Friday, April 10, 2015

Day 127 a warm up without sunshine ?

Yes, things can get warm without direct sun light ( at least not for the first part of the day) and this makes for interesting ski conditions particularly on parts of the hill that have been north facing, or in the shade for other reason up until now.

Overnight things didn't really get that cold and it was +1 when we arrived at the hill. Conditions were overcast and we had light rain/snow off and on as we arrived. During the morning things settled down to overcast with flat light but temps getting up to +6 at the White Pass load and +4 at the Polar Peak load. With no direct sunlight we had atmospheric warming which tended to soften everything regardless of it's aspect and turned everything to mush quite quickly. In the afternoon we had some periods of sun between clouds but this only had a marginal effect on temps and for the most part the atmospheric warming and consequent softening of the snow continued all day.

We went to the Old Side just for a change and found everything softening straight off the bat. Bear, Arrow and all across Lizard bowl was soft and skiing ok but the run back to Bear load was all ploughed in artificial snow and just about good enough for the purpose of keeping the track open. The only really interesting skiing was when we tried the Sunny Side shoulder which was ok soft snow on a firm base but there were some navigation issues in the tight alders but overall it was ok. Could be the last time on the Old Side this year so we had a moment's silence before heading to the New Side.

We tried a couple of White Pass loops and found that the Gun Bowl and the I bowl were softening but not as quick as the stuff on the Old Side. It took several loops before we were happy that things were soft and so naturally we then moved on to Polar Peak. We only looped Polar a couple of times, once through the Coaster (everything else was closed and it was smooth and soft) and once through the Clown Chutes where Crusty skied well after a lively entrance. The run off for lunch was through Easter Bowl and I have to admit that the Traverse out convinced me that skiing Concussion would have been good if you didn't have the prospect of Trespass Trail as a ski out hanging over you after you skied it. Easter was getting a little mushy but was ok.

After lunch it was back up the New Side to try Lift Line from Timber top which was good in the top and very sticky low down. Gun Bowl was super soft and Surprise Trees held up better than I expected and was ok soft skiing. I moved on to Polar Peak and did some loops of Crusty chute (still soft) and then cutting back under the chair which was chopped up soft crud and therefore and easy ski on the DPS's - soft full rocker skis do have their place. We ran to base through Decline which was good on the central spine where there had been more skier traffic - it was softening nicely. The exit was via a slow Megasaurus Trail and a sketchy Old Side ski off.

We just had time for a couple more Polar Peak loops when we got up the New Side and I stuck to Crusty (still soft) and under the lift (getting softer) for the two loops we had. We were last chair up before they closed and part of me hopes that we don't get Polar Peak again for the rest of the season. I got first tracks down Polar when they opened at the start of the season and have just got last tracks down at the end. It would be kind of nice if it ended that way but if not last tracks will still be up for grabs.

The run back to White Pass after Polar closed was through a very soft and mellow Currie Powder and an incredibly slow and sticky Trespass Trail. We were so late and so slow that we only had time to go up White Pass and take the Reverse Traverse for the ski off - we have only had to download Timber twice this year when Currie was closed and as long as there is away to ski off the hill we will be skiing it. I wouldn't go as far as my buddy Miles and say that "downloading is for pussies" but I do tend towards that school of thinking. We took a final run down Skydive in the name of tradition with a Megasaurus ski off. It was not bad mushy skiing but I suspect Easter would have been better. In the event we had no choice as it was Dan's last day skiing (he is working the next two days) so we had to finish with Skydive - at least part of it anyway.

Some beers in an unbelievably quiet Griz Bar considering it's a Friday. Wet snow called for overnight and personally I'll take anything we get.

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