Friday, March 7, 2014

Day 9 no pleasing some people

I arrived at the hill today about half an hour after first turn for reasons too complicated to go into here. When I turned up I was met with a large number of people in the locker room telling me that the skiing was so awful that they were heading home after one run so I had very low expectations as to what might be up there. In the event I had a very good days skiing on what has to be admitted was limited terrain and I am at a total loss as to what anyone could find wrong with today as a days skiing - I guess some people just have much higher standards than me.
I also asked myself the question last night as to the value of this blog when there are so many official sources of information regarding the ski hill and decided to compare my summary of yesterday (pretty crappy) with the official version. On the official version I discovered that we had 94 cms of snow in the last week, 22 cms in the last 24 hours and a base of 320 cms. Any inexperienced skier reading this would be excused for thinking that yesterdays skiing was way better than it actually was - the only hint that all might not be a bed of roses was the description of the upper mountain conditions as "wet snow" when elephant snot would have been more accurate. On mature reflection I think the blog still has a role to play in keeping snow users on the hill informed as to the true conditions.
It had rained in the valley overnight but by morning it was overcast with the odd flash of sun and no rain. In the middle of the day we got some slight precip which was wet at the base and white on top but not really enough to bother with. On the way to the hill it was +3 and warmed during the day so that on the way back it was nearer +5. Up the mountain it was a little above zero all day making the snow heavy and getting heavier but with a wind which held off the worst of the warming effects.
I went to the Old Side expecting the worst and was pleasantly surprised. The top of Arrow was open and the rest of Lizard Bowl was open from below Tower 6. This gave access to untracked skiing in Bow and Cascade made all the better because of a broken down cat on the Tower 6 trail which meant that access across Lizard was a bit restricted. People will know that I don't usually find the skiing in Lizard challenging enough but today was different. The untracked snow was wet and a little crusty so it was quite challenging but fun and certainly good to be first in, as second would have meant skiing some horrible chopped up crud. I managed a couple of hours of fresh tracks taking lines from Dancer to Sunny Side and regular exits through China Wall. Not classic powder but great first tracks on heavy cream if you were prepared to work for it.
The New Side was calling so I went and being that bit higher the fresh snow was heavy but certainly qualified as powder. I got lucky and they dropped the fence on Lift Line under Timber just as I got there so I took first tracks. When I went up White Pass I got to the Zig Zag just as they dropped the fence there and so had great first tracks back under the lift line. The patrol had put in a sign line just this side of Surprise Trees so the rest of the morning was skiing Knot Chutes in semi tracked powder and the back to White Pass base via the chutes just before Surprise. This was excellent if limited terrain skiing.
The afternoon was straight back the White Pass for a repeat performance of the morning. I don't think I have ever skied the Knot chutes so often and we tried every line from the Cheese Grater to beyond Simon's Crack and back again, jumping logs and rocks to try and find new lines. There are only so many ways you can ski the Knot  Chutes and the stuff below so by about 3 we had tracked everything but it was still soft snow and fairly deep so not all that bad. We skied to last bell at 4 when we went to the Griz to drink beer and celebrate a pretty good days skiing and wonder at those who had decided to write off the day in the early morning.
Got a feeling tomorrow could be good with a Polar Peak and Currie bowl opening but with conditions for Sunday looking decidedly mixed.

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