Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 46 Closing Day

As I forecast on Saturday night the closing day report has been delayed due circumstances beyond my capacity to drink beer. We really did tie one on yesterday to end the season in style.
Closing day dawned quite nippy at about -5 but was pure bluebird all day. This meant that we would be on icy groomers until things softened and then we would work the south facing slopes, staying well away from the north facing and the shadows which were going to stay hard and ugly all day. In the event that is exactly how it worked out so that is exactly what we did.
During the day temps rose so that in the direct sunlight they were in double figures but in the shade the up the mountain temps never got above +5. South facing slopes became soft and then mush and the whole lower mountain was pretty mushy. Luckily we still had a snow base of over 330 cms which has to be a near record for closing day so coverage was good and bare patches were only just starting to appear in the Meadow round the lift towers. One exception to this was the Bear Connector which did have some exposed rocks and as luck would have it I took a core shot in the new DPS Wailers just at the end of the day - annoying but repairable and as a buddy of mine says about skis "they are tools bot jewels".
Our attempt to go to the New Side was frustrated by a lift break down on Timber so we went to the Old Side. Even the groomers were pretty hard so we ran around Bear, Arrow, Dancer and into Cedar bowl just to cruise round and enjoy the spectacular sunny day. As things showed some signs of softening we went to the New Side where Puff was very hard and justified the decision not to try Lift Line and Big Bang which are much the same aspect. We arrived at the top of White Pass to find Polar Peak chair running but with a sign saying that only the Polar Coaster was open. When we got to the top of Polar Peak we found that the chutes has just that minute opened so in we went.
The first half dozen turns in the chutes made me think I had made a big mistake as they were icy, hard and badly rutted. As I moved to skiers left of Papa Bear I suddenly found things softening and had a great run back to the chair. After that things improved very fast with the quick softening and I ran Papa Bear again, Grand Papa (first tracks) and then Papa and too the base via Currie Powder and Gilmar Trail - everything was just nicely soft.
Next time up I tried Lift Line and Big Bang and wished I hadn't, they were hard, icy and uneven and probably stayed that way all day. We went back up Polar and ran Barely Legal (smooth and no problem with the rock band) Grand Papa and then Papa Bear and back to base and lunch as before. After lunch we took some time to watch the Slope Soaker which this year was held just by the deck of Corner Pocket. In my view the jump at the start had been built up to make sure that everyone got a lot of air and there was not much chance of making it across the water when you landed - all great fun with everyone in fancy dress and getting wet.
In the afternoon we were back up Polar for some more loops but by this time is was really mushy and in some places the snow was starting to run in streams. We  skied all the chutes several times and even took a run down the Coaster when they temporarily closed to chutes to get the toboggan to a skier who had injured herself by rag dolling down Papa Bear - a timely reminder that just because we treat these double black diamond chutes as a playground doesn't mean that they can't bite back sometimes.
We ran to base through a rather scratchy Diamond Back (particularly in the final pitch) before going back up for a couple more Polar loops including Mama Bear via my chute which by this time was super soft. We just had time to get across the Bear Connector (ouch) and up Bear in order to side step traverse across Easter and up into Skydive for the final run of the season. The sign line prevented us from taking the Reverse Traverse and although we might have got away with it on closing day I want to keep my boast that I have never ever knowingly skied a hard closure in my life. Skydive was a bit ribby and technical at first but from about the mid pitch down the skiers left side which had been in the sun softened and it was pretty mellow skiing all the way down for a great finish.
Closing days don't come much better with great skiing on Polar Peak and then hot sunshine to sit in on the deck and drink far too much beer with loads of buddies. Won't be long before we are doing it all over again. Watch this space for the season summary in the next few days, oh and somewhere overnight I passed the 100,000 hit mark on this blog since I started so thanks for the interest.

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