Monday, December 8, 2014

Day 4 still pretty good but getting worried

Yes, we had another ok day but for a variety of reasons, some weather related, some more environmental I am getting worried that the next few days are not going to be exactly what you might describe as vintage.

Overnight they recorded another 3 cms of fresh snow raising the base to 101 cms - bear in mind that this is just at the mid mountain weather plot. On the way to the hill temps were about -1 and up the mountain temps a few degrees colder. During the day base temps got up to +1 but my take was for most of the hill it stayed at, or just below zero. Conditions were overcast with a very low cloud base (only about a quarter of the way up the hill) and even though this raised to almost White Pass top by the afternoon, just like yesterday, it dropped rapidly as temps cooled in the late afternoon.

We arrived to find that due to a misfire on the snow control explosive charge White Pass would not be opening until 10:15. This accords with the hill policy of leaving a charge for 1 hour to make sure that it really has failed to explode. We went to the Old Side which as I expected had no  exciting prospects away from the groomers and with much of it still closed (Boomerang, Cedar Ridge, Snake Ridge etc.) we just poked around the groomers and the side line soft snow until we could go to the New Side.

On the New Side things were much like yesterday with everything socked in and White Pass core providing some good soft if rather tracked skiing. Our runs all day down from Timber top to White Pass base were always through Puff and as the day wore on we pushed further towards Lift Line and got as much soft deep untracked skiing as could be got without obviously crashing the closed signs.

After a run through Surprise (ok but chunky) and Anaconda ( still soft in places) we went out to the Saddles to see if they were open and to our surprise they were. The rest of the morning was spent looping to base through Corner Pocket which was excellent, High Saddle which was a bit scraped out and Corner Pocket again before lunch. The skiing below the Saddles was a mix of avi debris and deep untracked snow and whether or not you could find the best stuff depended on the light as you dropped the chute. Last time before lunch in some super flat light I put my tips in the back of an invisible 3 ft culvert and had a bad case of premature ejection in both skis with a summersault to boot. Well it was my first fall of the season so I thought I should make it a good one.

After lunch I went back for more of the same (minus the double ejection) and skied Surprise Trees (still a bit crusty for the last few turns), Anaconda Glades second chute (chunky but good) and Corner Pocket in the best light of the day which made the stuff underneath visible so we could just ski awesome powder. After a few more runs back through White Pass which were all acceptable soft snow we finished on a Corner Pocket rip and again were not disappointed by the soft snow below. No one was skiing the Saddles today and this is such a change from high season when they are usually trashed by half way through the morning.

Of course we had a few beers in the Griz with friends.

The outlook is not good from a weather point of view as we have a Pineapple Express (a warm rain event) hitting the coast and moving inland. Our best hope over the next few days is that we get a warm up but with no significant precip, our worst fear is that we get warm rain top to bottom for a couple of days. All this is made worse because we have been told that the Timber Chair will be down for at least two days while they do vital work to it to keep it going which presumably they couldn't do in the 6 months of the summer when it wasn't in use. This means that the whole of the New Side will be shut down and the highest elevation skiing which sometimes gives us some good powder in the rain events will be unaccessible. If we do get rain we will have a couple of days splashing around on the Old Side in truly horrible conditions so lets keep our fingers crossed.

Watch this space for reports on just how bad (or not) it gets. For what it is worth we had zero degrees and wet snow as we drove on the way back from the hill tonight

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