Thursday, February 26, 2015

Day 85 back to ice skiing

Yesterday I speculated on the possible out comes of having a warm day where the snow had softened and then set up in some cold conditions. My fear was that with more of the hill tracked up we would have less terrain that was skiable and even more ugly ungroomed terrain to contend with. I have to say that overnight and into today my worst fears were realised. It got cold. everything became hard and ugly ice, today in the absence of direct sunlight nothing softened, the skiing was tougher than ever away from the groomers - and why do I always have to be so right with these things.

Before I start the blog I want to answer a question which I am always being asked as I ski around and that is "why are you skiing on your DPS Wailers (112 under foot with full rocker) in these conditions and not some carving ski which would be much better ?" The answer makes sense to me, but to be fair not to too many other people I speak to. The reason I am skiing in these conditions is to get better in them. The reason I want to get better in them is so that when I go looking for good stuff in marginal conditions I do so in the knowledge that if I find the conditions are just ugly crud then I will always be able to ski them with no problems. If I am going looking for good stuff it will be on my DPS's and it will be those that I have to ski out on if things go wrong. It therefore seems obvious to me that it is on those big skis that I need to practice and not on some skinny carvers which I know would ski better but would not be there when I was put to the test - as I said, it makes sense to me but apparently no one else given the number of people who are skiing around on skinny carving skis.

It was -7 on the way to the hill with light cloud cover which remained all day. The result was nothing softened and temps up the mountain were always about -3 all day. On the way home it was -2 and I suspect we are going into a period where nothing much warms up or softens for some time. Just as I feared last night all over the hill we had tracked up more of the terrain while it was soft and warm so that where it had not been groomed it was even more ugly, bumpy and icy than it had been over the past week.

We went to the Old Side and just like yesterday we poked round Bear, Arrow, Bow, Cascade and few runs in between which were all groomed and hard but skiing ok. In a couple of loops on Cedar Bowl, Cruiser and Cedar Centre skied ok and even lower Cedar Centre was good but firm as was lower Linda's but Lower North Ridge was getting very sketchy with some big ice patches. We went to the New Side.

Just like Yesterday we had loops in White Pass through Quite Right and Highline which had been groomed but not recently but they skied ok. We headed off to Polar peak which was very slick in the Coaster and got a lot more slick as the day went on. First loop I cut back under the Chair and found some hard icy bumps but amazingly a cat track for the last few turns. Last loop before lunch and this time after running back under the Polar Chair I noticed that the County Line had been deactivated and we could ski across under the Polar Chutes but no further, Some groomers had smashed the avi debris down a bit under the Polar Chutes. I traversed into these which were not exactly groomed but at least were skiable. The ski off was as always Currie Powder (slick but ok) Trespass Trail (firm and good) Diamond Back (so slick and twiggy that we have started to navigate routes away from the main drop in untracked crud) Summer Road (good) Lower Sib Ridge (getting firmer and slicker all the time) and then to lunch.

After lunch we just looped the New Side doing Polar Peak loops and then run back to base via the  ski off described above. In Polar we always took the Coaster and the traversed to under the lift. Most times we dropped to the cat track and then skied out the Reverse Traverse into the semi groomed stuff and then to base. Just once I tried to cut the corner and ski the left side fence line under the chair and then cut sharp left into the semi groomed stuff. Not a mistake I will make twice as it was bullet hard ice and I am still looking for some fillings that I think I might have left out there on the run. We managed 4 loops in he time available.

We just had time for one last top to bottom rip through Down Right which was slick but smooth and then a quick ski out. One of the topics of conversation in the bar tonight was how much faster we are all skiing in these slick grooomers than we were even 7 days ago - amazing what practice does. Don't even dare to think about what tomorrow may hold, can't be another beating for the body on a hard ice surface can it ?

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