Monday, March 9, 2015

Day 95 Captain's log supplemental

Those fans of the original Star Trek series (and let's face it is there really any other one) will remember that this is what Captain James T Kirk would always preface his entries in his log with when basically he had forgotten something. Well. the same goes for me. Over the past couple of days it occurs to me that I have missed out a couple of small but important runs that I took and life would not be complete if I didn't correct those omissions and gave credit to the hill for new openings.

Two days ago I should have mentioned that they opened Surprise Trees for the first time in God knows how long and we went out and skied it after one of our Knot Chute drops. It was just about ok with soft stuff in the light and a bit stiffer in the shadows under the trees. Yesterday for the first time in ages one of the Clown Chutes (and just one, Crusty) was open off Polar Peak late afternoon. It was a fairly steep drop in but skied very soft in the chute with some rather chunky soft death cookies - now everyone is up to date.

Today it was just about minus temps overnight but +4 on the way to the hill. During the day it was bluebird to start with but some high cloud during the day clearing back to bluebird by the end. All over the hill we were seeing plus temps such as +8 at the White Pass load and +3 at Polar load although there was a strong cold wind which threatened to close Polar Chair (cut off velocity is 70 kph) everything was getting soft very fast and staying that way. When Lynda drove to the hill to meet me tonight (she only skied a half day) she was getting +14 readings on the truck and other sources confirm this was probably just about right.

The effect of these temps on the hill was fairly predictable in that everything softened (particularly those surfaces facing the sun) very quickly and even those surfaces in the shade softened to some degree in the atmospheric warming. We went to the Old Side and after a rip down the Bear (which is actually becoming very Bare) to confirm the conditions we had three or four loops on Sunny Side shoulder which was nice and soft but getting a bit twiggy.

We spent the rest of the morning looping Snake Ridge three times with slightly different lines all of which skied very easily on a smooth corn snow base. We had to ski out back to Lower Cedar Centre which rather surprisingly was rather good and taking an edge. Loops back were through Lower Linda's which was getting thin and Boom bowl where they dropped the fence just as I got there and skied just beautifully and soft on the sun affected skiers left.

Before a late lunch we headed to the New Side for a Peak to Creek run (Polar Peak to Lizard Creek) and found some great skiing, One Clown Chute (Crusty) was open and I dropped in. It was steep in the top and today there was a huge exposed rock just where you wanted to drop. In the event I dropped below the rock giving me far more speed than I actually wanted but bleeding it off through the soft snow in the chute was good fun,. We cut all the way across and took Goldilocks which was hardly tracked. On a whim I skied out and traversed into the top of Skydive where I had not been for more than a month and where I knew the skiing would be testing. There was one set of tracks in ahead of me which I guess belonged to Patrol. The top two sections were ok hard surfaces which were not too uneven and just about took an edge with some sift which was rather slabby. The final pitch was real piece of work with lots of undergrowth although probably no worse than lower Boom Ridge but at least soft. The final exit was made loads of fun by the groomers having stripped out the snow to push down the hill so the exit tracks were hard work and needed very precise skiing to get through - just the sort of thing I like.

After a late lunch it was back up White Pass for a Knot Chute/I bowl loop (Tight Knot of course) and then on to a couple of Polar loops through the Coaster and under the lift. We ran to base through Spirit Bear and Alpha Centauri which by now were soft easy skiing. The ski off was ok but Lower Sib Ridge only has a day or two of life left in it if I am any judge of the situation. We went back to the Knot Chutes but after a couple of loops we decided it was time to go when all the ski school groups showed up. Another Polar loop and a run to base through Goldilocks/Alpha Centauri and it was time for last run.

With Skydive now available there was obviously only one way to come off the hill at 4 o'clock although there were only two takers today - good to see you there Steve. To describe what we did down Skydive as a rip would be overstating the case but we came down in pretty good order and a lot faster than my earlier run having skied it earlier in the day and now knowing what to expect. Great to be finishing on Skydive once again but the only tracks in there in front of us were the morning's tracks of me and the Patrol and it certainly isn't for the faint hearted.

Good beers on the locals deck in the sun and then we decamped to the Rusty Edge to take advantage of their beer and burger deal for 10 bucks. I have to say that when you get these kind of deals the burger often is a bit sub standard to put it mildly but not in this case. The burger was excellent quality as were the fries and this looks like the outstanding deal of the season to me - we will be back next week. The hill is still on the edge of falling apart in the lower sections and it remains to be seen what they will have for us tomorrow.

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