Monday, March 24, 2014

Day 26 Learning to ski

Well.I am not exactly going back to the bunny slopes and learning how to snowplough but I am having to rethink how I ski on the new DPS Wailers with maximum rocker. What I have to get in my head is that there is about 20 cms of ski at the front and 10 cms of ski at the back that are not in touch with the ground which gives me a ski of 154 cms length if I just let things sit flat. If I drive the tips in they ski like a long ski and come out of turns fast as if they are in rails which does tend to push me in to the back seat. As an alternative, if I stand centrally and pivot the skis they really ski like short skis and allow me to spin short turns on and edge and effectively ski slow and straight in tight situations. Not a very technical description but the best a poor amateur like me can do to explain the situation that I was working with today.
We had a pure bluebird day all day today despite the forecast that it would cloud over in the afternoon. It was -10 on the deck this morning and remained cold all day, or rather much colder than you would have expected for a bluebird day at the end of March. By close the base temps were only about +1 and as an example the snow at the Timber load which on a day like this would normally have been mush was still quite icy. The good news from this was that nothing much got soft except on the direct south facing slopes, so nothing much will be refrozen crud tomorrow morning. The bad news is that nothing much softened up particularly in the morning. As we drove away from the hill tonight the temp was +4 and I guess that was the warmest it has been today by a margin.

We went to the Old Side and found that Lizard Bowl had been groomed all the way across from Bear to Freeway. There were still tracks of ungroomed stuff to play with between Arrow, Bow, Cascade and Dancer and we made a few laps skiing the tracked up powder in those areas. Next stop was Cedar bowl which didn't seem to have been groomed at all and we had some good loops through New Lift Line, Cedar Ridge and King Fir. All the north facing stuff was in pretty good shape with soft bumps in tracked up powder and we even had a couple of runs back through Kangaroo which was predictably hard icy bumps but great fun. We decided to go the New Side and I made my only bad decision of the day by dropping into Boomerang - ok in the top, but the second part was hard refrozen crud with death cookies all over the place. My guess was that it would have softened but as I have already said softening took much longer to happen today, if at all.
When we got to the New Side we just had time for two complete Polar circuits before lunch. The view from Polar Peak was as stunning as I have ever seen it and the drop through Papa Bear was good skiing in crisp snow taking  a good edge in small bumps. We ran to base through Decline/Window Chutes and found Decline pretty bumpy but soft snow in the top of Window Chutes becoming a bit scratchy lower down. Final loop before lunch was the Mama Bear chute off Polar taking the tight right chute which was untracked and then Secret Chutes and Spinal Tap which both had big deposits of soft snow and a few icy patches to keep you on your toes.
After lunch we had six or seven loops of Polar Peak trying Grand Papa Bear and Barley Legal in the main chutes and a variety of the Clown Chutes which still had lots of fresh snow. We eventually did a repeat of the untracked chute off Mama Bear and ran to base via High Saddle (surprisingly still skiable in good snow) and the runs underneath which were tracked but ok powder. Time was getting short so we did a White Pass to Base loop through Anaconda Glades and Bootleg Glades both of which showed plenty of deep snow lines to be had.
Final run of the day was the traverse out and rip down Skydive which was a bit bumpy in the top but after that it was soft snow on a scratchy base. A great bluebird evening on the deck waiting for the next round of precip which may come as snow, rain or something in between, lets see.

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