Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Day 89 a few thoughts and a lot of time in the Fish Bowl

More of the Fish Bowl later. How many days have we had where the conditions have been bluebird (great viz in the direct sunlight and pretty poor every where else) no snow ( we had no snow over night) temps super cold ( well down into double figures) and everything staying bullet hard (nothing even began to soften today) - well. I guess I could check but it seems like most of February was like that and after brief hiccup yesterday when unaccountably we had some new snow, it looks like March is heading the same way if today is anything to go by. Actually the hill were only claiming 2 cms from yesterday's new snow which seems a little light to me and the base remains at 140 cms.

First of all a few thoughts. In 3 days time (Friday) we pass the point where my average cost of a day's skiing drops below 10 bucks a day - allowing for the price of my early bird pass plus tax. Normally this is an occasion for unconfined joy but this year I am not so sure. Given the conditions perhaps 10 bucks a day is no great bargain, come to think of it, if I get it below 8 a day by the end of the season it will represent no better than fair value as far as I am concerned and anyone on a higher average cost will have to make their own decision as to the value they have extracted this season.

Everyone loves to say how we always get the same amount of snow it's just when it comes that varies. Well. the next 7 days are forecast to give us just about zip by way of new snow. If you look at the remainder of the season and the average snowfall then we will need to get 20 cms per night every night for the rest of the season to give us to something like average. Anyone thinking this is even remotely likely please get in touch as I want to buy a bottle of whatever you are drinking.

It was very cold overnight and -14 on the way to the hill in bluebird conditions. Obviously it warmed up in the sun but nowhere up the mountain did I see anything warmer than -6 at any time and even as we drove back down the valley tonight it was -5. In the conditions light was good in the sun but in shadow (and on a North East facing hill there is plenty of that) it was very poor with some very flat conditions.

We ran around Lizard bowl looking for good stuff and just finding hard, icy but fast groomers. After a while we headed out the Red Tree which was very hard push in the cold conditions and not really that good. Just like yesterday it was sketchy and icy in the top but better lower down with some blow in. This gave me an idea of which more later. We went to the New Side and had the usual rips through the groomed areas of Puff, Quite Right and Heartland. Later I did try a run through Gun Bowl (it actually skied way better than I thought it would and there were some almost acceptable turns to be had in the blow in snow between the icy outcrops) and the I bowl (ugly ice with dust on crust even in the far end of the bowl which looked pretty good from the lift) before heading for lunch. Currie Powder/Trespass/Diamond Back/Summer Road/Sib Ridge were just as they have been - fast and testing but ok.

After lunch I had an idea. If the left of Red Tree was good through blow in the Fish Bowl would be even better plus, the cut back into Red Tree would be just about at the point where the snow softened and the skiing got good - I went off to test my theory. It isn't often a plan works out that well. First run into Fish on the near chutes was on a firm base covered with some good blow in and totally untracked. The creek bed half way down was full of soft snow and the traverse out onto the final pitch was easy. Last pitch down was untracked through the alders and the ski back into Red Tree could have been a lot worse. I laid fresh tracks in there over and over all afternoon Lower Red Tree was of course soft and easy.

I did 4 fish bowl loops never having to cross my tracks or anyone else's, in he circumstances a very good afternoon skiing. Just time at the end of the day for high speed rip to the New Side where Puff Trees and the cut right into Lift Line proved to be very challenging before an easy rip through Down Right and a ski off the hill non stop at high speed.

No chance of any new snow so we will have to be even more inventive tomorrow. As it is it's time for wings at the pub - good night.

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