Monday, March 23, 2015

109 a bit more challenging but still fun if you know where to look

First of all the usual apologies for a late report on Monday as I have been at the Rusty Edge taking advantage of their excellent 10 bucks for a beer and burger offer on Mondays, you really should try it. The apology is not only for the lateness of the report but also for any potential errors or typos which may occur as a result of the beers with the burger reacting with the beers I hoisted on board after skiing at the Griz - after the kind of day we had the need to rehydrate as quickly as possible was rather pressing.

It was raining on the way to the hill today and temps were +2 as we arrived at the base. Obviously they were calling some of this as new snow on top (about 7 cms from memory) but of course the rain at the base was just eroding the existing thin coverage. Just as I started skiing (Lynda said to hell with this) the snow started coming down white at the base although it didn't settle in the warm temps. Up the mountain it was snowing quite hard all morning with the snow getting quite wintery above the White Pass load. Shortly after lunch the snow stopped and the cloud which had been socking in Polar Peak descended down the slope so that by late afternoon we had very white conditions all the way down to the White pass load. Temps up the mountain fluctuated so that in the morning they were up to + 4, falling to +1 early afternoon and rising again to +4 later in the day. By the very end we were back to icy snow on top and rain below so we pretty well had something for everyone today.

As you will have detected from the above saga I went to the New Side and stayed there all day on the basis that snow was wet and getting better the higher you got and the New Side is as high as we can get without assistance from illegal substances. Lift line showed that we had had 5-8 cms of fresh snow but the base was hard and chunky although it did soften with each run during the day. I looped White Pass a couple of times in some very socked in conditions where I found Gun Bowl, Quite Right and I bowl all good new snow but on a chunky hard base,

Next time up I noticed that against all expectations in the current conditions Polar Peak was open. It may well have been open all along but I was so certain that it wouldn't have been that I simply didn't look. It was very socked in  on Polar Peak and the only run off was the ridge to the Coaster. After that I traversed out to the Lift Line through some very dodgy cat debris that I could not see. The final pitch was ok soft snow on a hard bumpy base. I was told that I was the only one (stupid enough ?) to have ridden the lift more than once - I did 5 loops before heading out along the Reverse Traverse.

When I got to the top of the Big 3 I had a nice surprise to find Decline open and had an awesome first track run down. Next loop up things seemed to be getting softer in Lift Line, all over Polar Peak and even on the Reverse Traverse. This time I hit Skydive down to the Megasaurus Trail where it was closed. The run was rather tracked up and as I discovered later from my buddy Andy it was because he took his Non Stop group in there. To their credit they showed respect for the hill and for other skiers by trashing the minimum amount of slope needed on the left hand side of Skydive (others could learn from this) leaving the right completely untracked for me to have an awesome rip just by the trees all the way down.

After lunch it stopped precipitating but by that time many skiers and riders were soaked to the skin and were heading for home. As I have said so many times it's just about having the right equipment and my rubber gloves and pants and a big plastic garbage sack came up trumps yet again to keep me warm and dry. I met up with Dan and we looped White Pass with a particularly good run through Surprise Trees which was soft and hardly tracked. By this time everything above White Pass load was super socked in but that didn't prevent us giving Polar Peak (amazingly still open) a go and groping out way down to the Reverse Traverse.

We applied some logic and worked out that If Skydive top and Decline were open the top pitch of the Brain also had to be open. We had a spectacular untracked run through the trees in the top section of the Brain with huge wet snow sloughs trying to take you out, particularly as you aired it out of the choke just above the trail out. Decline was similarly rather wet and full of sloughs lower down.

The final loops through White Pass were quick double back through the core then a white stick job through the Gun Bowl so we could have run down Surprise Trees which was starting to set up and if anything was skiing a bit better than it had earlier in the day. Last run we had to be driven by tradition and had a great right side run  down Skydive in lightly tracked snow but respecting the closure signs we exited via the Megasaurus Trail and ran to base.

Huge beers in respect of some great spring new snow skiing and the then out burger treat. Not sure what tomorrow will hold.

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