Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Day 117 and we are still getting some ok skiing on the New Side

In fairness I have to say that I can't comment on the Old Side as the only time I venture over there is to ski out of Easter or the Saddles but from what I have seen the upper parts of Lizard look ok and the lower parts and the ski out just suck with ugly refrozen mush going through to earth in many places - that is why I am spending my days on the New Side.

There was no new snow overnight and on the way to the hill it was + 3 which was way cooler than the past few days. It was overcast with some sunny periods but forecast to cloud over during the day and give us some possible precip in the afternoon. I decided to ski in my fleece for the first part of the day and switch to a jacket as and when conditions demanded. In the event I was down to base to change into my jacket pretty early as the conditions cooled on top. At times during the morning it warmed to +8 at the White Pass load but later in the day things cooled so we had +3 at White Pass and only just plus temps at the Polar load - things must have been way cooler in the wind affected areas on Polar Peak.

Puff was rather firm but ok skiing as a warm up for the day. Polar peak wasn't open so we looped White Pass several times finding that the snow in Gun Bowl had set up a bit but was still soft enough for easy skiing. High Line, Quite Right and the I bowl all skied as easy softening crust turning to rather mushy conditions lower down as we continued to loop. It was getting cold so I had decided to run to base to pick up my jacket and my buddy had decided to pick up and bury his lunch for tomorrow - think about it. As we got to the top of White Pass we noticed that Polar Peak had opened so we ran to base via drop down Papa Bear which was much crisper than yesterday but still skied ok taking a nice edge. Final drop was Easter Bowl which was firm but good GS skiing in my view before hitting lower Lizard which was just soft sketchy and ugly.

Having put on appropriate clothing we went back up the New Side and linked up with several buddies to head to Polar Peak. We had numerous loops - Papa Bear ( always nice and smooth and some great fast easy skiing) Grand Papa Bear (much the same as Papa Bear but a little more crusty) Barely Legal ( really very good all the way down but you had to pay attention in the edge to edge jumps in the exit chutes due to all the sloughing). The Clown Chutes were a nice surprise as it was icy and hard in the cold wind affected snow all the way down to the entrance but once you jumped in it was soft and mellow skiing all the way through. We ran to a very late lunch via the little chute on the right of Mama Bear which everyone misses and was untracked - at one time they were even calling it Bill's chute as no one else seems to go in there and it was good untracked snow today. Easter bowl had softened a little and was skiing even better than before.

We had a late lunch and it was just as well that we had brought our own as the day lodge closed half an hour earlier than usual and we would have been too late had we been relying on the usual service. In the afternoon we went back to Polar Peak and found that things were getting a lot colder in the freshening wind and the light was deteriorating as precip of some kind was certainly threatening. The result was that the top of Papa Bear was getting hard and icy but it remained good low down. Grand Papa Bear was now hard and icy and quite tough. The Clown Chutes were still soft after dropping off the icy cornice.

As Polar closed we had a great rip down to Currie Powder via Papa Bear which was so mellow and smooth that you could just crank up the GS turns almost without limit. We had a bit of a sticky run back via Trespass Trail to White Pass load and a final White Pass loop through Gun Bowl (still soft and good) and then Surprise Trees which were in surprisingly good shape, only being too soft in the exposed faces at the top and every where else reasonably firm. The final run to base was through Low Saddle which had firmed up from yesterday but was still soft and taking an edge - from there I cut into Easter which was yet again a great firm skiing surface where you could just let it rip.

We had some great beers and celebrated my buddy Dan buying some new skis - there are some good bargains to be had at the moment. As we drove home it was +3 and it had started to precip coming down as a very wet icy/rain mix which may reflect some more encouraging conditions further up the hill.

A Warning - tomorrow is Hot Dog Day when we dress in 1980's ski gear to celebrate the truly dreadful ski/soft porn movie of that name. Another activity is that we get unbelievably drunk starting early in the morning and finishing when we fall over. As a result of this there may be no report tomorrow or worse still, there might be ! I ask for everyone's indulgence for the absence of a report or the presence of one which at best will be total bollocks even if I manage to find the "publish" button. Normal service will be resumed on Thursday.

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