Sunday, February 8, 2015

Day 66 more rain but things get better later

Last night it rained big time. I was woken up by the sound of rain beating down on the roof which is something that has never happened before and when I got up to look out of the window it was coming down in stair rods, as they say in my part of the world.

In the morning it was still raining hard as we headed for the hill and with temps in the valley at +4 we were not optimistic that conditions would be anything but ugly - we were right not to be optimistic. Reports suggested that the rain line was higher up the hill than yesterday and that pretty well all of the Old Side was beneath the rain base. With this information you didn't have to be a genius to work out that the best bet was to go to the New Side and go as high as possible.

We were amused when we checked to official mobile web site on conditions to see that they were claiming 135 runs open - not just the conditions page where they state the total runs but the actual status page which clearly stated 135 runs open. I even had my buddy Simon to check this as it seemed so improbable and he confirmed that was what the site said, we even pointed it out to a ski host who agreed that was what it said. I can only assume that 125 runs were open on the Old Side where we didn't ski as at best you could count about 10 on the New Side.

The rain line was indeed higher than yesterday with snow starting at around the White Pass load. In White Pass the snow was heavy wet and mushy and quite hard going off the groomers which of course is where we were skiing. Light was pretty poor at the top and got better as you came down. Temps were just about plus all day but the precip fell white all the time albeit rather wet towards the White Pass load.

The available terrain was very limited, just like yesterday with the Gun bowl and the Zig Zag closed so that the only skiing was Falling Star and the drop offs from High Line to Puff including Milky Way Trees and the associated terrain. We devised three loops - Highline/the hump under the lift/ski out - Falling Star until we ran out of steam and then drop the bowl to the left/Right side Milky Way Trees/various chutes through Puff Trees left - hike all the way up to the top of Milky Way trees and then drop them to the cat track/Puff to the White Pass load. With minor variations we kept hitting these all morning in very heavy wet chopped up snow.

The run to base at lunch was via Summer Road which was a bit bare in places but probably the best way off the hill then the lower ski out which was an exercise in navigation between various hazards such a water, bare patches, ice, etc. Over lunch an amazing thing happened, it stopped raining for the first time in three days, or at least it slowed down and stopped shortly afterwards.

In the afternoon we did a repeat of the morning by just rolling through our three available optional loops on the New Side. The good news was that although the viz had really socked in on top the wind had sprung up with a drying effect and the chopped up ungroomed started to ski really well. It was still soft but becoming drier and firming up as it started to set up later in the day. In normal circumstance we would call it pretty cruddy but in the light of what we have been skiing over the past few days it was a great relief and skied very well all the way up to the end of the day.

Last run was Summer Road again and it was just as sketchy as lunch time as was the ski out. A couple of beers in the bar before driving away in temps of +4 and listening to a forecast of more rain to come over the next 24 hours. We are seriously considering a road trip up North to get some better snow so watch this space for a relocated blog later this week.

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