Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Day 124 winter and summer in one day

 Yes, today we had a morning of winter and an afternoon of summer which I guess is not entirely unheard of at this time of the year.

Before starting tonight I do have to apologise to regular followers if my posts over the past few days have been a bit repetitive. The problem is that with the limited terrain we have had the skiing is a bit repetitive. With only Lizard open on the Old Side, skiing there (other than the ski out from Easter) has held no attraction for me so I haven't been skiing there. On the New Side Polar Peak has been closed on the top and everything below Trespass Trail at the bottom so all we have had loops on White Pass in Timber bowl, Currie back along Trespass Trail and the Reverse Traverse out to Easter as a ski off. Put bluntly there are only so many ways to describe skiing this terrain and given that this has been all we have had for over a week it is hard to see that the blog could be anything other than repetitive as that is exactly what the skiing has been. Luckily today brought a change..........

Overnight we had snow and the report was showing 12 cms in the last 24 hours although I guess a lot of that fell during the day yesterday and the true overnight figure was probably around 5 cms.  It was -2 when we arrived at the hill and stayed well below zero all over the New Side all morning. Conditions were overcast and we had flurries during the course of the morning. On the way to a quite late lunch we discovered that things were warming up down low in clearing skies. In the afternoon things went bluebird and temps warmed so that by the end of the day it was +11 at the base and temps of +5 even at the Polar Load. Predictably the winter powder snow conditions of the morning turned to mushy spring skiing by late afternoon.

We went to the New Side and had a great lightly tracked run down Lift Line in deep powder. We had been tipped by a patroller buddy that Corner Pocket was skiing well and it certainly was. The light was a bit flat in the top but it was great untracked deep powder down to the Easter Bowl cut out and then some just as good skiing in untracked snow in the trees on skiers left of Easter - a spectacular start to the day.

Next loop I cut across Big Bang and dropped into the soft snow on skiers right on the way down to White Pass which was so good that was the way I went for the rest of the day. We were just pushing out across the Reverse Traverse as in our opinion this was going to give us the best and most powder skiing without have to traverse or walk at the end of the pitch - I have heard some good reports from other parts of the hill but on balance I think our call was sound. The rest of the morning was -
Decline top - untracked and spectacular powder skiing, we cut first tracks back along the Megasaurus Trail.
Skydive top - also untracked and even more spectacular and deep than Decline but a slightly harder job to work out along Megasaurus.
Lone Fir - only two tracks in front of me and untracked in the fan below which was the best and deepest untracked snow of the day. The run down through Easter left side in the trees was mostly untracked and really very good.
All these loops were finished through lower Lizard which was actually quite smooth and way better than yesterday.

Polar Peak opened and we did 4 loops either on Shale Slope (always very icy in places) or the Coaster (not as icy as it has been but only ok) but always coming back under the lift which was great deep snow always with untracked lines available. For our final run off to what had become a very late lunch we tried the top of the Brain which unsurprisingly was untracked although you had to pick some unusual lines to avoid dead fall and the final drop onto the trail out on Megasaurus was a pretty big drop.

During lunch it became apparent that temps were rising fast in bluebird conditions and the winter powder of the morning was going to turn to spring mush. We went back to the New Side and straight back up Polar Peak to see what had changed. Shale slope was now soft and smooth and very easy steep skiing. They had opened the Clown Chutes and Crusty was a very mellow run after a slightly exciting entrance. We alternated these options all afternoon but always running back under the Polar Chair in soft spring snow.

When Polar closed we ran down the Polar Chutes to Currie Powder which was really good spring snow before heading back round Trespass Trail which didn't suck as much as we expected to get back to the White Pass load. We just had time for a White Pass loop and after a mushy Gun Bowl we traversed out to Surprise Trees which were amazingly untracked and far better skiing than we expected.

Last run and we were warned that the Reverse Traverse had been closed beyond the High Saddle (which we knew had been trashed) so it was either a down load on Timber or drop Corner Pocket which we also knew would be scraped out. We went for Corner Pocket which had all the tires exposed so the only way through was to let ourselves down on the rope and jump the last two turns, which is what we did. The skiing below was still very good as long as you didn't get in the stuff in the shadow on the left which was starting to set up with s crust on top. As it turned out it was great last run down to Dancer and then a ski off in the mushy conditions on the lower hill.

Beers with buddies on the locals deck in the sun ended a very good day. I have a horrible feeling that we have seen the last of winter for this year and we will be on warm temps for the remaining days of the season, but who knows, I could be pleasantly surprised.

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