Thursday, March 26, 2015

Day 112 from hero to zero in 24 hours

Well. of course the heading isn't entirely accurate in that yesterdays snow wasn't exactly hero although it was pretty good, and today's wasn't exactly zero, although it did suck quite significantly in comparison with yesterday's conditions. So let me try and explain what happened to the hill in the last 24 hours.

At the close yesterday we had cold conditions and good winter snow over the whole hill. Overnight we appeared to have had some more snow to the extent of about 4 cms, or if not we had some good blow in. Somewhere overnight things warmed up so that the new snow just mushed back into itself giving some very sticky skiing and because conditions were overcast all day we didn't even get spring skiing as a result of direct sunlight. The overall result was that everywhere except the groomers (and even there where the grooming had taken place early) we had soft sticky snow which grabbed you, twisted you round where the skis hit a different surface, and either had you coming out of each turn going head first over the tips where the snow was soft or struggling in the back seat if you found some soft icy surface swept clean by skier traffic. If that sounds pretty crappy then there you have it as a summary of todays skiing, in my opinion. To be fair it got better as the day went on.

We arrived at the hill with temps of +6 and the +5 temps continued over all the upper hill all day and from the skiing surface seemed to have been there for most of the night. The sock in line was at the top of Bear on the Old Side and about half way up White Pass on the New Side until late afternoon when things started to lift. There was no new precip and as we drove away tonight it was +12 in the valley which at least accounts for why everything on the hill was so soft.

We went to the Old Side and after a quick run back down Bear we started to loop Cedar Ridge and found things very soft, heavy, slow and producing big sun ball snow rolls all the way across Cedar Ridge. Haul Back T bar was still down temporarily for the day but for the reasons explored yesterday this didn't matter. The run back to Boom chair was through Cedar trail which was even sketchier than yesterday - the only track off was one ski track width wide (no, I don't mean a cat track wide I mean just the width of my skis)  and then a run down Lower Kodiak. We looped it all several times in very sticky ugly conditions and in truth the only half way acceptable run was Boom due to the pounded in snow from skier traffic, but don't kid yourselves, it was no better than ok.

We went to the New Side and found that Lift Line/Big Bang were ok in the steep sections but in the lower parts they were so sticky you could hardly move. Anywhere above mid White Pass was totally socked in so we just did a few Heartland/Quite Right loops and then ran to lunch via Easter bowl as Polar Peak was closed for the day. The traverse out to Easter was very sticky and ugly but when we got there the bowl skied surprisingly well (in comparative terms) in soft but not mushy snow. Time for lunch in the ever excellent Big Bang Bagels - Mr Fernie bagel with bacon on an onion and garlic bagel is just so sweet.

After lunch it was back to the New Side as the Old Side had just been so ugly and sticky. It was still socked in at the top so I just went straight to Easter bowl and looped it, and it was ok, just like before. Next time round things had started to lift so I looped back through Gun Bowl and Quite Right which were ok but sticky. The run to base was through Decline top and Megasauraus and it skied quite nicely but with some heavy sections. Next loop things had cleared a lot and I hit the Knot Chutes, not because I thought they would be good but because I just needed something to do - they we ok and soft as was the I bowl underneath them.

It was time for another run to base and again this was through Easter bowl which remained probably the run of the day with soft easy skiing. The Reverse Traverse  was still sticky but at least in the improving light you could see things. Final loop, and after another Knot Chute (still soft but indifferent skiing) it was time for Skydive. Ok, we could only take the top section which was tracked but some soft lines if you cut it really tight to the trees on the right. The exit via Megasaurus was slow but anything else just looked too ugly.

Good beers with buddies and then a hot tub as this has now been repaired, just what I needed after today. Looks like more of the same tomorrow.

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