Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Day 34 Spring skiing and winter skiing in the same day

Tonight's report may be a bit random on account of the beers we have had with some buddies and a slight memory failure on exactly what we have skied today.
Overnight they were giving 2 cms in the last 24 hours but I guess these all came during the day yesterday as there was nothing really overnight, not even dust on crust. It was -6 on the way to the hill with a forecast for rising temps during the day. The forecast was right and the early valley mist cleared giving us sun which was very hot in the directly affected areas. By the end of the day temps were very warm even up the hill so that it was +5 at the Polar load by the early afternoon.
The result of this was that the north facing slopes stayed in pretty good winter snow conditions. The south facing slopes became soft spring skiing very quickly although they started to set up towards the end of the day as the sun went off them.
We went to the Old Side and headed out to Snake Ridge as we had been told this was pretty good. We never quite made it as the runs just on the near side of Snake were in great shape with plenty of soft snow and even untracked lines which made for great winter skiing. We did three loops and each time cut out to Cedar centre avoiding the lower crunch which no doubt became pretty mellow later in the day. Each return to Bear was through Boomerang which skied surprisingly well in soft snow all the way down to the Goat Trail. I only dropped Kangaroo once as it was the ugliest and hardest that I have ever skied it even by Kangaroo standards. I dare say that things softened up later in the day to give some good skiing but I was long gone by then. We went to the New Side.
The drop from Timber top to White Pass load was always through Big Bang in the nearside deep snow as it had been all yesterday. I thought I was having great rips down with GS turns and a straight line for the bottom section but I dare say that the Fernie locker room style police would tell you that I was "struggling" - it would be funny if it wasn't for the fact that they actually believe it.
We went up Polar peak and were amazed that Grand Papa Bear was turned to mush so early in the day. We had a couple of loops through various chutes all of which were softer than you would have expected before running to base for an early lunch through Corner Pocket. Once through the chute all spring skiing disappeared and it was full on winter snow (with some untracked lines) through the bowl below and into lower Easter.
After lunch we went back up Polar Peak and I considered doing the Currie Head Wall as it was open. I didn't as it only gives one or two exciting turns (at least in the chutes that my modest competence allows) and then is pretty easy skiing and you have to do a long hike to get there. I substituted with a large number of laps through -
Clown Chutes - at least as steep in the top as the Wimp Chutes to give you the adrenalin rush.
Barely Legal - just as steep through the rock bands as the mid sections of the headwall.
My Chute - doesn't have a name but it is the chute just as you go from Papa to Mama Bear and is as steep as anything on the headwall that I would ski.
After all these loops we ran to base through Lower Saddle which skied ok and had a great winter powder rip in the first face to the right of the chute. Looking up the snow above looked even better but more of this later. We went back to Polar for a couple of loops through Clown Chutes and Papa Bear and found that the mush was starting to set up specially where the shadow from the setting sun had come into play.
The run to base was through Sean's chute - where I hear you say? It is a part of the hill I had never skied and a new experience is always something to treasure. When you side step up towards Lone Fir you arrive at a sort of plateau and there is a chute which is not often opened but when it is (like today) it has the warning sign of "extreme hazard, cliff" that's Sean's chute. It had looked ok as we had skied under it (see previous remarks) and I figured this was a golden chance to hit it. There were a couple of boarders at the top getting ready to go and they just looked like the types that if they went in there wouldn't be much snow left afterwards so I jumped in before them and had a pretty ok run although the deep snow beneath  the chute was probably the best part - after the boarders I guess nothing much in the chute would have been any good but that's life.
After a quick White Pass loop to kill time we headed out the Skydive for the final run. Skydive skied very nice soft bumps in the top and deep soft snow in the middle sections. The final pitch was a bit icy but if anything rather better than yesterday but none of us could work out why. Beers in the Griz which just seemed to slip down rather too easy for our own good tonight.
Warning - tomorrow is Hot Dog day when we celebrate the truly dreadful 80's movie Hot Dog which is a mixture of skiing and soft porn. This will involve getting dressed up in 80's gear, doing stupid stunts off jumps in Wallaby and getting unbelievably drunk. There may be no report tomorrow and if there is it could be late and totally incomprehensible.

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