Friday, December 26, 2014

Day 22 normal service is now resumed

After a few nights when I have had to do my blog at some ungodly hour of the night or while completely pissed due to Christmas celebrations we are now back to the usual mid evening report with me having only had a couple (well ok three) beers after skiing. On this subject I was apologising to a buddy in the locker room today for the possible variable quality of my blogs over the past few days due to alcohol and he said he hadn't noticed. I can't decide if this is a complement (I can make a good report even when three sheets to the wind) or and insult in that everything I write sounds like I have been hitting the source beforehand.

Today was predictably a slow start and we didn't get to the hill until 9:30 but as the crowds have not yet shown up that was no problem. My understanding is that today is a travelling day for the visitors and that we will only see the really big numbers from tomorrow to the New Year. Another buddy confirmed that there isn't a single hotel room available in Fernie over the New Year so from now on we had better get to the hill early.

It was -6 when we arrived with no new snow. During the day temps fell if anything and on the way home tonight it was -12. Up top it was ok on the Old Side but about -10 on the New Side and a brutal -20 with windchill (my best guess) going up Polar Peak. Viz came and went but in the afternoon on the New Side it socked right in so skiing was actually quite testing and no clearing took place until about half way down the mountain.

We went to the Old Side to push out into Snake Ridge. Now I know that a couple of days ago I said the juice wasn't really worth the squeeze when it came to pushing out there but with no new openings available on the New Side it had to be worth testing. We knew we would be doing some serious bushwhacking where we were going so there wouldn't be that much skiing but hey, it's Boxing Day, what else are you going to do.

We traversed out to the boundary fence and dropped into the Fish bowl (out of bounds) but only took the near Poppa Chutes because if the avi risk. It was good deep untracked powder but with lots of alders and we bailed into Redtree which was ok and only partially tracked. When we arrived at the top of Haul Back we saw that Kangaroo was open for the first time this year, The top section was good to begin and finish but the mid section was just a nightmare, looking more like a Christmas tree sale lot than a ski run. The bottom part was good deep snow but still some serious undergrowth to contend with. We heard later in the day that Kangaroo had been shut and that doesn't surprise me.

We looped Boom Ridge which was ok soft bumps with lots of twigs and then Boom itself which was ok harder bumps with twigs but some pretty bad light at the moment we tried it. Next time out to Snake we hit the near side of Steep and Deep via Gorby bowl which was very deep and very aldery so you had to pick your way down. The exit chute in skiers right was sketchy ice and more alders. not for the first time this year it occurred to me that the summer months might have been better spent removing alders from existing runs rather than cutting new glades, but then what do I know. We looped back only taking lower Kangaroo this time.

We went to the New Side and had a shock. The conditions seemed about 5 degrees colder with socked in conditions and a brutal trip up to Polar Peak, The coaster was still the only way down and I groped across until I got under the chair, not because I thought the snow would be good but just to get some visual reference points in the fog. Up until this stage the snow had been much chunkier and harder everywhere which I put down to the cooling conditions. Things changed as we ran down Decline as last run before lunch which was soft and deep and just very nice skiing.

After lunch I went back to the New Side and back up Polar. It was still brutally cold, so much so that my buddy Lee who I was skiing with got frost bite on his nose. Again we groped down the Coaster and chutes and decided that Polar was a busted flush ( and a very cold one at that) today. We hit Cougar Glades and had great untracked lines by getting tight in the trees before cutting left on to Stag Leap. I am always surprised by how high you come out in Stag Leap when you do this and we had most of the run still with some deep soft snow to trash.

Next time round I did Decline again which was just as good as before lunch and definitely the run of the day. Running out of time I took a White Pass loop through Surprise Tress which were still good with some untracked lines if you hugged the trees on the right. It was 4 o'clock and time for Skydive which was good. Soft untracked snow on the skiers right in the top section, great free riding in the flats and even the final pitch was starting to get ok if very twiggy. The drop off by the bridge on the traverse on the way there is getting a bit funky but that suits me as it keeps the number down.

Beers, hot tub and an early night with some fresh snow forecast in the next 24 hours - works for me.

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