Sunday, January 18, 2015

Day 45 right on the edge of disaster but we dodged the bullet

Today we had more precip forecast but with a temperature rise which easily could have meant that we ended up with a huge rain event. Actually we got some good snow overnight, a warm a day and precip that came on and off during the day but only came down as rain at the base for a couple of hours mid day. This gave some really great skiing all over the mountain but just on the edge of conditions which could have turned very ugly even with a temp variation of as little as 1 degree.

On the way to the hill it was -2 and snowing having snowed about 10 cms overnight. During the day temps got up to about +3 at the base and even a little above zero on the upper hill. The precip continued off and on all day giving a wide variety of conditions ranging from good snow to hard ice pellets. For some time on the lower hill it rained (bet you won't find any official reports using that word) but later in the day it went back to a snow/ice mix and even some driving ice/snow on the upper hill. The wind was a major feature blowing all day and providing wind sift in most runs which renewed as the day went on. The result was good new snow on the upper hill and some very hard rubbery bumpy skiing low down on the ski outs. As we drove away from the hill it was +1 in the valley with some really wet snow so conditions up the hill may be getting pretty ok.

It was a major powder day and obviously the place to go was the New Side. The Old Side would have been tracked up by the pay for powder groups (don't get me started) and being lower down would be affected first by the warming conditions. Later reports in the bar confirmed this was a sound call and the New Side was where the big waves were. It was another day when I skied from first chair to last bell without any break and as a result this report may be a bit distorted by the effects of exhaustion, not to mention the beers we drank to try and remedy the problem.

White Pass was open but the chair broke down on the way up for at least 10 minutes - it seems that following Timber's break down two days ago (15 mins) a delay of at least 10 minutes is now to be expected before you are to be allowed to get to the white stuff. When we got there all of White Pass was open but Currie was closed.

We had several loops in White Pass through Knot Chutes and Surprise Trees which were awesome skiing in some very variable visibility. About third time out we found Anaconda Glades open and had a drop through the second chute in amazing deep snow mostly untracked. Bootleg Glades skied very nice and was deep and untracked in the trees but twiggy low down. The Gilmar ski out was just hard ugly bumps and remained so all day.

After that we just looped Currie all day. Only the low Reverse Traverse was open but it was opened a little higher up than usual so the ski out to the big three was easier than usual in those circumstances -
Cougar Glades/ Stag leap - Untracked lines all the way down the glades and some tracked up powder in the leap itself.
Not so secret chutes/Spinal Tap - really great deep untracked skiing in the trees and only one track in front of us in the Creek bed.
The Brain - it needs about another metre of snow to make it ok but there were plenty of untracked lines and some very interesting deadfall to produce some challenges.
Lone Fir - a long hike up but well worth it for the best deep untracked snow on the hill with the chute filled in with wind sift and the fan underneath just awesome. Even the ski out through Easter bowl was pretty good.
Currie Chutes - I am lumping these together as we did a large number of loops through all the chutes between Tom's run and Currie Creek where the wind had sifted the powder as flat as a billiard table and the skiing was awesome and mellow - any line you wanted to the bottom.
Decline/Window Chutes - by this time the vacation skiers and the weekend warriors were off the hill with their leg muscles shot so we had the hill to ourselves and hit a very repaired Decline and some very deep soft turns in Window chutes although there were places where it was scraped down to the deadfall below.
Knot Chutes/Anaconda/Bootleg - the chutes were smooth wind groomed powder and the rest was like before but well filled in with soft snow.

And of course we finished on Skydive which was skiing better than at any time this year with maybe a few hard chunky turns in the lower section. A great rip in ever improving conditions. Loads of beers a with the biggest group of ski buddies so far this year and now a well deserved early night after 7 hours of really hard skiing. In summary the day was great on top with the transition to ugly conditions occurring at about the point where you finished skiing the proper stuff and took to the lower mountain groomers, ideal for me.

Maybe some more overnight which would be very welcome.

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