Thursday, March 19, 2015

Day 105 Easter comes early

Yes, today I spent most of my day looping Easter bowl for reasons that will become apparent as we go along. However the main reason for this was that for a significant proportion of the day Easter was only way off the New Side without down loading on Timber and while I may be getting into my twilight years I am not yet so old and decrepit that I am reduced to down loading on Timber.

We had no new snow overnight and on the way to the hill it was +3, Lynda decided (very wisely as it turned out) to take the day off so I was left to my own devices. Up the mountain temps stayed cool and at the White Pass load ( I stayed on the New Side all day) temps hung around at +1 all day. It was overcast all morning so we had no significant warming and in the afternoon it started to precipitate. It was light at first but by the close it was raining hard at the base with very wet sticky snow at the White Pass load and wet but ok snow on top accumulating fast.

I thought that things would be warming fast so I went to the New Side to be told by the checkers that there was no way out of Timber, Siberia and Currie and the only way off the New Side was Easter Bowl which was not recommended due to conditions and the best way down was down loading on Timber. While I was chatting the call came through that Snake, Polar and the Big Three were closed so my best guess was that the New Side still represented the best ungroomed skiing to be had. Later due to heroic efforts by trail crew enough snow was shifted by sledge to allow Falling Star to be opened to base and it must be so frustrating for them to see the afternoon's rain which probably means all their hard work will be washed away some time this evening.

I dropped Lift Line which was closed at the very top for some reason and it was chunky hard skiing, very challenging all day and the only route I took to White Pass load every drop. I looped White Pass a few times via Gun Bowl which was socked in and hard bumps and then Quite Right or Highline both of which were hard and bumpy. I had to test the run to base and headed out to Easter via the Reverse Traverse. A few days ago I remarked to a buddy that if the deep tracked up crud on the way out to Skydive Traverse ever set up it would be all but unskiable - why do I always have to be so right. It was some of the worst frozen crud skiing I have ever experienced and the most challenging turns, which had to be taken one at a time, that I can remember for a long time. By contrast Easter itself was bit chunky in the first few turns then became good soft spring skiing.

I managed three circuits of White Pass loops and Easter drops before it was time for lunch. It seemed to me that far from softening the crud was setting up even harder as the day went on so the ski out was becoming more challenging. On every loop I encountered groups that were struggling and against my normal practice I even stopped to help and encourage them and more importantly make some suggestions on the easiest lines that they might like to take.

After lunch it started to rain, light at first but heavier and heavier as the day wore on. At the base this came down very wet and was still coming down as we left the hill. The snow line was about at the White Pass load but the snow in that area was sticky. Up top it was socked in but with some snow starting to accumulate so viz was flatter than flat everywhere you looked. By the end of the day I was soaked through and ski out to Easter was even more challenging with wet snow and zero viz on a refrozen breakable crust/crud base.

I did one Easter loop much the same as this morning then decided to try Lone Fir next time round. This was not a great idea as Lone Fir was scraped out by some side slippers (don't you hate them) so you really had to work both sides of the chute and pay serious attention all the way through. There was just time for two more Easter loops before finish time but by this time the snow at the top of Easter had fallen on the old stuff and had set up but by the lower parts it was rain and skiing had deteriorated to pure elephant snot. Skydive and Decline remained closed all day and having skied the lower parts last run last night I can't help but think they would have represented a better ski off the hill than Easter despite their twiggy lower sections.

By 5 Lynda and I were the only two in the Griz so we paid up and left. On the way home we purchased a bottle of Jameson's Irish Whiskey as we both felt the need to warm up. Now the blog is finished we can get started - the rain seems to have cleared most of the lower hill of snow and looks to continue so it may be back to full rain gear tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment