Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Day 69 an explanation

Ok, so here is the explanation of the strange events with the blog over the last 48 hours. Yesterday evening at about 6 I started to get emails and messages via social media asking what had happened to the blog - at that time as far as I was concerned the answer was nothing. When I checked I found that the site had been taken down by Google because the annual renewal (and modest payment) hadn't been made. This is handled by my Irish buddies who set the site up and at 6 in the evening it was 1 in the morning in Ireland so I was not going to be able to speak to anyone who could help, or to be more accurate be in a fit state to help at that hour. We sent texts to get things sorted.

I took the opportunity of an evening off to take a taxi down to wings night at the Park Place Pub and get unbelievably pissed with my buddies - job done. In the morning the site was still not up so a few more texts sorted things and the site was restored just as we were going out of the door to drive to the hill. I did the quick post just to let everyone know what was going on with the promise of a further explanation tonight.

I would like to thank everyone for all the concerned emails and messages because of the temporary disappearance of the site. Nature abhors a vacuum and of course all sorts of wild rumours started to explain my absence. Just for the record I was not injured in a car crash on a road trip, or buried in an avalanche, or taken to hospital having hurt myself on the hill. Best of all I can dismiss the most popular conspiracy theory explanation i.e. that my site was taken down by the hill because they didn't like what I was writing. Like all internet conspiracy theories (particularly those about disappearing planes and planes crashing into buildings) this is barmy nonsense but it doesn't stop people believing and I am afraid to say the truth is that it was just a cock up.

Yesterday was just like most of the days that went before. Light drizzle over most of the hill with snow forming soft mush and the base become less as the day went on. By the end of the day conditions were spring like and decidedly sketchy.

Today the rain stopped at last and we had our first precip free day for almost a week. Temps were high at +3 on the way to the hill, +3 at the White Pass load and +6 as we drove away in the evening. The only saving grace was that the top of the hill was socked in and it was overcast over most of the hill so although we had some atmospheric warming we had no direct sunlight which really would have destroyed the hill.

We went to the Old Side and found Lizard closed above Tower 6 road and only open as far as Arrow in the top. Cedar was closed as was Boom, Boom Ridge, Linda's, Cedar Ridge and all associated areas. In effect we had Bear, North Ridge, Emily's, Lower Linda's and Lizard below Tower 6. I heard in the afternoon that some parts of Cedar opened but didn't see it for myself. The conditions were pretty desperate. On the groomers the coverage was sketchy with some runs closed due to huge bare patches and even where there was snow it was mushy and thin. I put a core shot in my base in the middle of Bear and I guess that says it all.

The only off groomer skiing we could find was China Wall which like yesterday skied ok just taking and edge but mushy and about 30% of the run was down to dirt. After a few more runs of mushy groomers we headed for the New Side.

The conditions on the New Side were very varied. In some places the chopped up snow had reformed to very hard chunky skiing - not quite ice crust but not far off. In other places the surface had mushed and we were skiing good old spring mashed potato snow and in yet other places there was hard bump skiing but with the surfaces becoming soft on the old icy bumps, probably the best skiing surface anywhere. Currie bowl was open only from 1-2-3s on the right to Currie Powder on the left. In White Pass we had the Zig Zag open but the I bowl and Idiot Traverse closed. Everything off Falling Star was open.

We dropped Timber top to White Pass load through Puff which was hard bumps and soft on top which made it run of the day for me. The rest of our time was spent looping various parts of White Pass such as the Gun Bowl, Highline, Milky Way Trees, Quite Right etc which had the above described variety of condition. There didn't seem to be any logic of altitude, aspect, pitch etc to determine if they were soft, hard or something in between. We ran to base a couple of times through Currie Powder which was skiing ok in very poor light. Nothing was groomed in the Gilmar Trail probably because it was too thin. The surface was soft but it was very sketchy with many bare patches,

After Lunch we returned to the New Side and just repeated the mornings exercise. It seemed to us that the warming had softened a bit more of the area and even the Gun Bowl by the Knot Chute fence was skiing ok whilst in the morning it had been just plain ugly. The light improved as the cloud lifted and we had another couple of runs to base via Currie Powder and the ungroomed Gilmar Trail which has to be getting close to unskiable in certain areas with so much brown showing.

And that's it for another day. Wait for tomorrow for the result of my poll among some long term Fernie skies as to the last time things were this bad.

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