Saturday, February 14, 2015

Day 72 and an even more surprisingly better day than you would have suspected from the conditions

Oh, yes, todays conditions were just as bad as you might have suspected but we still managed to squeeze a rather good days skiing out of them. As has been the norm pretty well since the beginning of February the starting temps on the deck were +4 which yet again confirmed that temps in the valley had not dropped below zero in the last 24 hours. It occurs to me that we may be on track for a February when the valley temps don't ever drop below zero at any time of the day or night, and if this happens it will be something of a record for the Elk Valley.

So, on the way to the hill it was +4 and all over the hill during the day we saw plus temps such as +6 at the White Pass load, +9 at the Bear load and + 5 at the Polar Peak load. In summary we had major plus temps all over the hill all day giving conditions so much warmer than the normal conditions it is almost impossible to find words to describe them. Early on it looked like we might be getting a bluebird day which would have been a disaster given the condition of the lower hill but by mid day it was clouding over so even if we had a warm day it was at least away from the direct sunlight for the most part.

It was Alberta Family Weekend and although things were a bit busier than normal they were nowhere as busy as on a normal Saturday, let alone a holiday weekend. Even after skiing it was no busier in the Griz bar than a normal weekend, and actually maybe a little quieter.

We went to the Old Side to see what looked good. After a run down Bear just to get our new guests legs in position. We pushed out to Dancer for a look at the avi debris but found that there was no grooming out that far across the bowl and it was very hard bumpy tracked up crud. After that it was drop into Cedar bowl where we found Cedar centre ungroomed but also soft so the first good result of the day.

After that we spent the whole morning poking around the Old Side and found -
Boom Bowl - several times getting softer every time especially on the skiers left drop to the Goat Trail. By the end of the morning it was skiing as mellow as it ever does.
Boom Ridge - very nice skiing surface on top but some serious navigation problems in the lower section. I feel quite guilty about the couple of guys who followed me in and were warned by Simon "he's mad", can't help but think from the time it took them to get down that they didn't have such a good time as I did.
Linda's - some of the best skiing on the hill on untracked melted snow on a hard frozen base, about as near to corn snow as you ever get in Fernie.
Cedar Ridge - probably went in about an hour early and as result had some very crusty turns until about half way down where it softened, Not great but ok challenging skiing.
Cruiser/ Cedar Centre - ungroomed but by mid morning had softened to taking an edge on an uneven surface,

Last run before lunch we pushed out to Easter which a bit like Cedar Ridge was very crusty in the top but good for the last few turns and just like yesterday Freeway was skiing very soft and mellow in melted snow. We went to lunch and then went to the New Side.

On the New Side Puff skied soft on top of a hard bump base so that was the drop every time from Timber Top to White Pass load. Polar Peak was open so we did 3 loops with good skiing in the windrow bumps on the ridge, easy skiing in the Coaster which was made better if you stayed right on the untracked shoulder. After that it was Currie Glades which were firm but ok and then an exit through the seriously unrecommended  Gilmar Trail which was ok in the top but very very sketchy in the mid section.

We went back up for a couple more Polar loops as the snow in the top and under the lift was arguably the best soft semi tracked snow on the hill and then via Currie Glades again to Trespass  Trail back to White Pass just in time for a White Pass loop in soft snow on hard pack conditions.

Last run was another Currie Glades where we found a very interesting line through the top cliff in arather steep chute. Once again we ignored the warnings and hit Gilmar Trail which remained good for 80% of the trail out and total crap for the other 20%.

Far too many beers with buddies in a surprisingly quiet Griz Bar and then home. Still no signs of precip or even cool conditions - watch this space.

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