Saturday, December 26, 2015

Day 16 all a bit tougher today

There was a certain amount of debate as to why the conditions today seemed a bit tougher. Was it that there was no new snow and the hill was a little tracked up ? Was it that in the very cold conditions we were all bundled up and our muscles were cold and not working so well ? Was it because we got unbelievably drunk last night over an excellent Christmas dinner with our buddies ? You decide.

Overnight things got cold, we had no new snow and on the way to the hill this morning we were registering temps of -20 in the truck. They said there was an inversion with temps about 10 degrees warmer on top and it is certainly true to say that things did warm up quite quickly so that very soon we had temps of about -12 all over the hill. It was high misty cloud to start with giving fairly flat light and as the day wore on it clouded over more and by the last run it was actually snowing quite hard although that does seem to have petered out in the valley this evening.

I had expected today to be a complete zoo with the start of the holiday crowds but not so. If anything it was rather quieter than a usual Saturday and whilst the parking lots seemed to be quite busy at no time did I have to line up at any lift anywhere on the hill.

For rather obvious reasons we started about an hour late this morning and I headed over to the Old Side as I thought the light might be better there. I did two loops of Snake Ridge which skied very soft in the top section but is getting a bit bumpy in the narrow newly cut pitch. The exit was through Kangaroo which is getting rather icy on the drop to the cat track and at the bottom there were several new moose tracks which suggests that moosey didn't head off to Cedar Valley as I thought after I saw her a few days ago. The loops were completed through Boomerang which was soft and chopped up powder on a firm base.

As a final loop before lunch I headed out to Steep and Deep which I had tried about 10 days ago and found it too twiggy. This time it was really good deep lightly tracked powder most of the way down. My mistake was to try and exit via the chute on skiers right into Lower Gorby. It was very twiggy and finding away through took a fair bit of bushwhacking. Exits for lunch once again were through Kangaroo and Boomerang.

After lunch I headed to the New Side, Polar peak had just opened and I felt obliged to give it a try. In Papa Bear there was bit of blow in but the light was very poor and flat. I would have skied it several times but the ride up in the chair was about the coldest I have ever known. Even though I was dressed for it (fleece balaclava, 5 layers, boot gloves and hot shots in the mitts) I could only manage one ride up and that was my lot for the day. After that  I just did standard New Side loops -
Cougar Glades - ok tracked up powder. Below the cat track I tried the exit left chute which was deep snow and just about skiable but so many alders that it was difficult to get any kind of flow going.
Decline - I figured I needed a rest and just hit the run top to bottom and it was very mellow soft skiing.
The Brain/Window Chutes - Top of the Brain was a little more tracked up than yesterday but there was still plenty of soft snow. Window Chutes were tracked up but soft although rather scratchy in the choke.
Touque Chutes/Spinal Tap - The top of the chutes are becoming icy on the old rain base which I think is going to be something of a feature for the remainder of the season. Spinal Tap remains deep but a few twigs in the lower section.

Drops to White Pass from Timber were usually down Lift Line which was starting to become slick in places but last time I hiked up to Mitchy Chutes which were very soft and deep until the lower chokes which were pretty icy and twiggy.

Last run was Skydive which was just as it has been but with more tracks than before. Soft snow in the top section, nice undulating bumps in the middle and the lower section is still twiggy but getting better every day.

Now after a hot tub an early night and a (comparatively) sober one while deck temps are showing -15. Tomorrow should be another rather tougher day but good fun.

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