Thursday, December 31, 2015

Day 21 An awesome day for all sorts of reasons

Lets establish that the reasons that today was awesome was nothing to do with new snow or deep powder, it was everything to do with the conditions that were created by the the weather and the great skiing that resulted.

On the way to the hill it was -13 and overcast with valley cloud but the promise of clear skies on top was evident from the colouring of the sky. Overnight they were reporting a couple of cms of fresh snow and just like yesterday we had light flurries off and on all day none of which gave us anything like an accumulation of snow. Temps stayed cold all over the hill and for example it was always around -16 at the Polar Load but with the moist air and wind the wind chill temps on that lift had to be around -25.

I went to the New Side and headed straight up Polar Peak. As I said it was cold but the cloud tops were just below the peak and I have never seen the cloud tops look so flat - it was like a carpet just below your feet. The viz above was the best I have ever seen and you must have been able to see clear to North Pole with the peaks poking up through the thick flat cloud tops. There were all manner of amazing sights up top. Angel Dust, Sun Dogs, Circular Rainbows, rings round the Sun etc. The best thing was a flow of clouds coming over Currie Head wall and falling like a water fall into the valley and then breaking up just like water.All morning I saw the most amazing sights I have ever seen on a mountain - beautiful.

As for the skiing I just looped Polar Peak through Grand Papa Bear and Papa Bear. I avoided the Coaster (ugly blue ice) Shale Slope (ugly blue ice in the bottom) and Barely Legal (ugly blue ice in the exit chutes) but everywhere else was huge bumps (about the size of VW Beetles in places) but nice skiing. The cold seemed to have drawn the moisture out of the bumps so that the surface was hard but crisp and taking and edge making for the most excellent challenging skiing and of course in the chute one mistake would have resulted in a long slide - prefect skiing to my mind.

Half way through the morning I ran to base through Decline which had icy bumps in the top but below the same drying effect seemed to have occurred and the bumps all the way down were crisp taking a good edge. I returned to Polar for more loops and by lunch the top of the clouds were starting to break up. Lunch to base was via Mamma Bear and the Stag Leap from the top all of which were nice firm bumps. The final pitch of Stag is still a little twiggy but good if you crash through the twigs.

After Lunch I was back up Polar which was now becoming a bit clearer in the conventional sense and a few more people were turning up. It just like the morning, I looped it many times and the daily total had to be in the 12/14 region. We took a run to base to warm up but this time via Cougar Glades and Stag Leap. Although tracked out both runs gave great firm snow taking a good edge.

We just had time for a couple more runs down Polar before it closed and then skied round to White Pass load for the final run of the day. Polar continued to be great firm bump skiing although just a bit tougher as the light faded.

Last run was Skydive which skied just a well as you would have expected and as I said yesterday, icy in the bumps at the top, soft terrain hugging skiing in the top, easy skiing in the flats and great slightly twiggy skiing in the last pitch.

New Years celebrations kicked off in the Griz with beers and are about to continue in the hot tub with champagne - Have a great 2016.

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