Monday, February 2, 2015

Day 60 and on Groundhog day things start to change - isn't that ironic

Yes, today was Groundhog day. For those who don't know this is the day when a number of small rodents are dragged out of their holes (or wherever they live), stood up and if the see their shadow then winter will continue for 6 more weeks and if not we are due an early spring. Of course this is all a bit academic this year as talking about winter ending is hardly relevant when the real problem is that winter hasn't really started. I think the consensus was that winter would continue but it was pointed out that the best performing animal only had a success rate of 42% when just flipping a coin would deliver a result of 50%. All this suggests to me that rodent based weather forecasting is a science that is still somewhat in it's infancy.

At day 60 the average cost of skiing is getting down to around 15 bucks a day which given the conditions still doesn't look that cheap. The essence of the movie Groundhog day was that the same day repeated over and over again and in a delicious twist of fate, after days when things have been the same, today things just started to change. Part of the change came from the fact that I was skiing with buddies Brad and Thomas who are bad guys who encourage me to go to places that are not always a good idea - not that I need much encouraging. In an unspoken agreement we kicked skiing groomers into touch (where we have been stuck for days now) and hit lots of  ungroomed off piste no matter how ugly or hard work it was. The result was some very tired legs at the end of the day.

It was only about -2 on the way to the hill and the base areas warmed to about +2 during the day. Up the hill it stayed at minus temps all day and I guess the average was about -4. It was overcast and in the afternoon we started to get snow which has continued into the evening. Overnight we had a light dusting which gave 1 or 2 cms of dry dust which sifted in between the bumps so you could get a couple of turns in soft snow almost anywhere before hitting rock hard ice. The new snow hadn't accumulated enough to make any real difference by closing time but we have high hopes for tomorrow.

We went to the Old Side but Bear Chair broke down so we doubled back to the New. The first drop from Timber top to White Pass load was via Puff as Lift Line remained closed. It was hard icy bumps with some slabby sift in between the bumps and remained that way all day on the next 4 time we skied it while looping. White Pass top was socked in so our run down 1-2-3s in no light on ungroomed icy bumps with sift was not without it's challenges. Next loop we hit the Reverse Traverse for the short distance available and had about 6 really good powder turns back to Currie Powder. The run itself and Gilmar trail were skiing very easy crispy snow with some sift.

Back to the Old Side and a very hard and crunchy New Lift Line. While in there we found two garbage bins (presumably blown off Bear top) which we collected and then filled with the spilled garbage on the way down and delivered to the Haul Back load. This has to give us maximum brownie points with the Griz and so we are all confident of getting some good skiing from now on. Having been on the lift over Boom bowl it looked pretty ugly but the only way to prove it was for a couple of us to ski it so we did - super ugly and very challenging but fun, probably the only ones to ski it today.

Next time up Bear we hit out to Easter bowl and skied past some pretty ok looking sift before trying to ski the far side of the bowl in ugly crust with some sift in between giving two good turns at a time. After that it was time for lunch.

The afternoon was a steady New Side loop pattern of Puff (see above) Gun Bowl (poor viz and icy with some sift) Highline (just hard icy bumps) back up White Pass and then down to the Polar load where we entered Currie Glades. The glades had a hard crunchy ice base but were not too bumpy and the sift did mean a few good turns before the ice ambushed you from time to time. We did this loop 3 times and then finished with a 4th run down Currie Glades to end. The good news about this is that there are so many routes through the glades you can ski them all day and not take the same route twice.

So in summary we had a skiff of new snow which didn't do much to improve conditions but due to stupidity and bloody mindedness we had good day skiing ungroomed runs from first to last bell. The result was that we are very beaten up but happy.

Maybe 8 cms tonight which would go a long way to repairing the hill but we have been promised this before, let's see in the morning.

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