Thursday, February 27, 2014

Day 1 Good to be back

I'm sure everyone will forgive me using a Gary Glitter song title in the head line but it is good to be back.
So what's been happening so far this season while we have been away ? Well, if I can believe my buddies it was good early season and they had great skiing on deserted hills up to Christmas. There was a big dump just around the new year and then nothing for 6 weeks. In fact everyone tells me it was the worst January snow drought anyone can remember. Add to that the fact that the temps went really low and it made for some very not fun conditions and quite few people I know are well behind their normal tally of days skiing for this time of year.
In the last couple of weeks we have been hit by a couple of good snow cycles ( well over a meter of new snow) and the temps have stayed low. The result of this is great coverage with packed powder and soft snow bumps all over the hill but with a relatively low base for this time of year (circa 260 cms) which means that while the skiing is good the conditions are fragile and a big warm up in the spring could see us with real trouble with coverage.
So today dawned sunny and with broken cloud but a cool temp of -13 on the way to the hill. The day had started badly when the alarm had failed to go off, not because I had set the time for 7 pm, as Lynda suggested, but because I had set the clock 12 hours out when I turned it on yesterday. The timer on the coffee was perfect but I had not put the flask in correctly so we had coffee all over the kitchen work surfaces. Knowing that disasters always come in threes I was worried as I headed for the hill thinking that the next one might be a skiing related disaster but not to worry, in the locker room I found that I had left my seasons pass at home and had to get a temporary one from guest services - thanks guys.
So with the disasters out of the way we parked up the new set of wheels (a bright red Ford F150 crew cab truck) and headed for the locker room. With no new snow, conditions were a kind of packed powder all over the hill with bumps on the higher traffic areas and soft stuff in the low traffic areas. The low temps kept the snow in good condition although driving back from the hill tonight I noticed that the temp had risen to -2 which could be a worry. There was a little cloud cover which came and went giving conditions ranging from bluebird to flat light and back again all day.
We hit the new side straight off and had the obligatory practice down Bear which convinced us that we had forgotten how to ski for the first two turns and then things got better. After that we just moved around Arrow, Sunny Side, Cedar Ridge, Boomerang, Bear Chutes, Boom Ridge, Linda's, King Fir and even a trip out to Steep and Deep along the Cedar High Traverse. As I have already said the skiing was nice soft bumps for the most part with some soft powder close in to the trees and some nice soft stuff out on Steep and Deep. All this involved three trips back down Kangaroo which was also soft bumps and skiing just about as mellow as I can remember it.
After lunch Lynda took a break ( she's still a bit weak from all the chemo) and I went out to explore the New Side. I did three loops of Polar Peak and the front runs which panned out as - Papa Bear/Decline, Mamma Bear/Stag Leap and Baby Bear/Cougar Glades. As I expected the runs off Polar were pretty firm but taking an edge with some blow in and bumps only on Papa Bear. The front runs were all soft bumps with not too much evidence of high traffic. Lift line down from Timber top to White Pass base was skiing firm bumps but ok. After a final White Pass loop to get the time right it was time for the 4 o'clock Skydive run.
Only a few of us turned up and considering that I was jet lagged, getting over a cold and on my first day I was pleased to get down in one with no break and only a bit slower than I would normally expect. After that the only thing to do was to hit the Griz bar for some well earned beers.
A big thanks to all our friend who have been telling us how much they have missed us and all the good wishes for Lynda - these things are really appreciated. The forecast is calling for flurries ( Fernie flurries could be anything from a dusting to 100 cms), a cool down to mid -20 temps this weekend then a warm up to big plus temps and rain snow mix next week - who cares, we are just pleased to be here.

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