Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Day 103 a very happy Paddy's day

Well those of you with a retentive memory may recall that today is the anniversary of me being caught and buried in avi just under Lone Fir so, in that I didn't get caught and buried today, that gives at least the basis of a happy Paddy's Day. Actually I noticed today that even though the Saddles and Easter Bowl were open the side step up to Lone Fir wasn't so maybe I wasn't the only one not wanting to tempt fate today.

We had no new snow overnight but figures confirmed that we got 65 cms of new snow out of the last weather cycle, at least at the snow plot level - the measured base at the snow plot increased to 185 cms. On the way to the hill temps were -2 and colder up the mountain so things stayed in good shape from yesterday. During the day temps rose so that we had temps of +4 even up the mountain so everything became heavier and could have been worse except that the sun which seemed to be breaking out around lunch time went away and we were significantly overcast for most of the afternoon. As we drove away from the hill it was +5 in the valley so maybe the warming trend will continue for a day or two - I hope so because if the chopped up deep soft snow ever sets up in the cold we will be faced with conditions that for all practicable purposes would be unskiable.

We went to the hill and went straight to the New Side as we had high expectations that Currie Bowl would be opening. My day started in a very frustrating way with the heal binding on my DPS Wailers breaking again - the guys at Straight Line are working on it as I type this but the result was that I was back on my Sally Shoguns for the day which are good skis but not ideal for skiing chopped up powder turning to heavy crud in the sun. We had great runs down Lift Line (now open from the top) and White Pass loops through Gun Bowl, Highline, Heartland, Surprise Trees (twice) and generally had a good time in yesterday's chopped up powder (still finding the odd untracked line) while waiting for Currie Bowl to open.

Before a full Currie opening we got word that Anaconda had opened an so we hit the first chute over the hump which was spectacular untracked deep powder as you would expect with it not having been open for weeks - we worked our way back to White Pass via Trespass Trail which was pretty hard work. After another Anaconda loop (just as good) we got to the top of White Pass just as they dropped the Currie fence.

I tracked out to the Big Three (which I double checked with patrol were open) and had the run of the season. I cut the trail out to the top but found one track from Easter down into Skydive so I hit Decline which was totally untracked. An unbelievable run in the 65 cms of new snow and not another track in sight all the way down. Hardly had to make a turn and had the best high speed semi controlled powder run of the season. When I got to the bottom I linked up with a tele skier who had followed me down and as I said to her "Do you know what sucked about that run - absolutely nothing".

I went back and hit Stag leap which was untracked through the top trees with about three tracks ahead of me when I got into the run. Great untracked skiing on the left side but the final pitch was very twiggy and starting to turn to mush but then you always have to pay the bill after a great time. Final run before a late lunch was Skydive which was rather like Stag Leap except that the untracked skiing was on the right and the bottom pitch didn't suck quite so much.

In the afternoon I linked up with my buddy Dan and we went for Easter Bowl having rejected the Saddles as they seemed to be about as scraped out as the Knot Chutes had been yesterday as a result of blasting and ski cutting. Easter skied ok if a bit chunky in the top. We then met another buddy who suggested Fish bowl and so we hit Decline (still awesome in the top but getting tracked up low down) and cut across to the Bear Chair in some very sticky snow - it was so warm that I had shifted from my jacket to my fleece for the afternoon's skiing. We hit out to Fish and had some great untracked deep powder in the near chutes and were still able to cut out the Redtree which was tracked but soft powder and get back to Haul Back.

We just had time to rip through Boom which was skiing very nicely with skied in soft snow. We got a late Timber Chair and dropped to White Pass through a chunky Lift Line which had been the chosen route all day - very challenging but fun. Last run of course was Skydive which was very good with some big untracked lines in the top two pitches. The final pitch was very technical with lots of twigs to avoid and my buddy complimented me in my straight line charging of this pitch but the truth was that my legs were so shot I just couldn't turn, still I will take the compliments any way they come.

Another great day's skiing in rather more challenging conditions but with maybe the run of the season. Of course drinks in the bar on Paddy's Day but with none of that stupid green colouring in the beer - I lived in Ireland for three years and never saw it happening there and I have no intention of indulging this barmy practice. Tomorrow maybe we get Polar Peak so yet another good day in prospect.

A few days ago I was asked a question that crops up over and over again where I get asked if I ever was involver in writing literature in my working life as my blog seems to make people think that is a possibility. I can assure everyone that I was never involved in creative writing in my long a varied career although in the final 3 years of my career I was involved in publishing fiction - I produced the balance sheets of my bank - have great Paddy's Day.

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