Monday, February 9, 2015

Day 67 another day and another set of challenges

Yes, after fighting rain and mush over the past few days, today we had some of that but also soft snow set up to hard icy chunks in skied areas and totally socked in viz in the whole of White Pass so that you had to grope your way around in all areas that were above the rain line. If I didn't know better I would think that I had done something terrible in a past life and am being made to pay for it now - come to think of it perhaps that is the logical (?) explanation for why skiing is proving so tough at the moment.

It stopped raining over night but started again as we arrived at the hill and continued off and on all day. By the close of play the precip had stopped and if the forecast is to be believed we may be facing some drier weather after a possible light snow fall tonight. Temps on the way to the hill were +1 and I noticed it was +1 at the White Pass load during the afternoon and +3 as we drove away from the hill. What this meant was rain at the base and a snow line around the Bear's Den on the Old Side. This line drifted up the hill during the day but on the New Side at any rate what came down came down white in White Pass although it was wet snow and not very much of it - maybe a couple of cms.

I had an idea that with the cooler temps maybe the ungroomed closed areas would have formed to a hard smooth surface with a dusting of wet snow. My hopes rested with Boom and Cedar Ridge and that's where we went from the kick off. My idea was a complete bust for as I discovered later the low temps had lasted less than an hour and the crust on the wet snow was too thin to take weight. Having established this and the fact that the rain line was above the Bear load the only thing to do was to decamp to the New Side where we thought (correctly as it turned out) that we would be above the rain line.

Seemed like everyone had the same idea, and that together with the fact that today was BC family day meant that White Pass was quite busy by Fernie standards i.e. there were people around even if we didn't have to line up for the lift or anything like that. There was slightly more open on White Pass as we were able to drop off Falling Star earlier into Highline and the Toilet Bowl (got stuck in there once today getting greedy for one more turn) but apart from that all we had was the same as yesterday. The fact that some poachers hit Quite Right and ran along side some massive avi debris just goes to show that what Albert Einstein said was true - "The only things that are infinite are the universe and human stupidity and I am not that sure about the universe".

Where we hadn't skied yesterday the snow was soft and chunky but ok so we looped in Highline and Toilet Bowl often. Where we had skied it depended on just how much skier traffic had taken place yesterday. If the traffic was high and the bumps had been worn smooth (High Line, Puff) then we had hard smooth bumps to ski today which were ok. If all that was left from yesterday was chopped up soft snow (Milky Way Trees, High Line Trees) then we had hard refrozen chopped up crud which was whole different level of challenge. As with yesterday we just kept looping White Pass poking around to find new and varied lines.

In the afternoon the cloud which had been a problem all morning really descended and we had very white, very socked in conditions which didn't improve until you were almost back at the White Pass load. This added an extra dimension and made hard bump skiing on my full rocker DPS Wailers even more fun as I tried to up the pace in the tough conditions and failing viz. By the end of the day I felt I had been challenged enough and headed back down Summer Road for a fairly sketchy ski out followed by a couple of beers.

There is talk of some snow tonight but to be honest I'll believe it when I see it. Lets see tomorrow.

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