Saturday, April 6, 2013

Day119 first fresh tracks for weeks - sort of

It rained hard again all night and was raining on the way to the hill although the temperature was a rather more encouraging +3 as we drove up Ski Hill Road. On their web site the hill claimed 1 cm of fresh ovenight which seemed strange as with the precip we had I would have expected it would either be much more or nothing at all.

We kitted ourselves out in full rain gear and for only the second time this season I found myself dressed head to foot in Canadian Tire's finest yellow plastic suit. I have to say that I don't really see the challenge on a rain day as any different from any other type of day. In cold weather you have people coming off the hill complaining about cold hands and feet because they haven't worn the right gear, in really cold weather you have people coming off the the hill with frost bite because they haven't covered up and so with rain it is just a case of wearing the right gear (as I was) and you are dry and toastie all day with no problems.

We went to the New Side and found that the rain line reached up as far as White Pass load. Above that it was wet heavy cream snow for the most part getting lighter as you got higher and snowing most of the time. It would have been ideal for a good old White Pass loop day except that most of White Pass was closed. It fact it is easier to say what was open (from the fence on the skiers left of Highline to the fence on the skiers right of Puff) than to say what was closed which was everything, and I do mean everything else.

No one else seemed to have woken up to the fact that we had untracked wet snow (you couldn't really call it powder but I bet they do) all across Highline and the trees to the skiers right. The nature of the snow was such that even the two of us trying to cut quite tight lines still left a real mess everywhere we went and by late morning we had trashed eveything in Highline and in the trees but the extraorinary thing was that there appeared to bo only our tracks in there. The only bad decision of the morning was to get too greedy in the Toilet Bowl and have to side step up in wet snow to get out at the bottom.

We went down to lunch through Currie which had warning signs at the top saying that only Currie Powder was open (correct as we found 1-2-3s and Down Right closed) and that the Gilmar Trail was subject to "bare spots". The top was poor viz as had the top of White Pass been all morning but the surface soon became ok wet snow skiing although someone got out the glue pot for the section just above Gilmar Trail. On the trail itself I was prepared for the worst but actually it wasn't that bad. There were a few bare patches that were easy to avoid and I have seen it much worse at either end of the season in the past with no warnings.

After lunch we poked around the Old Side and found that the rain was falling all the way to the top. Where there had been past grooming or high skier traffic the wet snow on a firm base was ok but again anywhere there had been soft snow it was now super deep mush. They were setting up the course for the Monster event so we ran the course just to see what it was like and found ourselves hardly moving in the mushy top section. I guess the racers would have some special soft snow wax (I have been told WD40 works quite well) that would hold good for just one run and allow them to run at something like normal speed.

There is only so much fun you can have on limited terrain in pouring rain and by mid afternoon we abandoned skiing and headed for the bar. Things were starting to hot up after we had our couple of beers as the hype for the Monster race and Plazza Party was starting. With the Head Wall not on the course I couldn't get that excited about the race and the size of the speakers being set up in the Griz convinced me that maybe the party was being aimed at a different age group from ours. We headed home for hot drinks and some comforting whiskey.

I have no doubt that tomorrow everyone will fill me in on what I have missed. It looks like we may have a cooler dryer day and could possibly get back to something more like normal skiing to start the last week of the season.

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