Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Day 82 a bit of a deterioration

Yesterday everyone said to me "Cheer up, things could be worse" so I cheered up and sure enough things got worse. I had said yesterday that I might be able to copy and paste that blog for today as I thought things would be much the same - I was wrong. In summary the wind got up sweeping snow from the groomers so they became slick ugly ice and in the few places the snow was deposited off piste it came down as crust covered slab. There were very few places that the snow was deposited on sheltered parts of the groomers but where that happened it was soft and ok skiing.

On the way to the hill it was -4 and of course no new snow. It was a bluebird day yet again meaning that in the sunlight the viz was good and in the shadow it was very flat light. During the day temps rose at the base to just plus temps but they remained a few degrees below zero all over the hill meaning for what seems like about the 100th day running nothing softened and all off groomer skiing was bullet hard ugly ice.

The main weather feature of today was the wind which was very strong and seemed to be blowing straight off the head wall in every bowl so that all the groomed runs had any soft snow swept off them before most people got to the hill. The result was slick hard groomers hardly taking an edge with no soft snow except in Arrow left, Bear right and Down Right in the lower sections. What appeared to be soft sift blown onto to ungroomed areas turned out to be hard packed wind slab with wind crust as I found out to my cost.

We went to the New Side and looped White Pass through Quite Right and Highline which we thought were slick but had no idea how ugly they would get later in the day. Polar peak was of course closed in the these winds so we dropped Currie Bowl through Down Right which skied ok at that time and exited on the usual Trespass Trail, Diamond Back, Summer Road and Lower Sib Ridge. All skied ok except Diamond Back which is getting very twiggy and slick in the lower section. We did these double loops two more times during which I tried the section of the I bowl where the groomers had flattened the avi debris (you couldn't call it grooming) which skied ok. I also tried the Gun bowl to lookers left of the White Pass chair as it looked like there was soft blow in there. Big mistake, it was crusted hard wind slab and I stacked it big time going head first and have two full rolls before I could get my skis back under me and ski on.

We went to the Old Side and tried Red Tree which I expected it to be very good or very bad depending on how it was affected by the wind. In the event it didn't seem to be affected at all and just like yesterday it was some new snow on a hard crust base all the way down, ok but no stroll in the park. We went to lunch anticipating a short afternoon which became much shorter for reasons explained below.

After lunch it was back to Arrow on the Old Side where I had been told there was some soft snow on the skiers left gully. I found about 3 good turns but I have been told I should have hit harder left to get a better result. I then decided to try Linda's Run on the grounds that the sift may have ended up there, another big mistake but at least I didn't stack it - just. It was a thin layer of dust on crust which slabbed as soon as you touched it leaving a very icy uneven base - quite a challenging run.

On the way back up Boom the chair broke down and I was stuck for half an hour which just about made my day. We eventually got off having been taken very slowly up after a long halt. I did get a voucher for something which I can redeem at guest services but unless it involves alcohol I doubt I will find much use for it but it's the thought that counts.

So I just had time for a couple of quick loops round White Pass where Quite Right and Highline had been reduced to some very slick icy surfaces and not for the faint hearted. Last run was Down Right which had deteriorated significantly in the top from this morning to more ice skiing but lower down got better - the usual ski off which was both good and bad in the usual places,

On the drive back from the hill it was -1 but with no new snow in the offing it is hard to see how conditions will change unless we get a spring warm up in which case coverage could really become a problem. After a few beers in the Griz we were reduced to the "at least it's better than work" philosophy and when you are down to that you know you are getting somewhere near rock bottom. Lets see if tomorrow can come up with some new challenges we haven't even thought of.

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