Saturday, February 21, 2015

Day 78 and change is in the air

First off the usual apologies for the late appearance of the blog - just like on all the other occasions it is due to drinking too much beer with my Irish buddies after skiing and then moving on to drinking even more with friends at their house during the evening. The long and short of it is that once again I have to try and cobble together my memories of the day with far more beer having been drunk than should make this a reasonable possibility, but here goes.

No new snow over night but some very light flurry activity during the morning and afternoon but not enough to add up to any kind of accumulation. It was overcast most of the day but did brighten a little around lunch time. Temps on the way to the hill were -2 and rose during the day to around +5 at the base during the day. Up the mountain we just about had plus temps maybe 1 or 2 degrees. max during the course of the day.

The result of the weather was that down low things started to soften but as the only parts of the lower mountain we were skiing were cat tracks and ski outs this didn't help at all, in fact it made things worse. On the upper mountain the groomers were all hard and ranged from crud taking an edge to wind swept ice depending on where you were skiing. Off the groomers things remainder bullet hard ugly ice bumps, and as before, smooth where they hadn't been skied and ugly and rutted where they had.

Someone said to me today that I hadn't mentioned the snow base recently which is true - for what it is worth it is at 138 cms today at a time when we might normally be looking towards celebrating the 3 metre party. You also have to bear in mind that the base reading is taken at the weather plot and so represents untouched snow which has been left to accumulate all year and as a result has little or no relevance to the thin scraped out surfaces that we are skiing every day. It should also be born in mind that the snow plot is three quarters of the way up Bear and as such has benefited from snow that has accumulated in periods of precip when most of the mountain had rain - in other words, it's an interesting figure, but not that interesting.

We went to the Old Side and had our usual poke round on groomers and found that Cedar bowl was ok but Bear and Arrow had some very wind swept icy patches. Lower North Ridge and Lower Linda's were very soft and getting sparse with warning signs that they were not the best way down to Boom Chair. All the Old Side Triangle in fill runs like Boom, Boom Ridge, North Ridge, Linda's etc remained closed due to ugly icy conditions. We went to the New Side.

Polar Peak was closed in the cloud which was socking in. We tried a loop in White Pass through Highline ( which I understand a number of people now call Quite Right) and found hard icy bumps so a big mistake whatever it was called. We did two loops to base via Currie Powder (first time) and Down Right (second time) and then Trespass Trail, Diamond Back, Summer Road and Lower Siberia Ridge which were all skiing ok but a bit slick in places.

After lunch we did s few more Old Side loops and found no more terrain open and the skiing just about as varied, slick and scratchy as in the morning. Back on the New Side I dropped Puff as I had been wound up by buddies to try it and it was hard big ugly icy bumps with all the forgiveness of stainless steel and very uneven. I managed three more loops through Currie to base via Down Right, Currie Powder and Down Right again and I was so carried away that I even took another drop through Puff which if anything was worse than before, still quite good fun to my mind.

The last loop of the day we took the Summer Road ski out all the way as we had seen Ski Patrol doing work on it and hoped it might be in ok shape. Our conclusion was that earlier in the day it might have been ok but by the time we tried it we had some pretty brown conditions and some very sketchy stuff on the ski out.

As I explained we had lots of beer to revitalise the legs. The reason I am saying there is change in the air is that we had snow falling as we were sitting drinking and it has continued into the evening. So far we only have 4 cms. it's very wet and temps are at around zero in the valley so we are not talking awesome powder here. That having been said it's the first snow of any kind we have had in the valley for days and it may be a lot better up the hill. Let's hope so.

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