Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Day 19 no new snow yet but still some good skiing

Today got off to a bit of a slow start due to far too much beer having been consumed last night. It was -5 on the way to the hill with no new snow so if we were going to get some fresh tracks it was only going to come from new openings. Readers with a retentive memory will recall that yesterday I had been hoping for and opening of the Saddles but with no luck and these seemed like the best bets for some fresh tracks so we headed to the New Side.

What with one thing and another it was 9:30 before I got skiing in over cast conditions which stayed so all day and meant some pretty poor light. Perhaps it was the poor viz on top that kept Polar Peak closed all today. Snow was forecast so no one was too worried if it looked like we were about to get weathered in.

Big Bang had opened only late yesterday so I took Lazy Locals traverse across to check things out. I have to say the traverse has been cut really well this year and is very mellow by comparison with some seasons. I actually tried the near side of Mitchy Chutes but got cliffed out and had to cut back in to Big Bang where the snow was nice and soft but littered with early season hazards. First trip up White Pass took over 20 minutes due to a lift break down so my slow start got even slower.

I traversed out and found the Saddles still closed so I dropped Tom's run which was chunky chopped up snow and a bit technical in the bottom section through the trees. Next loop round I found Corner Pocket open and had a very nice run through the chute and even better skiing in the deep soft untracked snow below which was good but you had to pick a line between runs of avi debris. Next loop was High Saddle which was narrower than usual due to the lack of a snow base so it took about 10 edge to edge jumps all the way down the chute to get through. Again the skiing below was good between the avi trails.

Last run before lunch I actually hiked up to Lone Fir and found it open for the first time this season. The name needs to be changed as there were about 20 small firs in the chute which was deep soft snow and a big jump down into the trough by the fir itself followed by some tight skiing. The fan underneath was just awesome deep soft snow and even Easter bowl lower down was ok tracked powder.

At lunch I heard that Snake Ridge had opened for the first time this season and was tempted to try it but didn't. I am not a big fan of Snake for three reasons - firstly, getting there is very hard work now that the Face Lift has been taken from us - secondly, it is quite low so in warm or refrozen conditions much of the run can be pretty sketchy - thirdly, once you have skied it there is no easy way back and the only way to get to the top again is via three lifts, Haul Back, Boom and Bear, a loop takes a very long time. In any event a patroller buddy told me that ski on Snake was at best mediocre although Redtree was very good indeed.

I went back to the New Side and had a White Pass loop through Tight Knot (still lots of good snow) and Surprise Trees (holding up well). Next it was a trip out the High Saddle which was already showing signs of wear ( a trough scrapped by boards down the centre) but the skiing underneath was just as good as before.

When I got to Timber next time I took Lazy Locals to Mitchy's but got side tracked by Siberia Ridge which only opened yesterday afternoon. The warning sign said "caution" and they weren't kidding. It was great deep lightly tracked snow but there was masses of stumps and deadfall to avoid but great skiing in between. Next time I finally got to Mitchy's and found the snow the best and least tracked on the hill but things got a bit technical in the chokes.

I just had time to loop Knot Chutes (still good) and Anaconda (chunky but good) before having a final run through Mitchy's (hit a log and stacked it) and then it was time for Skydive. The upper sections of Skydive were just as good as yesterday and it seemed to me that the lower section was just a bit less ugly but I couldn't quite put my figure on the reason why.

Did my Christmas shopping in town (yes I realise it was a day early) and then went for a meal in Lizard Creek where we found they make awesome burgers. On the drive back it was puking snow at about -1 and as I type this I can see it still coming down hard on the back deck. They are calling for 20 cms tonight and I wouldn't bet against it. Time for bed.

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