Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day 48 three for the price of one

No, not some special offer from the hill (you would have to be joking) but a comment on the fact that we had three totally different weather conditions on the hill today depending on where you were. On the Old Side we had overcast winter conditions with temps of about -5 and some wind towards the afternoon. At the base we had bluebird conditions most of the day and temps went from a starting point of -10 to about -2 during the course of the day. On the New Side we had brutal conditions which kept Polar Peak closed and gave us socked in conditions on White Pass with temps of -8 (probably double that with the wind chill) and driving ice mist that formed all the time on clothing and equipment. In the afternoon things eased a bit but it was still pretty chilly.

With a new buddy in town we went to the Old Side for a gentle start and found the bumps on the sides of Bear firm but taking an edge. We then poked around the Old Side for a couple of hours trying a number of runs several times and finding - New Lift Line (nice firm bumps taking an edge), the Gulch (now officially open and good tight gully skiing but with a big hole on the exit) Lower Kangaroo (crusty and ugly) Boom Ridge (great wind sift giving soft skiing between the bumps) Cedar Ridge (just like Boom Ridge) and Boom ( just like the rest) soft wind sift. After a couple of hours playing on this stuff we headed to the New Side.

The change was staggering and we looped Timber and White Pass in brutal wind chill conditions with ice forming on us and viz down to seeing the two chairs in front of you on the lift. We took a quick drop down the severe Concussion chutes which were skiing firm but taking a good edge and the workout helped to keep us warm. We had a late morning break to have soup and put on and extra layer and some better gloves.

After that we had two more New Side Currie loops through Decline (soft sift blowing in and skiing very easy) and then Touque Chutes. Just to make it clear, last night in the bar I was asking some patroller buddies what they called the new gladed chutes off Skydive. We have been calling them Not so Secret Chutes because they give better access to Secret Chutes but my buddies decided to call them Touque Chutes because a patroller buddy we know once lost a touque (wooley hat to you Europeans) in there - so Touque Chutes it is. We dropped them in some great sift with a firm base before cutting right into Spinal Tap which was still skiing deep and soft all the way down the stream bed which is starting to get filled in.

In the afternoon I had appeared to have worn out my ski company so I just went back and did New Side loops -
Cougar Glades/ Stag Leap - still some clean lines through the tress and Stag Leap still skiing good if a bit stiff in the lower section.
The chute beyond Lone Fir - everyone has their own name for this but I call it One Step Beyond. Great early turns and after the jump through the trees to the right the chute (very steep and tight) was untracked wind sift. The ski out through the fan was totally awesome soft sift and even lower Easter was pretty good and filling in.
A White Pass loop of the Gun Bowl and Highline which proved that in the improving viz this gave some great untracked sift skiing.

And so we came to Skydive with just 4 of us - me, Rod, Brad and Steve. A great rip down without stopping in soft blow in and even the lower sections were not that stiff. Beers of course and a great hot tub to take away the pains. A quiet night in with an Irish buddy - what could possibly go wrong.

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