Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day 29 a pretty good day

First of all a message to everyone who seems to think that because I am skiing on my new "banana" skis this gives them a right to comment on my skiing. The fact that the skis perform very differently from the old ones means that I ski them differently. In the more marginal conditions of the past couple of days (when I probably should have skied on the old skis but wanted to experiment with just what these new ones would be like in those conditions) they tend to slide out of the turn rather than carve like my old skis. This doesn't mean that I have got it wrong, or have forgotten how to ski or as has been suggested in one place that I am "struggling". It means that these skis work differently and I am sliding around on them faster than I have ever skied while remaining in control - I haven't fallen on them since I have had them. So I suggest that those offering comments (none of whom have ever skied on full rocker skis) should pull their collective necks in until they know what they are talking about - rant over.
Today was a bit strange in that the official web site said that there had been no new snow in the last 24 hours while we know that we were skiing in some pretty heavy graupel showers for most of yesterday. We arrived at the hill in temps of -3 at the base a few degrees colder on top. It was overcast and became more so during the day until we got some pretty consistent light snow by the end of the day. Temps stayed low all day and at the end as we drove away from the hill it was -1. What all this meant was that where things had softened low down yesterday they refroze hard and didn't soften today but where things had been soft and unsoftened yesterday they remained in great shape.
We went to the Old Side and had a run or two in the Bear area which confirmed that on top things were in good shape but lower down we had hard refrozen surfaces. On the Bear itself I discovered something which instinctively I already knew and that was that the new skis really suck on a hard icy groomer. We had decided to go over to the New Side and on the way decided to take a trip down Boomerang on the grounds that it would probably be good in the top and ugly lower down. In the event it was great soft snow all the way down and the only thing that spoilt the run was the fact that we skied the whole thing half way cautiously always anticipating that the next turn would put us below the crunch line.
The moral of this story was that the crunch line where the soft snow of yesterday became ugly refrozen crud was really much lower down the hill than anyone expected. On the Old Side it started about half way down the final pitch of Freeway and on the New Side it was just below the start of the final pitch of Skydive. This meant that everything above which included the Polar Chutes, the Saddles, Lower Easter bowl and all of White Pass was good soft tracked up powder from yesterday.
On the New Side Polar Peak was open and we decided to do a loop through Papa Bear. We changed our plans when we found the upper parts of the chute a bit scratchy and things only got really good and soft lower down which would have been when we had to traverse back to the chair. We changed plans and ran out to High Saddle which skied beautiful with edge to edge jumps and the pitch underneath deep snow with untracked lines. Even the cut out into Easter was soft tracked powder. Next time round we took Mama Bear which was also scratchy in the top and soft below - the run to base through High Saddle was just as good as before. Our next loop was Baby Bear which was just like all the other Polar chutes. This time we took Low Saddle which was a bit icy in the first two turns of the top but the right cut out got us to some great untracked powder chutes and then a run into lower Easter. Final run before a late lunch was another Papa Bear and then a hike up to Lone Fir. The snow was in ok shape through the Lone Fir chute but the fan below was spectacular deep untracked snow although it was funny to be skiing over where I was avied out with no sign of any avi trail, or come to think of it my lost ski.
After a late lunch I went back up the New Side and met up with some buddies while I looped Grand Papa Bear off Polar which was surprisingly untracked. We then hit Barely Legal which had more snow in it than most of the chutes before dropping High Saddle and Easter which were in just as good shape as the morning. We just had time for a Papa Bear chute then back to White Pass base along Currie Powder and Trespass Trail (running pretty fast) before doing a White Pass ripper top to bottom to kill time.
The last run was of course Skydive which skied great in the bumps at the top and had super soft snow until about three quarters of the way down. After that it was just ugly refrozen crud which we had to crash through at high speed and suck it up as the price to be paid for a great upper section. As we left the hill it was snowing and there is certainly more precip of some kind in the forecast - I am optimistic.

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