Monday, February 16, 2015

Day 74 another good day squeezed out - just

Of course we had no precip over night and the official snow base fell to 138 cms which is as low as I have ever seen it at this time of year. On the way to the hill we had -5 temps but still no sign of any snow making on the lower mountain. It was another bluebird day and even more than yesterday things stayed cold out of the sun and only softened in the direct sunlight. During the day all over the hill it was colder with temps of -1 at the White Pass load and -2 at Polar load so unsurprisingly things stayed much harder and even in the sun the softening was much reduced.

We actually came up with three things that tell us when, on the hill, it is just about as bad as it can get and here they are - when you arrive on Alberta Family day a 9 o'clock and still get parked in line 3 - when you see Ski Patrol working on the hill and they don't have their jackets or skis on - when on the way to the hill the radio advert for the hill mentions the dining and the massage at the spa but doesn't mention the skiing. We also came up with another rule having looped Polar Peak numerous times today - if you see someone being photographed along side a sign saying "Expert Skiers Only" it means they aren't one.

We went to the Old Side and found that Boom, Boom Ridge, Linda's and Cedar Ridge were all closed but Lizard Bowl and Cedar Bowl were both open most of the way across (Snake Ridge closed of course) at the high traverse level. With everything off the groomers bullet hard we tried Bear, Arrow, Bow, Cedar Centre, North Ridge and Lower Linda's which were all ok hard icy grooming but not really what we were looking for. After most of the morning looking (and not finding) some good off piste skiing we headed to the New Side.

On the New Side things still looked ugly and icy just like yesterday and this was confirmed by the temps which as stated were even lower than yesterday. Polar Peak was open and once again we did about 6 loops of Shale Slope which amazingly was still holding up ok even if the bumps were getting big but staying quite soft. This took us to a late lunch and in view of the ski off yesterday we played safe with Currie Powder, Trespass Trail, Upper Diamond Back. Summer Road, Lower Siberia Ridge and the Falling Star ski out. By moving around this much we found good coverage with just bit of ice and twigs in the Lower Sib Ridge section.

In the afternoon I was deserted by my guests who didn't fancy a full day in tough conditions. I linked up with buddies and just looped Polar Peak (Shale Slope) and then a run down under the chair in some hard crunchy icy conditions - a good mix of challenging condition s each time. I guess I must have skied this loop 10/12 time in the afternoon and by close at 3:30 the Shale Slope was starting to show signs of wear and I doubt it will last another day although for most of today it had been big soft snow bumps and very nice skiing as a result. I ran back round Trespass Trail to do a couple of final loops on White Pass.

White Pass was hard and icy where ever you went and the only ungroomed stuff I tried was in the mid section of Highline which was just about as tough skiing as you could wish to find. Last run of the day was back into Currie Powder and the run to base as described at lunch time. This time it skied even better as the traffic in Lower Sib Ridge had improved the surface - can't understand why anyone would down load on Timber Chair (and there were plenty who did) when you have such a mellow line to take off the hill.

Still no snow in the forecast so beers at home and fingers crossed for something to happen. We have dodged the bullet over the past few days using Shale Slope off Polar Peak repeatedly to provide good skiing but from tomorrow we will be lucky if we can continue to get away with this and I can't see where the next life saving opening might take place. Who knows.

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