Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Day 13 no new snow, no Polar Peak and not much else

First off I have a message for Jay a regular blog reader and who I heard on the hill today slipped on the ice while walking his dogs last night and broke his hip. Best wishes to you from everyone on the hill and get back to skiing soon. Keep reading the blog and if there is anything you need doing just let us know - back to skiing.

We had no new snow overnight and the base remains somewhere in the 80 cm plus region. Starting temps were -5 in the base and -8 on top rising a couple of degrees as the day went by but mid afternoon on the New Side we seemed to get a very sudden drop in temp but it could have been my imagination. The result was that things were cold enough to make snow overnight so the ski outs at the very bottom of the hill improved again with artificial snow.

Unlike yesterday it was overcast from the outset with the upper mountain totally socked in a very poor viz from about half way up White Pass. We didn't get the promised flurries but from time to time we did get a freezing drizzle that stuck to the goggles and made life very interesting not to mention visually challenging.

We went to the New Side hoping for Polar Peak but were out of luck. With the poor viz it was always unlikely we would get an opening but we could live in hope. We spent the morning looping back through White Pass core (Gun Bowl poor viz and death cookies and the rest mostly rock hard ice) by a variety of routes. On alternate laps we took Currie bowl via a choice of Currie Glades (pretty ribby but still some ok lines) the fans under Polar Peak (some ok soft snow on a hard base) and Currie Powder which was always quite nice ungroomed freeriding terrain. Exits to White Pass were always via Trespass trail which continued to run fast in the icy conditions making the ski back less work than normal.

After trailing down to lunch through Summer Road which was icy and quick but with adequate coverage we decided to try the Old Side. Just as it has been for a week or more very little was open (Bear, North Ridge, near side Lizard and near side Cedar with supporting runs) so I only took a quick trip round to test things. The groomers were ok with Bear a bit slick and the ungroomed all but unskiable. The main point of interest was dozens of instructors going through their induction process for the season who outnumbered ordinary punters about 2:1 - lets hope they get something decent to instruct on.

I went back to the New Side and continued to loop just like the morning. The exception was that during the morning a buddy had asked me what I thought Surprise Trees would be like and I said very bad so we didn't go. In the afternoon as I was on my own and working on the basis the "if you don't go you don't know" I decided to test my theory and found I was wrong, things were much much worse. Surprise was a top to bottom run of ice, refrozen crud, death cookies, alders, rocks and other assorted fun things. I had to work really hard just to get down and my advice to others is to avoid this area like the plague until we get some new snow.

We finished with a fan, Currie Powder, Currie Glades and Trespass trail rip which was hard and getting harder in the falling temps. In the bar tonight they were getting ready for the staff Christmas Party so we left them to it after a couple of beers. I think there might be a few sore heads on the hill tomorrow.

Our main worry is that just as I predicted the precip event coming in this weekend is now being called at warmer temps than before and the possibility of rain (at least in the valley) is being talked about. We are having an early night without even the luxury of a hot tub as both of our bodies are starting to feel a bit beating up after two weeks of very tough skiing. White Christmas is on the TV as I type this and a couple of Jameson's Irish Whiskies are looking pretty tempting before turning in.

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