Friday, March 6, 2015

Day 92 much better skiing but for how long

My question is prompted by the fact that the much better skiing came as a result of a return to spring skiing with everything becoming soft in the afternoon. The problem is that this has the effect of tearing up the remaining ski surface very badly which in a normal year doesn't matter but this year with a base of 138 cms you have to wonder just how many days of spring skiing the hill can take. Even today after just on day of warmth all the ski outs were getting very brown and mushy, and put simply won't be able to take much more of the same.

On the deck this morning it was only -3 and by the time we headed to the hill it was +2. This trend continued all day and I saw temps of +6 at the White Pass load and even +2 at the Polar load during the day. Of course there was no new snow and things were bluebird but that tends to go without saying this year. Up on Polar Peak there was a strong cold wind gusting 70 kts in the morning which threatened to close the chair but by the afternoon things had settled a little and even with a fairly strong wind the direct sunlight was having some softening effect.

For whatever reason I went to the New Side and stayed there all day. This may not have been a great idea as in the bar tonight more than one buddy said that Snake Ridge was skiing very well on the Old Side but then that's just how things go. First thing it was cold hard icy conditions everywhere you went and most of the groomers were still wind scoured from yesterday. We found Polar Peak open and went straight there - well, actually the Polar Chutes were closed as were the Clown Chutes and Shale slope so I effect all we had was the Coaster and everything below the cat track. We looped the Coaster which was slick ice and the run under the chair which was hard crunchy crud 3 times before heading to base the usual way. We got the first sign that things were changing in the top of Diamond Back where the surface was actually getting quite soft.

We got back to White Pass and put in several loops always through the Gun Bowl which was crunchy first time through but after that just got softer all the time and was great skiing for about 6 loops. Lower down we did a couple of Quite Right groomers fast but the best fun was in the I bowl were we found several good ways down in ugly crunch that was just beginning to soften. It's always amusing to see that loop after loop yours are the only new tracks showing. We did do one big push out to the sign line just this side of Surprise Trees which was just about acceptable crunch starting to turn to mush so not all that bad.

It was back up Polar Peak for three more loops where we noticed the Coaster was getting much softer as was the skiing surface under the chair - almost mellow in places. Time for lunch.

After lunch I went back to the New Side and put in several White Pass loops through the Gun Bowl and the I bowl which were becoming super soft easy skiing but for some reason no one was going in there. That soon changed and when I found ski school groups starting to appear in these areas I felt it was time to move on. I went to Polar and did about 10 loops of the very soft Coaster and then the under lift run with many variations all of which were getting softer to a greater or lesser (particularly by the left sign line) degree. I did intend to vary things a bit but the skiing was so good I just kept on looping.

Having made my last Polar chair with 30 seconds to spare I ran back round Trespass Trail to White Pass and had time for just one more run to base. As it has been since forever (or so it seems) it was Down Right (poor light but nice skiing) Trespass Trail (still quite slick on the corner but otherwise ok) Diamond Back (getting rather soft in the top) Summer Road (very soft and melted with patches starting to show) Lower Sib Ridge (still in pretty good shape and straight lineable for me after two turns).

Beers and good ski banter in the bar afterwards with several buddies. I expect tomorrow will be spring skiing - today's stuff boiler plate first thing becoming soft later in the dayand as I said, I am not sure how much of that the hill can take.

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