Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Day 96 the good that cometh out of evil

Yes, more biblical stuff from me in support of an account of a good day's skiing. The evil of course was another really warm day which had the hill continuing to dribble away to nothing at least a month ahead of time. The good that comethed was that this warm weather allowed the Polar Chutes to be opened for the first time this season all the way across from Grand Papa Bear to Goldilocks and for them to stay open all day from the time they were first opened at about 11 this morning.

No new snow over night and on the way to the hill it was -1 which is why we didn't rush ourselves to get there. It was a bluebird day (as usual) and temps started to rise quickly in the direct sunlight and even quite fast in the shade. During the day I noticed temps of +10 at the White Pass load, +3 at the Polar load and significant plus temps everywhere else. Even on the drive away from the hill after several beers (Lynda was dd of course) it was still +12.

The result of all this was that things started to soften fast and stay that way all day. Bear was soft early on and getting thin. We looped Sunny Side shoulder several times and it was soft straight off the bat and downright mushy after the fourth loop. A trip out to Snake Ridge confirmed that we had hit it dead right and the surface was just starting to soften on a hard frozen base (classic corn snow conditions) and we had a great rip down but had to cut out to Cedar Centre which was skiing slick but ok. Loops were through Lower Linda's (very ribby and with bare patches) and Boom bowl which was also great soft melted snow skiing.

Next Snake loop was a bit softer so the next time through I went adventuring into Gorby Bowl which was soft flat corn snow and then cut left into Steep and Deep which was much the same and great skiing. I didn't think there would be an exit from Steep and Deep so I did some bush whacking on the hard left to get back into Redtree which was rather icy and not much good. Returns to the Bear were via the normal route described above and as most of the morning had gone we decide to head to the New Side.

At the Timber load we were told that the Polar Chutes had just opened for the first time this year so we headed there as quickly as possible. The sun had softened the snow in the chutes and everything up on Polar was not only skiable but skiing just about as easily as I can ever remember the chutes skiing. Put simply, if you couldn't ski the Polar Chutes in the mellow condition that they were in today then you never will be able to.  We looped so many times that I lost count, but at least 3x Papa Bear, 3x Grand Papa Bear and 3x Barely Legal -  think it was actually more than that but I don't want to get carried away. They were all great soft snow on a firm base and easy mellow spring skiing.

We ran to a very late lunch well after 2 o'clock via Spirit Bear which you could access without having to negotiate the usual rock garden and it skied so sweet. We skied off the hill via Decline as my guess was that the lower section would be better than Skydive and I was right. There were no tracks in Decline and the top half was wind slab on a hard base which skied ok. The bottom half softened up to the point where it was taking a nice edge on a firm base and the only problem were the alders which were quite thick but way better than on Skydive - last little pitch was mostly clear and awesome skiing on soft snow on a firm base.

After Lunch we just had time for two loops on Polar - Grand Papa (just starting to set up) and Spirit Bear (just as good as before) before we took Trespass Trail back to White Pass. There was just time for a White Pass rip before we headed out and finished with another run down Decline which if anything skied even better than before. In the name of tradition we did consider Skydive but Decline was so much better that the head took control over the heart and Decline it was.

Of course beers on the sun deck and thoughts on the future. Sib Ridge on the New Side is almost finished as a ski off and it looks like only Falling Star may be available by the end of the week. this could come to a head in the next two days when we have precip in the forecast and from the anticipated temps it won't be coming down as snow. No problem for me as the Big Three still are in good shape, if a bit challenging, so they will be my route off the hill if things go pear shaped - let's see.

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