Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Day 7 No

Avid followers may remember that last night I posed the question as to whether or not yesterday would be the last good day's skiing in the current weather cycle. Well today we had the answer "No" as today was a very good day in it's own way and there may be better to come. Today's skiing could be easily summarized in few words such as , awesome up high but pretty crappy lower down, but those who know me know that  a few words is not really my style.
It rained all night in town and temps on the deck this morning were around +2. The result of this was bloody mess with flooding as drains were blocked with ice and flood covered ice on the roads made for challenging driving conditions. At the hill the base temp was +1 but up at White Pass base it was around zero and these temps didn't change all that much during the day. The rain line was around the top of the meadow and rising although it never got up to White Pass Base and by the close was only a little higher than it's starting position.
The result was that we had about 10cms of fresh snow overnight and probably a similar amount during the day above the rain line. Of course the snow was heavy with a high moisture content but this was no bad thing giving hero skiing in what would normally be tight situations. The lower mountain was just heavy chunky wet snow which was super sticky and very hard going . The conditions dictated the strategy for the day which was go high and stay high - in a practical sense this meant go to the New Side and do loops in White Pass, only going to the base when you had to.
The first run down Lift Line from Timber top confirmed that we had a slightly heavy but smooth powder surface that made ripping hard almost easy. We cycled White Pass for about an hour with very little open (not even the Zig Zag and Surprise Trees) but had some great untracked skiing as many people seemed to be giving the hill a miss. For a change the fences on the Zig Zag, Anaconda and Currie Bowl all dropped at the same time so choices had to be made. I hit out to Cougar Glades and had about third track in which meant untracked skiing and in the conditions it was pretty much a fall line rip through tight trees. The last few turns in the Glades were very mushy and the ski out was in horrible sticky snow and rain - this resolved me that no matter how good the upper part of a run to base was it just was not worth getting that wet.
For the rest of the morning I just looped White Pass always heading out into Knot Chutes which I ran from one end to the other during the several runs in the course of the morning. After the Knot chutes we would head out towards Surprise Trees and drop everything from the near chute all the way out to the far side of Triple Trees which as usual were untracked and offered so many variations that you effectively got first tracks all morning. Of course we always cut out at Trespass Trail to get back to White Pass and avoid a trip to base.
To go to lunch I drifted out to Gotta Go for the first time this year and had the most awesome untracked powder run where the biggest problem was the risk of being barrelled out by my own slough. The near trees of Bootleg proved chunky but ok and Gilmar Trail and below was just a wet sticky mess.
After lunch it was back up into White Pass for a repeat of the morning. The temptation of Currie Bowl was removed when it closed but that was no big deal, as I have always said, I would rather have a restricted area of really awesome skiing than a huge area of elephant snot. The final run of the hill was a repeat of lunch and by then Gotta Go had mostly filled in and was just as steep and deep and untracked as before. We had considered skiing out down Diamond Back but while skiing past the trees to the right of Bootleg (don't even think they have a name) we got tempted by the untrack lines in the trees and as Oscar Wilde said - the only way to rid oneself of temptation is to yield to it. It was much better than expected and even if it did become a bit heavy and slow motion skiing lower down it was pretty ok way to finish.
The outlook is for a slightly cooling trend with more precip which suggests to me that we could have few more days like today which was well on the right side of acceptable. Of course a variation of a degree or two either way and the results could be very different - let's see.

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