Thursday, April 9, 2015

Day 126 a very warm day eventually

As a measure of just how warm things are getting I am typing this report sitting on my front deck at 6:45 in the evening in the warm setting sunshine with temps of +15 showing on the  thermometer, now that's warm.

It was -1 on the way to the hill today but conditions were bluebird. When you say that there was not a cloud in the sky all day you are usually indulging in a bit of hype but today that was true. Not one cloud was seen all day except for some distant clouds visible from the top of Polar Peak where you can see about a million miles, so that hardly counts. As a result things warmed up.

During the morning it got up to +10 at the White Pass load and +6 at the Polar load which were very similar temps to yesterday. The surprising thing was that whilst the surfaces softened very quickly yesterday, today they took much more time, at least an hour in some cases. We couldn't work out why that might be and speculated that it may have something to do with how cold it got last night or the moisture content of the snow but in truth we were guessing - the facts was that it took longer for things to warm up and soften today.

We went to the New Side and found that things were hard and ugly off the groomers but the groomers themselves were skiing ok. We looped around White Pass waiting for things to soften but a couple of forays into the Gun Bowl proved that we were pushing our luck a bit early and things were very churned up crusty ice for the most part. Polar Peak was open and as the Coaster looked in good shape we went to have a look. The plan was to do a couple of loops on the Coaster and then run back to the White Pass load via Trespass Trail which should still be very slick and that is exactly what we did. Polar Coaster was just starting to soften and was easy skiing which convinced us that the White Pass loops would also have softened.

After the run back to White Pass we found that there had been a lot of softening in the Gun Bowl and the I bowl and did three or four loops back through these getting soft spring skiing which still had some remnants of icy chunks if you weren't careful. We decided to go back to Polar Peak on the grounds that things should have softened up there but as already stated the softening was taking much longer everywhere for reasons that no one really seemed to be able to explain.

Polar Peak had softened but we still only had the Coaster side so it was two drops of the Clown Chutes and two drops of Shale slope all of which had got soft and skied very nicely in the direct sunlight. The ski down to the chair under the lift was always just on the crusty side of easy but on balance was ok skiing. We dropped to lunch through Easter Bowl which was good winter skiing in the top part and ok soft crud in the bottom. The ski out through lower Lizard was nowhere near as bad as it has been.

Over lunch we got the word that they had opened the Polar Chutes (only for the sixth time this year by my reckoning) so we were straight back up there after lunch. We just kept looping Polar either by Grand Papa Bear which was excellent soft skiing if a little chunky in the top or Papa Bear which was ok soft skiing but a rather lumpy traverse to get back to the chair. After numerous loops (we genuinely lost count) we ran down Mama Bear in excellent soft hardly tracked snow but some big slough debris in the bottom and then ripped a fast line back to White Pass via Trespass Trail.

We just had time for a White Pass loop through Gun Bowl and I bowl in super soft and super slow snow before it was time to ski off the hill again. We took the Reverse Traverse out to Skydive and hit the right hand side of the top section which seemed to have some good soft lightly tracked winter snow down to about two turns above the Megasaurus Trail when it all went a bit crusty - we exited on Megasarus.

Far too many beers on the locals deck of the Griz in unbelievably warm sun. As a measure, I am finishing now at about 7:30 on my deck and it is about + 14 and I am still sitting out in my sweatshirt and ski underwear. Not sure what tomorrow may hold but I bet it won't be as warm as today.

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