Thursday, March 6, 2014

Day 8 a pretty crappy day

Sorry guys but there is no way to honestly describe what we had today other than those used in the title. What we really had was the day we had feared yesterday but got away with - well today we didn't manage to dodge the bullet.
The rain died away yesterday evening but came back with a vengeance around midnight and it has rained in the valley pretty solidly since that time. This morning temps on the way to the hill were +3 so it was bit warmer than yesterday. As we looked up the hill while pulling in to the parking lot (car park for UK readers) we could see the rain line up around  White Pass base and made the obvious decision that the only choice was to go high to White Pass and avoid the rest of the hill like the plague.
Everything was stood on it's head as we found out that Timber Chair was closed and was not likely to be open until 11 due to avi risks so the only option was to ski the Old Side in the pouring rain. We hung about for a while at the base drinking coffee and then decided to give it a go. We were partly influenced by the idea that the new snow had pushed the snow base up (if only at the snow plot) to 307 cms so technically we were celebrating the 3 metre party for this season even if it didn't feel like it.
To say that the Old Side was mostly shut down was an understatement. All of Lizard bowl was closed and nothing to the lookers left of Bear was open - not even the Tower 6 trail. After a few runs through some very chunky tracked up deep crud in the Bear area we decided to see just what was open to the skiers left, suspecting that we were restricted to the Old Side Triangle. In the event things were even worse as Alpine Way was close short of Cruiser so that only the near side of Cedar Ridge was available and that was ugly as a bears ass. Even Kangaroo was closed and loops in North Ridge and Emily's showed that the surface was chunky ugly heavy crud.
We got word that Timber had opened and went up to test the situation for a run or two before a late lunch. I have never seen such restricted opening on the New Side all due to avi risk. In White Pass all we had was Highline and Heartland with the Zig Zag closed on one side and a sign line just short of Milky Way Trees on the other. The run off the hill was even more restricted with everything shut off so that a straight drop through Deep Sea was pretty well the only way off the hill - even Summer Road was closed !
After lunch the only game in town was to go back up the New Side and cycle White Pass which was exactly what we did. The snow which was falling up there all day was heavy and for about the top half of White Pass we had heavy but good powder but almost no viz and for the lower half of White Pass we had heavy elephant snot but ok viz - not great skiing. Given the limited terrain there are only so many ways that you can ski White Pass but we did out best to shake it up and got some interesting variations and permutations. That having been said it was poor viz heavy crud skiing and we had to get pretty physical to make the whole thing work at any level.
In the conditions we decided to quit at around 3:30 by which time there were not many taker still on the hill. Tomorrow looks drier but if the chopped up crud freezes we will have conditions that will really sort out the sheep from the goats. I can't decide exactly what to hope for but what the hell - it's sliding around on frozen water.

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