Friday, April 4, 2014

Day 37 Monster Enemy Lines

Yes, today we had the first day of the Monster Enemy Lines competition with the final tomorrow. This is a simple race where the heats go from the Lizard High Traverse to the base more or less as a straight line skier cross event with 5 racers in each heat and the first two qualifying for tomorrows main event. After 5 heats all the losers got together for a mass start event with the first two of that going into tomorrow's final. As there were helicopters and more camera crews than you could shake a stick at I guess the images of the event are available all over the internet for anyone wanting to see what we got up to today. Tomorrow, weather permitting, the race goes from the top of the Head Wall in Lizard all the way to the base as a single event with a mass start and no course - we have to hope that weather will permit.
As a result of the big event and our wanting to see it, not a lot of skiing got done today. We arrived at the hill and found temps of +3 at the base and probably temps in the valley didn't get below zero all night. It was raining in the valley but this was pretty light and stopped almost as soon as we went up the hill. During the day we had the odd shower of ice pellets up the hill which I suspect may have fallen as rain in the valley. The temps warmed higher up the hill all day but with no direct sunlight we never had the super soft mush of spring skiing, but rather a general softening on the lower part of hill which got higher as the day wore on. On the way back from the hill it was +3 again and the ice pellets that were falling as we left the Griz quickly turned to rain as we dropped into the valley.
We looped the Old Side triangle three times while waiting for the racing and found that the snow on the north facing slopes of Cedar Ridge was ok but just a little scratchy low down. Kangaroo improved each loop going from really ugly hard bumps the first time to quite soft bumps taking an edge the last time. Boomerang was ok on the skiers right but very ugly and icy on the left, I guess that was the sun affected area.
It was time for the racing and we watched all the heats from Bears Den, or the Bear Chair or the Tower 6 shoulder and it was all good stuff just to see how fast these guys could go. With some time to kill before the final qualifier with all the losers we hit Bear Chutes which were ok in the top but very heavy low down, We the tried a Boomerang all the way down which was ok in the upper sections but which became breakable crust in the lower section and was very challenging. Just time to get back to Bears Den to see the final mass heat and then head for a very late lunch.
In a very curtailed afternoon we hit Big Bang which seemed to have a lot of new soft snow so that it was almost a groomer. We then hiked Lone Fir which was very nice through the chute and soft snow underneath becoming a bit chunky in the bottom of Easter. We needed a quick run back through White Pass which was ok with the south facing slopes eventually starting to softened. Last run of course was Skydive which was soft in the top getting rather breakable crust in the mid section and then soft on hard bumps low down - not the easiest finish we have ever had.
Some good beers in the Griz and then even more in the Pub where we ate with friends, hence this late report. Tomorrow forecasts mixed conditions for the final of the Monster event and with weekend crowds it could all ne a bit strange.

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