Monday, January 26, 2015

Day 53 spring skiing in my fleece in January - no way

Actually I wore my fleece instead of my jacket today which I have never done in January and to make matter worse we were skiing Polar Peak and I have never skied Polar Peak in just my fleece (well of course I had my pants on as well ) at any time of the year so this should give you an idea of just how mellow things are. This is not necessarily good news for the ski hill as the last thing we need is mild weather but it does make for a very interesting new experience.

Overnight things got a bit colder than forecast so it was zero on the deck when we got up this morning and -1 when we arrived at the hill. The result was that yesterdays skiing had turned to boiler plate. Groomed boiler plate on the groomers, Smooth boiler plate where there had been no skier traffic yesterday and tracked up ugly boiler plate where there had but in summary it was all hard boiler plate. The only strategy was the old spring skiing one of working our way into the harder areas as and when they softened in the sun.

Things did warm up and soften. It was a bluebird day all day which if nothing else afforded some spectacular views from the top of Polar Peak which I say again has to be the best 360 degree view of mountains anywhere in the world. Temps at the base got up to +9 and even up the mountain  it was +6 at the Polar load and obviously a lot more in the direct sunlight which was everywhere in the bluebird conditions.

We went to the Old Side and had a run down the bumps on the side of Bear which were rock hard and good practice. Bear Chair broke down so we hit the New Side and found that Gun Bowl was already softening in the direct sunlight and skiing very well. All of the White Pass core was skiing well with some variable conditions.

Polar Peak was open and we had spectacular runs down the Clown Chutes which skied so mellow in the corn snow conditions, The shoulders above the rock bands were particularly good and unskied. We tracked across under the lift and had 3 great loops through the firm but forgiving flat snow in that area. Eventually we ran to base through Concussion hoping that it had softened. It had in the top and was if anything too soft but it stiffened up in the lower sections and became just hard ice in the ski out.

Next loop I had my first of 3 drops through Puff (Lift Line was closed) during the day and found it to be rock hard icy bumps and although good practice for things to come, not the best skiing in the world. We then did 3 more Polar loops where the Clown chutes , if anything, skied even better than before. This time it was time for lunch and we ran to base via Tom's run which was flat and getting very soft.

After lunch we went back up the New Side but as because in the morning things had been getting very soft and spring like we started to get closures due to the risk of soft snow avi's. All over the snow was breaking down and loosing adhesion with the lower layers. It was only going to be a matter of time before things had to be shut down. The problem was that in the runs out of the direct sunlight nothing had softened so in between these super soft areas we had places where we were skiing on pretty much sheet ice.

We did 3 more Polar loops which were getting very mushy and the clown chutes that were dropping back into the shadow were starting to get ugly and icy. We ran to base through Concussion which was starting to set up and was great skiing. Next time up we found most things closed. Knot chutes were sliding and closed We had just seen a snowboard get dragged over the Cheese Grater when the snow sloughed but he got up and rode away with no problem - better buy a lottery ticket tonight buddy, today is your lucky day. With only the White Pass core open we decided to drop Currie Bowl which was now mostly closed (most of what was open was sheet ice) as well due to the danger of wet snow avi's, and we cut back to the Old Side.

The plan had been to side step up into Skydive for a very ugly last run but we found our way blocked by a sign line on the edge of Easter bowl which even if it faced the wrong way persuaded us that the traverse was not on. We took another trip up Bear and dropped Boom Ridge which skied remarkably well taking and edge all the way down and getting quite soft in the lower pitch. For final run my buddy Brad suggested that Boom Bowl looked pretty good. That's the last time I listen to him as it was hard, bumpy and as ugly as a bear's ass which was surprising as it was about the same elevation and pitch as Boom Ridge which had skied so well. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger and so we had an ok last run and then some well deserved beers.

More warm weather called for tomorrow which is worrying as the hill is really getting very sparse with brown patches appearing all over the lower mountain, It won't take many more days of this before we have some real problems in getting off the hill.

No comments:

Post a Comment