Sunday, February 22, 2015

Day 80 normal service is resumed

I am of course referring to the blog after the departure of my Irish buddies, Last night we had a somewhat spectacular farewell at my buddy Dan's place where we were treated to an excellent meal by his wife Ruth (thanks Ruth) and more importantly treated to a bottle of tequila by Dan himself. The upshot of all this was that there was no way I could possibly have written the blog last night and hence the way things fell out. Now everyone has gone and it is just back to Lynda and me living at the house things should get a lot easier.

The quick summary I put down was very accurate. We had 9 cms of new snow which gave us some more coverage lower down and at the very least made things look a bit more pretty and wintery. The extra snow made it better for the groomers and as result the groomed runs were less icy and taking an edge where before they had been a bit sketchy. The problem rested with the ungroomed areas which had been skied into hard ice bumps where the new snow made little or no difference to just how ugly the skiing was. Some improvement was seen in areas that had been closed and therefore remained smooth and now had some dust on crust such as Red Tree - ok skiing but not great by any stretch of the imagination, and that was yesterday for you.

Today started very cold overnight with deck temps of -14 and even though it was a very bluebird day it never warmed up even in the direct sunlight - naturally no more new snow. Temps were below zero even at the base all day and up the mountain at the Polar load I noticed that it hung in at around -7 all day. So, in summary a cold day which was great for preserving the snow but everywhere that had not been groomed the underlying bumps, or just uneven surfaces were very hard and tended to beat up anyone trying to ski them.

We went to the Old Side and noticed extensive grooming in Lizard Bowl. My theory is that the Hill have now worked out that no matter how much the weather brings new snow it won't be enough to fill in the icy bumps so it is best to groom them in and start again with the next snowfall. We poked around an number of groomers in Lizard and Cedar bowl which all skied well - the ungroomed that we tried was rather tougher. Cedar Centre Trees was ugly and uneven on the base, Sunny Side shoulder was just the same and Boom Bowl was if anything even more ugly and icy today than yesterday. Red Tree might have been nice but we just couldn't face the long push out in the very cold and grippy snow.

We went to the New Side and had an ugly run down Puff before having a couple of even more ugly loops through Gun Bowl and Highline although there was some grooming in Highline which meant that you could bail if the icy bumps got too much. Before lunch we did a couple of loops up Polar Peak where the views were just spectacular because of the dryness of the air. Only the Coaster was open which was skiing as well as it has done over the past few days with not too much scraped out ice skiing. The run down under the chair was hard ice bumps. After two ok loops we ran to base through Currie Powder, Trespass Trail, Diamond Back, Summer Road and Lower Sib Ridge, all skiing very well with some much improved coverage.

In the afternoon I was back up White Pass only to find Polar Peak closed due to an electrical fault. After a couple of run backs through White Pass which demonstrated that the grooming was good and that everything ungroomed was rock hard dust on crust bumps I ran to base via Down Right and then the lower mountain as above which skied very nicely taking an easy edge.

Polar Peak reopened and I spent the afternoon looping it. I eventually found the only soft tracked up real winter ungroomed snow on the hill to the skiers left of the Polar Chair and just made the most of this very limited opportunity not to be beaten up by and irregular ice base which was what was happening on every other part of the hill. After final chair I just had time to skate round to White Pass load for a quick loop and then another run to base via Down Right to finish the day.

So in summary the position on the hill has been improved by the new snow but the groomers are still the only smooth skiing with everything off the groomers hard, icy and bumpy and in a state where the amount of snow we have had does little more than make it look better - it certainly doesn't make it ski better. Nothing will change and all the off piste skiing will be ugly ice bumps until we either get more snow or if things start to soften up during the day, no sign of that today.

In the outlook we have some more snow on the way but not in any great quantities. It's getting cold (-8 on the deck as I am typing this) so no prospect of anything softening any time soon. Let's see what tomorrow holds.

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