Sunday, March 30, 2014

Day 32 a sensational day

The only reason I used sensational in the heading of todays report is because the word awesome is so much over used and it's getting hard to find a more extensive vocabulary to describe the conditions that we have had during the past week.
First off I have to apologise that my past couple of day's reports have been rather brief. The reason for this is that my best buddies in Fernie are miners and they work 4 day sets. This weekend just gone is the first weekend since we have been here that their  sets give them time off at the weekends, at the same time as their partners. It follows that this was the first weekend we could go out for meals and we did, which meant that my last two evenings have been cut short and this does seem to have come through in what I have written. That having been said it was Polonius (in Hamlet) who said that brevity was the soul of wit do maybe being brief isn't all that bad.
Last night it precipitated in the valley all night in one form or another ranging from rain to wet snow. Obviously this had an effect up the hill and this morning they were reporting another 17 cms of new snow and a base of just over 4 metres. On the way to the hill it was -2 on the mercury and the precip at the base was coming down white. During the day we had some very hard snow/graupel showers in the morning in sub zero temps which gave way in the afternoon to some sunny periods and temps getting up to about +3 mid mountain.
The conditions were great creamy powder all morning becoming a bit heavier in the afternoon, and slushy in the lower mountain. What was particularly good was that the crowds from yesterday were gone and whilst it wasn't quite back to mid week levels it wasn't that far off. The other good point was that significant areas that had been closed yesterday were open today giving us access to almost 40 cms of untracked powder in many areas.
In the early conditions of wet snow we went to the New Side and straight away found that Knot Chutes and Surprise Trees were open straight off the bat. We did the Knot Chute/Surprise Trees loop about 6 times . These had improved from yesterday and were soft snow (lightly tracked) and very easy skiing which was a big difference from yesterday's tough work out on hard rubbery snow.
We were on our way out to Surprise when a patroller buddy passed us and told us it was clear to ski Anaconda. As always happens in these circumstances the herd drops the near chute of Anaconda (they can have it - my gift to them) whilst those of us who are a little more discerning climb the hump into the further chutes - this takes a little longer but is so much more worth it. This time I put first tracks into the first chute over the hump which hadn't been skied in two days and it was just awesome bottomless powder where the biggest problem was beating out your own slough. We then took the near trees in Bootleg for more deep and totally untracked lines through the tree chutes. By the time we go to Gilmar trail it was heavy and chunky and that rather set the pattern for the day.
We then went back up White Pass and found Currie bowl open so we just looped the rest of the day as follows -
Decline - we had intended to do Skydive but there were a couple of tracks in and Decline was untracked. Two days of soft deep snow meant you could pretty well straight line it although a guy passed me about half way down so I guess he was even straighter lining it than me but it was an awesome rip getting a bit heavy low down but as it was untracked it skied like water skiing.
The Brain - a few tracks in but as usual with all the lines available it was easy to get untracked skiing all the way down to the ski out into Skydive by which time things were a bit heavy.
Secret Chutes/Spinal Tap - some great un tracked lines in the top. In the creek bed there had obviously been a slide but we could keep on top and the snow was pretty mushy. The only surprise was the tree that had been brought down by the slide in the lower section which required a bit of avoiding in some super heavy snow.
Stag Leap - we had actually hiked Cornice Ridge with a view to dropping Lone Fir but found it closed , I heard later that it opened just moments after we were there. We dropped Cornice Chute which was awesome, deep and untracked before going in to Stag Leap. The run was tracked up but great soft snow but heavy in the final pitch.
Anaconda/Bootleg Glades - we had the idea that no one would have been back in Anaconda and we were right. We pushed the chutes a bit further across and found fantastic deep untracked lines. Bootleg was getting a bit clunky and I thought maybe starting to set up a little.
This brought us all to the final run of the day which of course was Skydive. By this time the bumps in the top were starting to reappear and were a bit of work. The mid section was awesome partially tracked powder that was a complete ripper. The final section was super soft and heavy spring skiing, no problem, just hard work.
So having struggled through another day I hit the bar and found it full of good buddies celebrating the 4 metre party - a perfect end to a great day. As we drove away from the hill temps were around zero with more precip about so things are looking pretty good.

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