Sunday, March 2, 2014

Day 4 Tough at first but getting better

Yes, the summary of today was that yesterday's conditions carried over into today but then got better as the day went on and the new snow accumulated slowly to improve the underlying conditions.

The starting temp this morning was -24 as we drove to the hill and there had been overnight snow although official figures showed only 2 cms of new - as that was an early morning reading it was probably a bit low and it seemed to me that we had about 4 cms of dust on crust. It was overcast with flurries and light snow all day so the snow accumulated to about 8 cms by close but very light with hardly any moisture content due to the low temps. By the afternoon the mercury was showing -18 at White Pass base so things had warmed up, but not much.

The effect of the new snow on the conditions was initially to make things a bit tougher than yesterday. The new snow covered the under surface obscuring the terrain so everything came as a bit of a surprise as and when you skied over it. The light was flat under overcast skies so seeing the surface was made more difficult than yesterday. To top it off the snow was so light that it didn't provide a cushion to what it covered and after two nights of -30 temps up the hill the base was rock hard and uneven. Skiing was very challenging with the hill always trying to throw you off balance or grab your skis.

As the day wore on the conditions improved and the accumulating snow provided a surface that started to take an edge. By close skiing was getting back to something that approached enjoyable but the base and the bumps remained very firm indeed.

Having dipped out on the New Side a couple of days ago because it was so cold and then had it closed all yesterday I felt justified in having an exclusively New Side day today. Because of the cold we were all well layered up and skiing tended to be a bit defensive as it always is in super cold conditions. I managed to get through with only one break but and extended lunch and frequent stops because of cold stiff muscles meant that there was no great mileage covered although most of the New Side front runs got a visit.

There is not much point in doing my usual run by run account as they were all very similar. Soft snow on top getting deeper and softer as the day went on but with hard bumps underneath. As has been the case all week the low traffic areas were softer and flatter and the high traffic areas very bumpy - particularly the top of Skydive/Decline. A brief account of some of the runs were - Stag Leap (tough in the trees but soft lower down) Decline (ok bumps) Cougar Glades ( very tough uneven bumpy skiing on hidden crud) Skydive (very mixed conditions with bumps at the top and bottom) Concussion (hard bumps) Easter Bowl ( quite nice a soft and not too bumpy) Secret Chutes (nice and soft) Spinal Tap (nicely filled in with soft snow and bumps in the lower section taking an edge) Window Chutes ( soft on firm bumps and even the choke skiing ok) - these were just the highlights.

The end of the day found us taking a loop through Surprise Trees which were really getting quite soft and easy skiing and not too bumpy underneath, Of course the final run was Skydive which as before was big bumps in the top, smoothing out in the mid section and then bumping up again in the lower section. I'm still having to take a break half way down Skydive so things aren't quite back to normal yet. The forecast shows snow in the next 24 hours and a warm up - we could certainly do with it.

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