Monday, April 6, 2015

Day 123 Wow, this really is winter

This morning was Easter Monday and in normal circumstances you would have expected it to be a full on holiday event on the hill. As it turned out it was quieter than a normal Monday both on the hill and in the bar afterwards which was all the more surprising as the conditions had switched back to full on winter with new snow and all that goes with that.

We woke up to find that there had been no new snow over night but it was snowing even in the valley. It was -2 as we drove to the hill and all day temps stayed well below zero all over the hill and had only got to +1 as we drove away this evening. Conditions were overcast with flurries all day becoming very hard in the afternoon and some serious snow accumulations starting to build up. As you would expect from the conditions, yesterday's softened snow hardened up to a very ribby icy base and the new snow which may have accumulated about 10 cms during the day only started to make a difference later in the day.

We went to the New Side where conditions were predictably socked in and the cloud base only lifted a little during the morning before setting in low and thick for the whole afternoon. Lift line skied soft on a firm base as did most of the places we skied during our White Pass loops - Gun Bowl, Quite Right, High Line and Pillow Talk all skied well in these conditions as the snow piled up. We pushed out on the Idiot Traverse and cut first tracks into Surprise Trees which involved climbing through a thigh deep windrow just before Surprise. It was a toss up between Anaconda and Surprise with Surprise winning - not a great choice as it proved to be some soft blow in on a very icy base and quite hard work.

Next loop and the two that followed were Anaconda Glades ( just awesome soft skiing where you had to ski hard to beat your slough) and the ski along Trespass Trail which was slow and just sucked like always. Time for lunch so we went out along the Reverse Traverse in poor viz but good new snow and then decided to take the top of Decline which was soft and untracked and great skiing before heading to base down the Megasaurus Trail which was ok but hard work.

After lunch we settled it to a pattern of New Side loops where we dropped Lift Line (getting deeper and softer all the time and although closed high up Big Bang was smooth and just awesome) Looped back through various routes in White Pass  and then dropped to base via various lines out in the top of the Big 3. The White Pass loops included Surprise Trees ( at last starting to get enough soft snow to make it good) Gun Bowl (poor light but deep dust on crust) Pillow Talk ( good soft snow on top and even better after the drop into High Line under the lift) and Milky Way Trees (hit late in the day so it was really good deep skiing and even linked well back into a very soft Puff) plus several other lines too numerous to mention, but all getting good and deep.

The Big 3 drops were either Decline - easy untracked skiing on the edges with some slightly firmer stuff low down. Skydive - only a couple of tracks in front and some really great soft lines all over the run. Just once we dropped the top section of the Brain which was great untracked skiing in tight tree lines and a big drop off towards the end of the pitch - a bit of an adrenaline rush that you would not have wanted to miss. Every time we worked our way out along the Megasaurus trail which worked ok and gave us a ski off through lower Lizard which was hard and bumpy but sucked a lot less than we thought it would.

For the final run we did yet one more run across the Reverse Traverse which by this time was starting to ski almost soft in places. The final drop down Decline seemed a bit harder than before for reasons none of us could properly understand but was still pretty good.

It had been snowing more or less all afternoon and the snow was continuing to build up. As we sat in the bar the snow was still coming down even in the valley and temps were only just above zero. The forecast is for another 7 cms overnight which on top of what we have had today could make for some good conditions straight off the bat tomorrow. Time for an early night.

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