Saturday, January 3, 2015

Day 30 a cause to celebrate

The reason to celebrate today is that when I was working (over 10 years ago now) 29 was the most number of days I ever managed to ski in a year by way of vacation. Today I have passed that number with about 6 good powder days (more than I ever got in a year when working) under my belt to boot. By my estimate there is well over 100 days of skiing yet to come - I love being retired.

Overnight the reports said that we had 4 cms of fresh which seemed about right but there was some increased build up in the wind affected areas. Forecasts were calling for some form of Armageddon with mercury temps of -15, a wind chill of -32 which could only mean a massive wind storm and a winter storm warning for the whole of the Elk Valley, in the event it was cold but nowhere near the conflagration forecast for the day.

On the way to the hill it was -14 as it was on the way back and up the top of Bear during the day I noticed a temp of -17. It was light snow/flurries all day which at that temp didn't give any great accumulation but the wind remained low so that the forecast wind chills never really came about. The exception to this was Polar Peak where the conditions were predictably brutal with no viz, howling wind, crusty icy snow and wind chill that did probably get to around -30.

We went to the Old Side and found that yesterday's wind had packed the snow in to a nice firm flatish base and the new 4 cms gave a pretty nice skiing surface everywhere went. We toured around New Lift Line and then for the first time this season dropped into the Gulch which was technically closed but we entered from the side and it was tight and technical with a very interesting exit where the stream wasn't covered. I did the obligatory lower Kangaroo which was the best deep soft snow on the hill but very very twiggy and not for the faint hearted.

We spent the rest of the morning in Cedar Ridge, King Fir, Linda's, Boom Ridge and Boomerang guts. In fact we were all over and it was all good light soft snow on a firm base with remarkably little traffic considering it was a Saturday.

This took us through to a late lunch after which it was a New Side afternoon.
Decline - just as good as ever getting even better in the lower section as the snow filled in.
Polar Peak - see earlier remarks, brutal, poor viz, icy and one good powder turn just above the Reverse Traverse.
Lone Fir - not bad soft snow in the chute but surprisingly hard pack in the fan with just a thin covering of fluff.
Spinal Tap - good, tough creek bed skiing in some nice accumulating soft snow but with early season hazards as they say.
Cougar Glades - really nice soft snow starting to accumulate.
Stag Leap - more good soft snow but the new fall in the lower section was just enough to cover the alder roots but were not enough to give you protection, result - a quick trip up, roll over and ski on.
Siberia Ridge - as before, wind affected in the top, sketchy in the choke and great soft free riding below.

It's worth mentioning the Reverse Traverse out to Skydive which has had some work done on it so it is way better than a few days ago but still no stroll in the park. So we got to 4 for the Skydive rip and with 4 of us there, it was great skiing in the top two sections but a bit twiggy in the last. Snow was still accumulating and on the upper sections of the run which were starting to give the effect of powder (sort of) skiing.

It's still snowing and we are still being threatened with all sorts of extreme weather. Temps are now -16 so who knows what tomorrow will hold.

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