Friday, January 9, 2015

Day 36 and things are getting just a little easier - but not much

Today we had to start sorting out our guests which involved getting the Rocky Cards collected and the demo skis collected. My buddy Dave is buying his daughter new skis and so she is looking at some demos from Quest and we had to go there to get them sorted. What with one thing and another we didn't get skiing until around 10 which all things considered wasn't all that bad.

There was no new snow overnight so the conditions were not all that different from yesterday and the previous three days. On the way to the hill it was -17 and on the way back -12 which was well below what was being forecast a few days ago. There was an inversion that gave us about -8 up the hill by midday but it was nowhere near as pronounced as in the previous couple of days. We had some low cloud but it was bluebird on top and we even had some angel dust as we came out of the cloud tops giving some sun dogs and lots of general swirling glitter.

We had heard that Polar Peak may be opening with a possibility of the Polar chutes coming on stream this was partially right in that we did get Polar Peak for the first time in several days but the chutes remained shut. With this possibility we obviously went to the New Side.

We dropped Lift Line and found it much harder and bumpier than in previous days. A run back through the Gun bowl and Highline confirmed that these tougher conditions were evident throughout the White Pass core all day which was no mean feat considering how tough they were before. The only thing to do was to go to Polar Peak.

In the bluebird conditions on top Polar afforded the best 360 degree view of mountains in the world in my opinion. It was cold (I guess below -20 with the wind chill) so we didn't hang around too long. The chutes were closed as were the Clown chutes so the only option was to drop the coaster (hard and slick but with some blow in which got swept off as the day went on) and then cut across to the Grand Pappa/Pappa Bear chutes which were wind affected crud in the top but hard smooth wind groomed packed snow below with some wind sift on top. We looped three times by various routes which were all ok skiing.

We ran to base through High Saddle which was still ok but yesterday's soft snow had become the hard wind packed snow we had seen in Polar chutes and the jumps through the chute were particularly hard with a super firm landing each time. The skiing underneath was ok but in the poor light you had to take care.

We headed back up to White Pass and had another White Pass loop which was exactly as before. So it was up Polar Peak for another 3 loops which were also just as before but with maybe a bit more wind sift. In any event the conditions seem to have got rid of the breakable crust in that area. The run to lunch was via Skydive which was still breakable rain crust all the way down and very interesting skiing.

After lunch it was another White Pass loop and a Polar loop which again were just like before. We dropped to base via Concussion/Alpha Centauri which at last seem to have benefitted from skier traffic and become skiable broken crust. Another couple of White Pass Loops and Polar Loops (still the same but again with maybe a bit more wind sift) and it was time for last run of the day.

We headed out the Skydive and the first pitch was much as before with breakable rain crust. We managed to pick up some speed in the mid section and even more in the lower part taking advantage of some broken crust skiing. I think the truth of the matter is that we are finally starting to benefit from the effects of skier traffic in Skydive, the problem being that we are the ones who have been the skier traffic.

Maybe some new snow in the outlook otherwise we will have to look to the good folk of Calgary up for the weekend to do their bit in smashing up the crust with weekend skier traffic.

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