Sunday, March 22, 2015

Day 108 limited terrain but good skiing on what there was

Before we get started it is perhaps worth reminding ourselves of what we should really be getting at this time of year. One year ago Lynda wrote in her journal (about as near to an official record as you are going to get)  "skied Snake and Boom in deep powder after a fall of 30 cms, base 378 cms...." Today we had some new snow and the base was 170 cms, what a difference a year makes.

It was raining as we left the hill last night and continued to rain into the evening which given the temps of around +4 meant that we must have been getting snow at some point up the hill. Snow of this type at this time of year is a bit of a two edged sword. On one level we will be getting more snow on the upper mountain which goodness knows we need but at another level it means we will be getting rain over most of the lower mountain (in fact almost everywhere below the snow plot) reducing what little snow we have there. This is exactly what happened last night.

On the way to the hill it was +4 and slightly overcast although it cleared during the morning. Cloud rolled in again around the middle of the day which had the effect of preserving the skiing surfaces quite well. In the afternoon the sun was out again and temps got to +7 at the White Pass load and even +4 at the Polar load. Over all things softened pretty quickly but on the north facing slopes such as Easter even though things got soft they never got mushy.

The official snow fall figure was for 8 cms at the snow plot but from my observations on the New Side it looked as if the snow there had accumulated to little more than 5 cms if that. We went to the New Side as we decided what snow we had got would be best high up and the higher the better. Puff had some very icy grooming so we stayed on the ungroomed bumps which were covered in soft untracked snow and with the surface starting to soften in the warming temps.

We looped White Pass several times, always finding new lines back through the Gun Bowl or Knot chutes which were soft snow on a softening base and very mellow skiing. Runs down were Quite Right and Highline which again skied well away from the groomed areas. We then saw that Polar Peak was open and that was it for the rest of the morning.

Polar was open on the Coaster side including Shale Slope and it was Shale Slope that we skied repeatedly in the soft mellow gentle bumps with no sign of rocks - great easy skiing. Below Shale we cut across under the chair and either dropped the chair line or cut across to the left hand fence and had great soft skiing before cutting back to the chair. After a while the Clown Chutes opened and we had a good run down Crusty Chute with a very interesting entrance which involved you hanging the back of your skis out over a cliff - great fun. They then opened the traverse into lower Grand Papa Bear which was soft and smooth and very good skiing.

After numerous laps of all of the above it was time for a late lunch so we traversed out into lower Mamma Bear (only just opened) and had a great untracked run down to the Reverse Traverse. Obviously we were going to ski off through Easter (as I have said before, I may be getting on but I am not so decrepit that I have to download - at least not yet) Easter was a bit crisp in the top and bit mushy low down but over all skied ok and although hard work, it was a good way to go to lunch.

After lunch it was back up the New Side for more of the same. A couple of White Pass laps showed that things had set up a little in the middle of the day overcast conditions but everywhere was skiing rather better for that. Polar Peak was much as before but with surfaces starting to get a little unstable in the afternoon sunshine. Shale Slope (still mellow with soft bumps) Grand Papa Bear (favourite run with some great soft steep skiing) Crusty Chute ( entrance more testing every time but soft and easy in the chute) Lift Line soft and good for really fast GS turns, many other ways down back to the chair through the trees etc.

Finally it was last run off Polar so we had another rip through lower Mama Bear and then and even faster rip through Currie Powder which was soft and then a rather slower return to White Pass through Trespass Trail which was slow and sticky. One last run down off White Pass top was through Easter Bowl where things had set up so it was skiing soft snow on a firm base and made me rather wish I had looped it a bit more during the afternoon.

A nice Sunday night in the Griz with all the usual suspects. Temps were +8 as we drove away from the hill but they are calling for snow over the next few days, hard to believe but lets hope they are right.

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