Sunday, April 6, 2014

Day 39 warm and getting warmer

On the way to the hill today it was +3 suggesting that we had no freeze last night at lower elevations and indeed no freeze quite a way up the hill. Conditions tended to suggest this was right. There had been a little new snow on the upper hill in the form of graupel (about 4 cms) so things were soft and covered but getting softer in the atmospheric warming all the time.
By the end of the day mid mountain temps had risen to about +8 and it was much hotter both at the base and in the direct sunlight. The hill became mushy all over, even on the north facing slopes as the temps rose. The sunlight itself was something of a surprise as we had been forecast rain all afternoon and although it was overcast this morning it cleared in the afternoon to bluebird conditions and at the end of the day we were sitting on the locals deck drinking beers in our T shirts - so much for weather forecasts.
We were delayed as Lynda was picking up her new skis and checking them out so it was getting on for 10 before we really got going We went to the New Side although I have had reports that Redtree and Cedar Ridge on the Old Side were pretty good all day. We dropped Knot Chutes with the intention to ski Surprise Trees. As the chutes were scratchy we hopped over into Anaconda Glades and had a great run through the chutes in deep snow. Bootleg Glades were a bit heavy but skied surprisingly well. This was all so good we did it again with the same results. Next time I hit Gotta Go which was untracked and I had to hold up in choke to let he express train that was my slough to go through before finishing it off.
We decided to hit out down the Reverse Traverse and dropped Corner Pocket where the tires are still covered. The skiing below was great soft untracked powder which at that time of the day was pretty light. Last run before lunch we found Polar Peak was open but only on the cat track and had about half a dozen nice powder turns off the track low down but it was a long way to go for such a small and mellow drop. The run to base was through High Saddle which was soft with easy edge to edge jumping and some great untracked heavy powder below - the exit through lower Easter was decidedly heavy. Lunch.
After lunch I went back up the New Side and had another drop through High Saddle which was starting to get a bit rubbery but the stuff underneath was still good. Polar Peak remained open and we got the word that the chutes had been declared safe having been closed all morning due to ugly conditions. Kevin and me went in an were some of the first to ski them. They were a strange mix of hard ice, soft windsift, sun affected new snow and crud - in other words pretty well every condition you could think of in one run. We took Papa Bear to the load and a lot of people (I guess encouraged by seeing a couple of old guys skiing it) were on the chair and ready to go. We took Mama Bear which had some great soft smooth snow in the lower section.
We ran to base through Low Saddle which I skied really badly. The new DPS Wailers have a habit of dumping me in the back seat and for some reason on this run I was unable to counter it. Next loop was a run through Papa Bear off Polar which by this time was getting almost soft but still with a few surprises. We dropped Low Saddle on the basis that I had some ghosts the exorcise after the previous pass. This time I skied it ok but I still feel I have some technique issues to sort out with the new Wailers in the steep tight chutes.
Last run was supposed to be Skydive but it didn't work out. We loaded Timber chair in plenty of time but then had a ride with 8 break downs which took 25 minutes instead of the planned 11. This would not be a problem except that the White Pass chair load wouldn't let us ride because we were 3 minute late even though all the problems had been caused by Timber chair breaking down - apparently this " wasn't their problem". So a lot of customers were very pissed off because they couldn't complete their circuits when anyone with a brain would have kept White Pass open a few minutes late and got a lot of customer good will by doing so but then what do I know - I am only a fare paying customer.
We ran to base in via Black Cloud in spring temps which by now were + 8 on the hill and +11 on my deck and with the whole of the hill turning to slush. Beers on the deck in sun - spring skiing really is here.

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