Monday, March 30, 2015

Day 115 and the hill makes come back big time

Yes, you may have thought that after yesterday the hill was finished but today it made a great fight back albeit with only limited terrain available. Today on the Old Side we only had Lizard Bowl with the Elk Chair and the Bear Chair but as my only experience of it was skiing out of Easter bowl I can't make much comment. From what I saw they had done great work to keep the ski off functional but apart from that I can't say much.

They were calling 7 cms of snow at the snow plot in the last 24 hours but I guess most of this fell yesterday in the winter storms but it may have been supplemented by the blow in from the very strong winds that were evident as having hit the upper mountain over night. On the way to the hill it was +4 at the base and overcast, and remained so all day. Actually it did start to rain a little at the base and flurrie lightly off and on all day but this did no more than preserve the existing snow rather than produce any more new snow.

We went to the New Side as I suspected it had got new snow yesterday and not much traffic. As I discovered from a couple of sources just as I left the hill yesterday having established that the New Side was not loading - they started loading. A good buddy of mine estimated that they opened Timber about 30 seconds after I turned away and left - ah well, that's the way things go. In the overall scheme of things I guess I have nothing to complain about.

Puff was crusty and we worried that this was going to be the pattern for the day. When we got up White Pass we discovered that the snow up on top was all soft and deep wind sift with no significant tracking. We looped White Pass several time always either through the Gun Bowl or the Knot chutes at the top and in both places the snow was soft deep and hardly tracked. It has to be a good day for Lynda to want to ski the Knot Chutes repeatedly but this was one of those days. Lower down it was ok becoming a little crusty although the crust was starting to soften even quite early in the day.

We saw that Polar Peak had opened and we went up only to find that the viz was very poor. The ridge and the Coaster were the only way down and they were ugly ice crust. Even after traversing under the lift and to the fence line the snow was only patchy soft spots in a hard ice base. After a couple of loops we decide to run to base via Easter bowl. I was bit worried about the bridge above Currie Creek which was pretty sketchy yesterday. I need not have worried as it had been repaired so that the traverse skied like an easy groomer in that place. I later learned that it had taken 2 and half hours of concerted shovelling by trail crew to get it in that shape and that was a fantastic effort - well done Deb and Annie. Easter bowl had a soft crust on some new snow which skied almost like powder and was a great run down.

Next time up Timber Puff skied much better from a combination of softening crust and skier traffic. We had debated doing more Knot Chute loops but when we got up we discovered that the Polar Chutes had opened and we were straight up there for only the third time this season. Papa Bear was just sensational with the line on the skiers right sheltered by the rock band being full of fresh snow which was being continually renewed by blow in. We looped back to the chair many times and just once I tried Barely Legal which was ok but rather icy through the chokes. Lynda kept insisting that we looped on so that it was about 2 o'clock before we headed down for lunch. This time we went out to Mama Bear which was still full of deep blow in but mostly untracked.

I side stepped up to take Lone Fir but after cutting the first side step tracks I found a close sign in the chute which may or may not have been intended but in those areas closed means closed. Second prize did not exactly suck with an untracked run down Cornice Chute then and untracked run down the top section of Decline which was very sweet but getting a little soggy in the last couple of turns. The ski out through Megasaurus Trail was slow and the ski off was very sketchy.

In the very curtailed afternoon I linked up with buddies Brad and Glen and we just continued to loop Polar Peak mostly through Papa Bear which was excellent but with one run through Barely Legal which as before was ok but no more. I noticed that the temp at Polar load was about zero where it had been all day and with the usual Polar ridge winds gave us full on winter conditions. Final run was Mama Bear which again was really deep and then a Currie ski out via Currie Glades (surprisingly good and lightly tracked but a bit mushy low down) and Trespass Trail which as always was a hard push. Final ski off was up to White Pass top and then out to Easter Bowl which had softened but was skiing as good spring skiing. The Old Side ski out was just as mushy and sketchy as in the morning.

An excellent evening in Griz with ski buddies full of good ski banter. The hill may yet hold more surprises for tomorrow - we have to hope.

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