Monday, December 21, 2015

Day 11 the longest shortest day ever

As most people will appreciate today as the solstice was the shortest day of the year and as we hit the hill at 9 and skied to the last chair which was at 4 we could not have made it much longer - case proved.

Last night's snow didn't come down in quite the quantities hoped for but we did get at least 16 cms out of the cycle with a significant proportion falling after close of play yesterday. Today dawned at about -2 in the valley and during the day temps rose so that we may have just got to +1 at the base for a short time but up on top we stayed at -4/5 most of the day and so the snow stayed in good shape. As we drove away from the hill tonight it was -3 so temps are starting to fall as forecast and things should stay in pretty good condition for the foreseeable future.

It was overcast for all of the day and the viz at the top of the hill came and went so we had conditions that ranged from ok to totally socked in and back again. We had flurries off and on all day so there was some accumulation but I doubt it was much more than 3 cms but with the base we already have this made for great skiing - the ski base at the snow plot is now about 175 cms and increasing daily.

We went to the New Side (sorry Old Side fans I really really promise to go there tomorrow) and found good deep untracked snow. The crowds were rather more than I expected for a Monday but I guess it was a combination of early Christmas vacationers and the local crowd taking advantage of the 20 centimetre (sort of ) rule. That having been said we didn't really have to line up and were able to find fresh tracks all day.

A lot of the morning was spent looping Knot Chutes and Surprise Trees as Currie Bowl was not open and White Pass was all that was available to us. The Knot Chutes were for the most part great deep skiing but the Jim Chute was hard blue ice ( something which is a clear under layer all over the hill) and not a lot of fun. Surprise Trees were great deep powder skiing anyway you wanted to try them.

Currie Bowl opened late morning and we had time for -
Cougar Glades/Stag Leap - there were a couple of tracks in Cougar Glades ahead of us but they soon disappeared in the many lines you could take. We all had untracked lines in awesome tree skiing down to the Megasaurus Trail. After that we cut into lower Stag Leap which was all but untracked and getting much better in the lower pitch which is now totally skiable.
Decline/Window Chutes - The top of Decline was lightly tacked soft powder and Window Chutes were deep and untracked in the drop in and very deep soft snow all the way through the chute.
Skydive - great deep powder and terrain hugging skiing all the way down and the lower section becoming less twiggy every run.

Lunch. After lunch we went to the New Side and continued to drop from Timber Top the White Pass load through Lift Line, Big Bang, Puff Trees or some combination of all of the above which were very good skiing. The rest of the afternoon ( which I am having trouble remembering) was -
Lone Fir/Easter Bowl - a bit scratchy in the lower section of the chute but with some excellent skiing on the soft snow roll underneath and all the way down Easter Bowl.
Knot Chutes/Anaconda/Bootleg Glades - the Knot chute still had plenty of soft snow. We hit the 5 chute in Anaconda and had mostly untracked deep snow all the way down. Bootleg was untracked in the chutes to the left of the main Glades so we trashed them, the ski out was very mellow and soft.
Low Saddle - the entrance was blue ice and made for 3 or 4 rather exciting turns before we could cut right into some deep untracked chutes. The ski out through Easter and Freeway was great if a little twiggy in the bottom.
Touque chutes/Spinal Tap - considering how late in the day we skied these the initial drop in was remarkably untracked. Spinal Tap was way better than two days ago and even if the creek bed was not fully filled in the shoulders were great very deep snow and all the dead fall does appear to have been removed.
Stag Leap - It suddenly occurred to us that we hadn't skied Stag Leap all the way down, just cutting in from Cougar Glads up until now. We remedied this with a straight drop of the top of Skydive and found the trees at the top full of deep snow and perfectly spaced. The rest of the run was only lightly tracked deep snow and even the last pitch was just about acceptable.

We just had time for a quick Whute Pass loop to fill in time before catching pretty well the last chair to the top and then traverse across to Skydive. I hit Skydive top to bottom in one shot for the first time this year and it was great. Beers in the Griz ans an early night. Forecasts are very undecided on just how much snow we are going to get in the next 24 but rest assured no matter how much or little it is we will be out there playing in it.

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