Friday, February 6, 2015

Day 64 a bit of a mess by any definition

I don't usually include pictures but I thought this one taken by my buddy Simon in the locker room this morning serves to illustrate the rain gear that was necessary in order to be able to enjoy a day's skiing today and why, if you didn't have the right gear today would be the worst day's skiing of your life. In case it isn't clear I am wearing a plastic rain suit ($19.99 from Canadian Tire), neoprene boot covers and rubber inner gloves. As a result I remained toastie and dry all day and had an enjoyable day's skiing while most people I encountered only had a run or two and retired to dry out.

Before I start I must send my best wishes to my ski buddy Rod who skis many days with me and yesterday broke his ankle when we dropped Triple Trees on to the Trespass Trail and he failed to brake in time before crashing over the trail into the trees below. Sorry you got hurt and all the best for a swift recovery. The only consolation is that we are in the middle of one of the worst seasons in the last 10 years and there are no signs that things are likely to improve any time soon. Hope the treatment in Calgary works out ok and you are back on the hill with us soon.

All my fears of yesterday regarding conditions came true overnight. The rain continued and temps rose steadily so that by morning it was +5 on the deck and +4 when we got to the hill. It was apparent that there was no snow line and we had rain all the way to the top of the hill. During the day temps all over the hill stayed well above zero and as we drove away tonight it was still showing +5 on the truck's thermometer. The rain poured down all day and is still coming down hard as I sit here typing this.

The result was that the New Side was closed due to unstable snow conditions and we were restricted to the Old Side. Actually that doesn't tell the half of it as all we had was the Bear, Kodiak, North Ridge, Emily's and Lower Linda's - that was it, the rest was closed including all of Lizard bowl to skiers right of Bear, Boomerang, Boom Ridge, Cedar Ridge, in fact everything in the Old Side Triangle except the above named runs.

It was difficult to find any ungroomed skiing although the right side of Bear was soft bumps and a mixture of heavy elephant snot which was challenging skiing. Elsewhere it was a nominally groomed surface but under the constant rain it came across as a very varied surface with a mixture of wet hard pack which was slick and wet ungroomed which was slow - very challenging. Just to make things interesting towards the end of the day the cloud began to descend to add poor light and poor viz to the challenges.

I spent the day looping Bear, North Ridge/ Emily's to Haul Back, lower Linda's to Boom Chair and then back to Bear. From time to time to add variety I dropped Kodiak which was getting a bit twiggy back to Boom Chair but all in all there was very little to be done to expand the skiing horizons today. As the day wore on the skiing surface steadily deteriorated so that by the end of the day significant areas of brown had appeared in all runs and worse still some cracks and gullies were also starting to appear. In some areas (particularly the loads) huge puddles had formed and just got bigger as the day went on.

And that is how the day was spent. Most early skiers didn't stay ( why would you turn up just to do a run or two ? If you like it ski it for some time and if you don't why turn up at all ?) and the rest turned up for a relatively short time . By the end of the day there were only a couple of us still skiing and even I have to admit that the last chair up Bear was at 3:40 and I didn't push to get in one final run as I would usually do.

So in summary I had an ok day considering the dreadful conditions. This comes with a health warning which is that I guess most people would have had a really bad day today and wouldn't even consider skiing tomorrow. Me - I'll just keep plugging away enjoying myself in my own peculiar and to some people's thinking incomprehensible way. The rain is forecast to continue for a day or two yet and there has to be some question as to whether or not all of the hill can survive. The New Side may prove a saviour but getting that open is going to be a challenge in the circumstances.

Tonight's movie on TCM is Gone With the Wind and in the word's of the final line of that movie "tomorrow is another day".

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