Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Day 13 spring skiing starts here

First of all a big hello to Jim. Who is Jim? well, he is a blog follower who cam up to me in the bar tonight to say just how much he enjoyed the blog. Sometimes you do wonder if anyone out there is listening (ok I know I get 300 hits a night but that isn't the point) and it is nice to get some first hand feed back so thanks Jim.
No more precip but temps dropped overnight so that it was -3 on the deck this morning and I guess a bit lower than that up the hill. As we drove up Ski Hill road it was socked in at the lower mountain but the cloud looked quite bright and we guessed that there was an inversion with clear skies and warmer temps on top and we were right. The valley stayed cold below the cloud at -3 and on top it was around zero. The cloud was at around the Bears Den with everything above that a perfect bluebird day looking down on the valley filled with cloud - a pretty cool sight.
As the day wore on the cloud dissipated and we had clear skies top to bottom by close. The effect was that the upper mountain had cooled overnight so no more breakable crust just boiler plate which did soften a bit by the end of the day. Lower down the late clearing of the cloud meant that the mid mountain stayed super hard in whatever state it had been in the day before. The very lowest parts of the hill (from the meadow and below) warmed in the rising valley temps which were about +5 as we drove away from the hill and as result turned to mush on a hard base.
We went to the Old Side working on the basis that as the temps had cooled much quicker last night the groomers would have opened much more of the hill although we expected the off piste to be unbelievably ugly refrozen crud - we were right in both respects. The signs from patrol suggested that the off piste skiing was to be avoided and I usually don't pay too much attention to such warnings. Today they were totally justified and everywhere on the Old Side which hadn't been groomed was ugly rough rain affected bumps and to all intents and purposes unskiable. Areas such as Boomerang and Cedar Ridge were closed but in any even they couldn't have been skied or ridden.
We toured around the hard icy groomers looking at the damage that the last few days have done to the hill. In Cedar Bowl off Cruiser we saw the most spectacular avi with a debris trail standing 3 meters high and which had taken out several trees. Lizard bowl was open but only Arrow and Dancer were groomed. It was funny to see the tracks in Bow where everyone had gone in, taken one turn and then just traversed to get out - it was that kind of a day. Partly because we thought there might be some skiable off piste on the New Side and partly because we figured that all of White Pass would be above the cloud and in the sun (correct) we went to the New Side.
Like yesterday most of White Pass was closed but now the sign line only stopped us at the I bowl on skiers left and everything in between was open. More importantly the cold of last night had firmed up the base there was no more breakable crust but what was left was boiler plate with a bit of dust on crust. Just as we were about to go to lunch they opened Currie Bowl but only as far as Currie Powder far side so there was no skiing off the Reverse Traverse. We actually did a few loops finding good rough un groomed skiing to the left of Currie Powder and some nice untracked dust on Crust in Currie Glades which were accessed via some interesting lines through the debris below Polar Chair base - Polar remained closed all day. The lower parts of Gilmar Trail were hard icy bumps until you reached the soft exit through the Meadow.
After lunch it was just a case of going back up the New Side and looping White Pass -still dust on crust mostly but the Gun bowl was actually getting a little soft. We also ran to base a few times through Currie Bowl mostly looking for untracked lines in the Glades and the exit in Gilmar remained hard and icy bumps.
Sitting on the deck of the Griz in the sun after skiing we heard a number of explosions and assumed that Polar Peak was being worked on although the feeling is that the chutes would be rock hard and icy if it was opened. Our friend Brian had returned from Mexico today and so with other friends we welcomed him back in the Griz in true Fernie fashion which involved quite a lot of beer. Tomorrow looks like a rerun of today as far as the weather goes but with further openings - can't decide whether I want Skydive open (because then we can ski it) or closed (because it will be as ugly as bears ass but we will feel obliged to give it a go) let's see what tomorrow holds.

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