Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Day 27 Deja vu

As an English sports commentator famous for his misuse of the English once said, today was deja vu all over again. Put in simpler terms today was a rerun of yesterday with a few significant variations in the temps later in the day.
It was bluebird as we drove to the hill in temps of -8 so we knew things would be pretty hard and tough skiing compared with yesterday and we were right. Lynda took the day off to build her energy for the next couple of days which might provide fresh snow and she may have made a pretty good call. I went to the New Side to continue to try the new skis in the tougher conditions although the Sally Shoguns might have been a better bet given that we had no new snow overnight and all we were looking at was yesterday's stuff refrozen overnight. My comments of yesterday were that nothing really softened up by the close which was right but my feeling was that things had got warmer and softer for some time after the hill closed which would explain why everything was so hard and hard work straight off the bat today.
I did a White Pass Loop which was Lift Line (hard bumps) the Gun bowl (refrozen crud) and Highline Trees (heavy refrozen crud) - get the picture ? So I went to Polar Peak which was open and as expected offering the most stunning 360 degree views for many miles in all directions. I then did several loops off Polar through Grand Papa Bear, a couple of Clown chutes, Barely Legal and Papa Bear before heading to base through my steep Papa/Mama Bear rock chute. The were all ok in the sense that they were taking an edge but were all hard and unforgiving bumps which required maximum concentration to avoid a top to bottom slide. I ran to base through High Saddle which was still skiing ok with edge to edge jumps and the slope underneath and lower Easter bowl just tracked powder with some soft snow to be found in places.
Next time up was a repeat of the Polar Chutes which remained hard and unforgiving. I linked up with my buddy Dan and we ran to base through Skydive as he was skiing his split shift from the mine so he couldn't be there for last run of the day. It was actually ok with big bumps in the top, some soft stuff in the middle and the bottom section surprisingly good even if you skied the left or middle which was a first since the last snow cycle. Last runs before a late lunch found the Polar chutes as before and actually taking a soft edge in each of the ones I skied and almost spring skiing. I ran to base through Stag Leap which skied much like Skydive although it was a bit challenging through the trees at the top.
After lunch it was back up Polar Peak but via Mitchy Chutes which were less tracked and skiing soft. The sun had gone in and things were starting to haze over even if the temps were rising so we had +4 at the Polar load. The lack of direct sunlight meant that we had conditions where the surface was starting to set up in Grand Papa and Mama Bear chutes. We ran to base through Secret Chutes and Spinal Tap which continue to have a surprisingly large amount of soft and lightly tracked snow in them. This time we were prepared for the blue ice landing off the log drop in Spinal Tap and made a rather better job of it than yesterday.
We did another Polar loop which was a straight drop of Baby Bear which confirmed things were really setting up and getting a bit technical. We dropped High Saddle again and found the beginnings of an ice track for the last two turns but as before the soft snow underneath was ok although the light was getting a bit white in the haze by this time. So we just had time to head out to Skydive for the last rip and found the snow in surprisingly good shape all the way down even if things were a bit bumpy in top. At least we have got the energy to go top to bottom without a break which a couple of weeks ago was a no no.
We drank beer with friends in the Griz Bar and had a good time talking about the day's skiing. Best of all the mountain forecast is calling for white precip of up to 15 cms. My own view is that with a temp of +6 as we drove away from the hill we are more likely to get a rain at the base with good skiing at White Pass base and above day, but I hope I am proved wrong - I doubt it.

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