into the Lizard bowl looking for things to soften up which of course they didn't but the hard groomers were ok skiing. We experimented with runs down Boomerang and Boom Ridge which were just about skiable as we could find untracked areas in which to turn. Out across Lizard nothing had been groomed and the lower Dancer area was ugly refrozen crud. Somewhere in there we looped Cedar Centre which skied ok and gave every sign of being about to become soft but that was before the morning cloud rolled in.

We went to the New Side and found nothing much different. Puff and Lift Line were tough and hard all day. We looped back through Gun Bowl/Highline/Heartland a few times and again had to work very hard in the tracked up refrozen crud to get any kind of skiing at all. I think that part of the problem was that we had a graupel storm just after close of play last night and the layer of pellets sat on top of the under surface and acted like and insulating blanket keeping things cold without really providing much of a skiing surface to make up for it.

We ran to base a few times trying a combination of Alph Centauri (really ugly ice crust) and Currie Powder - a lot better off the groomed surface to skiers left giving some soft surface pellets to work with. It was time for lunch with the expectation that the afternoon's skiing would be soft and slushy.

Our expecations were not fulfilled as on emerging form lunch the clouds had socked in again and by late afternoon we were even getting some flurry activity. Again we had to look for lines that were either groomed or not too affected by the skier traffic and freezing conditions. Currie Powder and Down Right provided some ok skiing with good lines in between the groomed areas either to the left of Currie Powder or in Currie Glades. I even ran to base through Diamond Back which hadn't been groomed for a couple of days but skied ok if a bit scratchy.

I was getting bored so pushed out to High Saddle on the basis of what ever didn't kill me would make me stronger. As it turned out the skiing through the Saddle was great winter snow as was the first half dozen or so turns underneath. Below that it got a bit tricky on refrozen crud but by sticking to untracked areas and keeping the speed up I found things were not that bad.

All too soon last run of the day came round and we headed to Skydive expecting totally horrible conditions. The top section confirmed our worst nightmares with an ugly refrozen ploughed field of icey crud to negotiate. By the time we got tothe second section both Dan and I thought we were detecting a softening which made the skiing a little easier. By the final pitch the late afternoon warming was taking effect and the surface was hard underneath but soft on top and by the last few tuens was easy mush skiing - overall not quite as bad as I expected but then I did expect it to be pretty bad.

After skiing we had drinks in Kelsey's where Dan and I (and later Lynda) registered our two man and one woman protest against the closure of the Griz Bar for the last two nights - over to you guys. The best thing about Kelsey's is that they serve 23 oz pints for the sme price as they serve 20 ozpints in the Griz.This amounts to 15% more beer per buck spent, or a 15% reduction in the price of beer depending on how you look at it - just saying.

The forecast is for 10-15 cms overnight so it could end up as a full on powder day to finish the season - who knows.

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