Saturday, December 13, 2014

Day 9 back to the New Side

First I must start this evening's blog with an apology. I have been given to understand that my sense of humour (particularly in respect of lift closures) may have caused some offence in certain quarters. If I have caused any offence I am truly sorry as my purpose in life ( just like Lord Reith when he ran the BBC) is to inform and entertain, not to offend. That having been said, as far as I am aware there is no law requiring anyone to read my blog and if you don't like my sense of humour perhaps it is best not to read it - simples. Now, returning to the main theme of tonight's symposium.........

We started to feel the effect of the cooling trend this morning so that the temp on the deck was only +1 which is way warmer than you would expect at this time of year but cooler than of late. It rained all through the night and in certain conditions, rain falling into a +1 temp would come down as snow. Unfortunately as the precip was coming down from a warm air mass I think that even if temps had been zero or below we would still have got the rain.

On the way to the hill it was still +1 and the forecast for the upper mountain was around -2 which I think worked out about right. In normal circumstances you would be able to look up the hill and see the rain line but the cloud base was so low (about the top of Elk) that you just couldn't see the upper mountain and these overcast and foggy conditions came and went all day giving some very variable viz.

As I predicted the Timber Chair was open so we had access to the New Side for the first time in four days. The snow line started about half way up Timber so that by Timber top we had wet snow which came and went all day. My assessment of the conditions in White Pass was that the rain of the past few days had fallen all the way to the top beating the surface flat and then freezing but not that hard into quite a firm base. On top of that about 5 cms of fresh wet snow had fallen giving some ok conditions but some quite ribby conditions up high.

The rain on the lower mountain had taken it's toll so that there was no way out of Currie Bowl as all trails were without snow. The only ways off the New Side were Falling Star, one of the central cat tracks or down loading on Timber Chair. We spent the morning looping White Pass and taking runs out to Surprise Trees and Anaconda Glades where the skiing was surprisingly good. The downside was that the only way out of Anaconda was Trespass Trail back to White Pass which as I have often said is the only trail on the hill which is up hill in both directions.

The last run before lunch we hit out to Corner Pocket which was open even if the Concussion side of the bowl wasn't and had some great skiing in the chute and the soft untracked heavy powder underneath. The ski out along Dancer was very twiggy and with big bare patches.

In the afternoon it was back to the New Side for a few more loops through Surprise (very heavy down low) and Anaconda which was still a long slog back. I tried the traverse out to Decline which was good at first and then very heavy just before the Megasaurus  ski out. Corner Pocket was still good and we put a couple of runs down there but always hit left to get the best snow below the chute - the Dancer ski out still sucked.

Final run of the day and we took the Reverse Traverse all the way out to the top of Skydive and the traverse was in surprisingly good condition. At the top of Skydive we decided to drop over into the new gladed area above Window Chutes which were ok heavy twiggy skiing but will be great when the snow comes. We exited via the right of Easter bowl which was all a bit technical but again showed good prospects for when the snow comes.

All in all not a bad day made just about acceptable because of the upper mountain terrain that was available to us in White Pass. The lower mountain continues to deteriorate and it is now more a question of what is open, rather than what is closed when looking for ways off the hill. Nothing much promised in the forecast.

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