Monday, January 5, 2015

Day 32 Awesome, awesome

Yes, today gets two awesomes on the Bill Handley scale of awesomness. The first awesome is for 14 cms of fresh overnight and maybe a bit more during the day, of reasonably heavy hero powder. The second awesome is for the fact that all the crowds have gone and we have this great snow all to ourselves. I know I have a lot of followers in Calgary and the surrounding areas who live their skiing lives vicariously through this blog but sorry guys, today was an awesome day and you missed it, no way I can sugar that pill - better luck next week.

There might have been a third awesome if it had continued to snow all day as forecast but it didn't and all we got was overcast conditions with socked in conditions on top and the odd flurry from time to time. Temps when we arrived were -12 and as we drove away tonight it was -10. During the day I saw temps on the hill of around -6 so a big warm up over recent conditions. Things were rather odd in that there seemed to be a slight inversion of temp and a particularly warm band on Timber Chair around the White Pass load each time we went up which fogged everyone's goggles. The snow itself felt more like the stuff you get at around zero with a high moisture content and high density and yet it must have come down at -10 or less. I can't really understand this but for better or worse these were the conditions.

We went to the New Side. Everyone knows I find it just too distressing to go to the Old Side on a powder day and after getting the first chair up find that much of the powder has been trashed by people who were prepared to shell out a few bucks to be allowed on the hill early - don't get me started.

I had a New Side day and skied from first chair to last bell with no breaks at all so in the end had 7 hours of great skiing. Only the White Pass core was open at first and we had several great runs down through Gun bowl, High line, the hump under the lift, Little Trees etc. Then they opened the zig zag and the I bowl.

For many more runs it was Knot Chutes and then Surprise trees waiting for Currie to open. Got first track in Tight Knot which was a good case of surfing your slough. For the rest of the morning I worked my way across Slim, Thin and Jim which were all good and deep although the drop into the third Knot chute was very rocky and sketchy.

I did swing out by Siberia Ridge which was better than ever and even though just as sketchy in the choke the lower section was soft deep, lightly tracked free riding. Currie bowl opened and we were on for the remainder of the day although the traverse was only opened very low down out to the big 3 - this was not all together a bad thing as it kept the crowds down - not everyone fancies a hard side step traverse.

Decline - we had intended to ski Skydive but saw Decline was untracked and hit it. I had the left and Lynda had the right and it was awesome powder skiing although a few more tracks appeared lower down.
Cougar Glades/Stag Leap - as always the tracks in Cougar soon disappeared and we had un tracked lines before cutting into Stag which was surprisingly tracked up but ok.
Skydive - a good old rip from top to bottom with the first two sections just awesome in lightly tracked snow and the bottom skiing better with better coverage,
Not so Secret Chutes/Spinal Tap - a great rip in untracked lines off the top of Skydive and then some super deep stuff in the creek bed all the way down, only a few tracks in front.
Lone Fir/ Easter - with a side step just to get to the big 3 a sidestep up to Lone Fir was a bridge too far for most people particularly when there was a chance it might be shut. It wasn't and I had the run of the season through the chute and the fan followed by Easter bowl and Freeway. Memorable.
Decline/ Window Chutes - Decline was tracked but Window chutes still had lots of deep fresh snow although it was still worth entering from skiers left rather than a straight drop.
Anaconda - we did two quick loops of Anaconda which was awesome and only lightly skied as the fence had dropped at the same time as Currie - it was even worth the return skate round Trespass Trail.
Skydive - where else at 4. A low key rip as my legs were 7 hours into the day but still great skiing in soft snow and even the lower section is starting to look a bit less twiggy.

Met lots of buddies in the bar for a beer and more snow is forecast overnight although no one seems to be able to agree exactly how much - a perfect day

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