Saturday, March 21, 2015

Day 107 a mixed day but overall pretty good

No new snow over night but also temps stayed well above zero in the valley and from the conditions we encountered I suspect that temps didn't get down to zero, or anything like it anywhere on the hill. On the way to the hill it was +6 and driving away +3 which tended to confirm the forecast of a general cooling trend. During the day the weather was variable to put it mildly.

We went to the New Side and found conditions over cast and just above zero. On the first lift it started to snow and a half way up White Pass (maybe a bit higher) the rain turned to wet snow. For the rest of the morning it snowed high up and poured with rain down below. Around lunch the precip stopped but after lunch on the way up the hill we were back to rain at the base and wet snow on top. Finally after the precip had dried up in the afternoon it came back as some very serious ice pellets late in the day which extended to the base although there it came and went interspersed with rain. All in all a wet and very mixed day.

We went straight to the New Side to see if there was new snow falling and had a soft run down Puff. Next move was straight to Polar Peak which was open on the Coaster side and with the cut back under the chair but with the chutes shut. Conditions were full on winter snow which was accumulating fast and filling in out tracks almost as fast as we made them. Viz was dreadful all the way down so that we had all our runs down the Coaster in braille before we traversed out under the chair and had some great winter powder skiing back to the chair. I lost count of the number of times we looped Polar or the number of times we helped vacation skiers who were a little lost. If you ignored the fact that we could not see anything this was some of the best skiing of the season.

Just after 12 they warned us that they were closing Polar due to a combination of wind, poor viz and the fact that Kevin and I were about the only two people out there enjoying the winter powder. The lift closed just as we got on it and stayed closed all day. We ran to base through Easter which was very mushy, perhaps even worse than yesterday although the ski out along the Reverse Traverse was fine - we then went to lunch.

During lunch it started raining so I was back on the hill (New Side) in my full wet weather gear only to find that half way through the afternoon the rain went away and things stayed dry until our final ski off. We really had no choice but to loop White Pass for the afternoon and found everything soft and easy skiing getting very mushy from about half way down. Gun Bowl (numerous times in every place and always good) the shoulder by Knot chutes (steeper than the chutes and better soft skiing) Quite Right (good soft skiing if you avoided the groomed areas) Surprise Trees three times ( always very deep and mushy with only one set of tracks ahead of us) where I managed to hit some hidden timber and take the stack of the day, Pillow Talk ( easy soft chute skiing|) and numerous other lines in the general White Pass area.

We had anticipated a final rip through Easter but last loop we found White Pass chair closed 10 minutes early due to electrical storms. We were offered the choice by Patrol of waiting for a snow mobile lift or skiing out along Deep Sea and Lower Sib Ridge which were closed. We opted for the latter and in truth it wasn't too bad as long as you skied slowly, planned ahead to make sure you stayed on the white rather than the brown and avoided twigs, We made it down without having to walk and without having put any dints in the bases of our skis so it couldn't have been that bad.

To celebrate a good day (well at least a good morning) we had a few beers in the Griz. Conditions appear to be cooling with some precip so who knows what we might get tomorrow.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Day 106 April fools day comes early ?

At least that's what I thought as I was having my coffee in bed this morning checking the ski conditions on my lap top - let me explain.

There I was getting ready for a day's skiing when I hit the RCR site and saw that they were reporting 50 cms of new snow within the last 24 hours and powder alerts firing off everywhere. We looked out of the window at the ski hill and this didn't look very likely but Lynda pointed out that this had been a crazy season so anything was possible - we saddled up and got ready for an early departure after checking the site again. Just before we left we rechecked and found that the new snow had been down graded to 5 cms and the most likely explanation for all the excitement was a simple typo. Actually of far more interest was that the "run of the day" was Falling Star and when we got to the hill there were notices saying that skiing on Falling Star was marginal and not recommended. Is this the first time a ski hill has not recommended their run of the day I wonder - no, I don't know what's going on either.

There was about 5 cms of new snow at the snow plot overnight but this fell as rain from mid mountain and below, the result being that the ski offs from the hill were even more marginal than yesterday. It was +4 as we drove to the hill and initially up the mountain it was about +2 at the top meaning that the new snow even up high was softening fast. It was overcast with light rain at the base and some very light flurries on top. Later in the day the rain cleared after lunch and we had hazy sunshine so that by late afternoon it was +7 even at the White Pass load and everything was going super soft super fast. Driving away from the hill tonight it was +9 and there is every prospect that we will not get temps below zero tonight and may have a rain day tomorrow.

We went to the New Side in order to get the snow high up and found that it was ok at the very top but even half way down White Pass it started to become mushy and sticky. We spent a couple of hours looping back through Knot Chutes ( ok to start with but getting unstable towards the end) Gun Bowl (always nice soft snow with untracked areas) Quite Right (ok in the ungroomed bumps but getting sticky low down) I bowl (ditto) Highline under the lift (soft snow on top, sticky in the last two turns) Pillow Talk (ditto) etc. After a while I wanted to run to base to see how things were but with ice pellets coming down up high I was afraid that low down it would be rain. When the ice stopped I ran to base through Corner Pocket which has been scraped out in the top but from about half way down you could start to jump turns. The skiing underneath was ok and soft getting rather slow by the time you came out on Dancer.

We had time for a couple more White Pass loops in soft snow (particularly the chutes off pillow talk) before running to base via Easter bowl for lunch although Lynda tried Falling Star and said it was thin, marginal but ok. Conditions were the exact opposite of yesterday with everything turning to mush and the skiing out along the Reverse Traverse being super slow motion. In Easter it became apparent that whether or not you were skiing untracked snow or tracked up stuff was irrelevant in that everything skied soft deep and slow so it didn't matter whether what you were skiing was untracked or not - it all skied the same.

After lunch we were back up the New Side as we figured that the Old Side would not have had new snow and would be very mushy - reports I got suggested that this was an accurate assessment. We looped White Pass and then ran down an increasingly mushy Easter twice which was ok if you like super heavy spring skiing. On advice we tried Anaconda which proved not to be "awesome" as we had been told but just about ok skiing and actually rather like everything else on the hill. The push back round Trespass Trail was slow hard work and there has to be a question as to whether or not the juice was worth the squeeze.

We just had time for another couple of White Pass loops before heading out to Easter for last run of the day. Just like before it was heavy and soft and could have been untracked in places, or not, it just didn't make any difference. That was it for the day - I should mention that Polar Peak wasn't open but as we skied off there appeared to be blasting coming from that area so who knows for tomorrow.

A major disaster struck in the Griz Bar where the beer pumps were not working so we were on bottles or cans which was not ideal, particularly after the kind of hard work day we had put in. Home now and looking at the forecast it looks like it could be rerun of last week with rain on Saturday followed by a cooling trend that could bring snow - fingers crossed that it is as good as last week.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Day 105 Easter comes early

Yes, today I spent most of my day looping Easter bowl for reasons that will become apparent as we go along. However the main reason for this was that for a significant proportion of the day Easter was only way off the New Side without down loading on Timber and while I may be getting into my twilight years I am not yet so old and decrepit that I am reduced to down loading on Timber.

We had no new snow overnight and on the way to the hill it was +3, Lynda decided (very wisely as it turned out) to take the day off so I was left to my own devices. Up the mountain temps stayed cool and at the White Pass load ( I stayed on the New Side all day) temps hung around at +1 all day. It was overcast all morning so we had no significant warming and in the afternoon it started to precipitate. It was light at first but by the close it was raining hard at the base with very wet sticky snow at the White Pass load and wet but ok snow on top accumulating fast.

I thought that things would be warming fast so I went to the New Side to be told by the checkers that there was no way out of Timber, Siberia and Currie and the only way off the New Side was Easter Bowl which was not recommended due to conditions and the best way down was down loading on Timber. While I was chatting the call came through that Snake, Polar and the Big Three were closed so my best guess was that the New Side still represented the best ungroomed skiing to be had. Later due to heroic efforts by trail crew enough snow was shifted by sledge to allow Falling Star to be opened to base and it must be so frustrating for them to see the afternoon's rain which probably means all their hard work will be washed away some time this evening.

I dropped Lift Line which was closed at the very top for some reason and it was chunky hard skiing, very challenging all day and the only route I took to White Pass load every drop. I looped White Pass a few times via Gun Bowl which was socked in and hard bumps and then Quite Right or Highline both of which were hard and bumpy. I had to test the run to base and headed out to Easter via the Reverse Traverse. A few days ago I remarked to a buddy that if the deep tracked up crud on the way out to Skydive Traverse ever set up it would be all but unskiable - why do I always have to be so right. It was some of the worst frozen crud skiing I have ever experienced and the most challenging turns, which had to be taken one at a time, that I can remember for a long time. By contrast Easter itself was bit chunky in the first few turns then became good soft spring skiing.

I managed three circuits of White Pass loops and Easter drops before it was time for lunch. It seemed to me that far from softening the crud was setting up even harder as the day went on so the ski out was becoming more challenging. On every loop I encountered groups that were struggling and against my normal practice I even stopped to help and encourage them and more importantly make some suggestions on the easiest lines that they might like to take.

After lunch it started to rain, light at first but heavier and heavier as the day wore on. At the base this came down very wet and was still coming down as we left the hill. The snow line was about at the White Pass load but the snow in that area was sticky. Up top it was socked in but with some snow starting to accumulate so viz was flatter than flat everywhere you looked. By the end of the day I was soaked through and ski out to Easter was even more challenging with wet snow and zero viz on a refrozen breakable crust/crud base.

I did one Easter loop much the same as this morning then decided to try Lone Fir next time round. This was not a great idea as Lone Fir was scraped out by some side slippers (don't you hate them) so you really had to work both sides of the chute and pay serious attention all the way through. There was just time for two more Easter loops before finish time but by this time the snow at the top of Easter had fallen on the old stuff and had set up but by the lower parts it was rain and skiing had deteriorated to pure elephant snot. Skydive and Decline remained closed all day and having skied the lower parts last run last night I can't help but think they would have represented a better ski off the hill than Easter despite their twiggy lower sections.

By 5 Lynda and I were the only two in the Griz so we paid up and left. On the way home we purchased a bottle of Jameson's Irish Whiskey as we both felt the need to warm up. Now the blog is finished we can get started - the rain seems to have cleared most of the lower hill of snow and looks to continue so it may be back to full rain gear tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Day 104 perhaps the most demanding conditions of the season

As always happens after a big snowfall in spring we end up having a couple of very demanding days as the new snow assimilates with the existing snow pack and conditions start to move back to spring skiing. That having been said there was still some very good skiing to be had as you will hear later.

Overnight it rained in the valley and for a short time it turned to snow so that we had a smattering of white stuff across the valley floor when we woke up this morning. On the hill they were calling for 5 cms of new snow at the snow plot but what we saw was a maximum of 5 cms of very wet snow in some places and rather less lower down. On the way to the hill it was +1 and driving away +7 but the idea that we just had a straight forward warming spring day doesn't really tell the whole story.

On the Old Side temps did warm steadily and things just got softer in the sunlight as the day went on. On the New Side it was overcast and very very socked in at the top of White Pass (couldn't see the ground from the chair in the Gun Bowl) so it stayed more like winter up there most of the day with the viz only getting a bit better late afternoon before socking in again. Temps at the White Pass load never seemed to get above +1.  Along the reverse traverse there was a point where New Side Winter became Old Side Summer but this changed all day so that you found some very soft snow which set up on your next loop and was soft again after that.

The reason conditions were so challenging was the variability of the skiing surfaces. Where grooming had taken place after the snow fall you had hard icy groomers that softened during the day. Where grooming took place before the snow you had a hard icy base with wet snow on top which may have set up or may have stayed wet and soft - didn't seem to be any logic to how this happened. Where the snow fell on refrozen ungroomed snow you got a surface on a hard ugly icy base which may have set up or may have stayed soft and wet - see above. Finally where you had snow on an ungroomed base that hadn't set up (and there appeared to be no logic to where this was either) you had deep soft elephant snot. Understand that these conditions could come and go on all runs at any time, hence the title of tonight's piece.

We went to the Old Side and had runs down Bear (groomed) Arrow (not groomed) Bow several times (soft snow on a variable base) and Dancer (refrozen snow on a hard base) before deciding to try our luck on the New Side. The New Side was socked in and the first run down Lift Line (always the drop to White Pass base for the rest of the day) was pretty challenging tracked up softish snow. We only had a couple of loops through Gun Bowl (total white flat viz) Quite Right (softish bumps) and the I bowl which was actually quite nice soft skiing.

I made my big mistake of the day dropping to base through Concussion which was pure elephant snot and I swear that there were times when I had my skis in the fall line and they weren't moving. Gilmar Trail was very sketchy, but no worse than a number of other places on the lower mountain. We went back to the Old Side and had a great run down New Lift Line where the snow was soft but ok and I even got some face shots. Lower Cedar Centre was soft groomer and Lower North Ridge was soft and only just about skiable on the final corner. Last run out was through Boom which skied ok in the high traffic areas on the right and in the guts where skier traffic had ponded the rather mixed conditions into a firm base. We went to a fairly late lunch at the ever excellent Big Bang Bagels which was crowded - I guess this is as a result of the day lodge having been closed for the past two days.

After lunch I put on my fleece which was not altogether a good idea. Today you could wear a jacket and be ok at the top and hot on the way down or wear a fleece and be a bit cool on top but ok on the way down - I went for the latter. After a couple of White Pass loops in pretty poor viz (particularly the Gun Bowl) but ok soft snow I hit out along the Reverse Traverse. I hiked up to Lone Fir and found it open despite some rather ambiguous signage and had a great rip through the chute which was super deep soft snow and the fan in lightly tracked snow which was soft but not mushy. I had a good run down below the chute which did become rather mushy in the last few turns.

Next time round was a couple of White Pass loops back through the chutes in Pillow Talk which were skiing very easily and some nice practice for tight chute skiing. I went out to Easter Bowl and found some good soft skiing in the top and good skiing all the way down as long as you avoided the avi debris on the skiers right. I couldn't understand the number of people down loading Timber because of the dreadful ski outs in Timber and Siberia when there were such mellow exits to be had by cutting across the Reverse Traverse.

Last run I thought I was being stupid but tradition demands that Skydive has to be the final rip of the day. In the event this was the best skiing on the hill by a big margin. The first two pitches were deep soft snow with only a couple of tracks in from today and still plenty of untracked lines dating from yesterday. I just had an awesome time ripping down in fast GS turns all the way to the top of the final pitch. The last section was a little technical with lots of alders and devils club showing to try and trip you up but by that time the snow was so heavy that you could just push your skis in the fall line and shimmy through the various wood obstructions until you got into the very bottom section which opened up to be easy soft skiing. Best skiing on the hill by a million miles and it looked like only 3 of us had tried it.

Beers in the Griz and a quiet night. Driving away from the hill it was +7 and spitting with rain in the valley. Maybe some more precip on the way but who knows in what form - it will be fun finding out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Day 103 a very happy Paddy's day

Well those of you with a retentive memory may recall that today is the anniversary of me being caught and buried in avi just under Lone Fir so, in that I didn't get caught and buried today, that gives at least the basis of a happy Paddy's Day. Actually I noticed today that even though the Saddles and Easter Bowl were open the side step up to Lone Fir wasn't so maybe I wasn't the only one not wanting to tempt fate today.

We had no new snow overnight but figures confirmed that we got 65 cms of new snow out of the last weather cycle, at least at the snow plot level - the measured base at the snow plot increased to 185 cms. On the way to the hill temps were -2 and colder up the mountain so things stayed in good shape from yesterday. During the day temps rose so that we had temps of +4 even up the mountain so everything became heavier and could have been worse except that the sun which seemed to be breaking out around lunch time went away and we were significantly overcast for most of the afternoon. As we drove away from the hill it was +5 in the valley so maybe the warming trend will continue for a day or two - I hope so because if the chopped up deep soft snow ever sets up in the cold we will be faced with conditions that for all practicable purposes would be unskiable.

We went to the hill and went straight to the New Side as we had high expectations that Currie Bowl would be opening. My day started in a very frustrating way with the heal binding on my DPS Wailers breaking again - the guys at Straight Line are working on it as I type this but the result was that I was back on my Sally Shoguns for the day which are good skis but not ideal for skiing chopped up powder turning to heavy crud in the sun. We had great runs down Lift Line (now open from the top) and White Pass loops through Gun Bowl, Highline, Heartland, Surprise Trees (twice) and generally had a good time in yesterday's chopped up powder (still finding the odd untracked line) while waiting for Currie Bowl to open.

Before a full Currie opening we got word that Anaconda had opened an so we hit the first chute over the hump which was spectacular untracked deep powder as you would expect with it not having been open for weeks - we worked our way back to White Pass via Trespass Trail which was pretty hard work. After another Anaconda loop (just as good) we got to the top of White Pass just as they dropped the Currie fence.

I tracked out to the Big Three (which I double checked with patrol were open) and had the run of the season. I cut the trail out to the top but found one track from Easter down into Skydive so I hit Decline which was totally untracked. An unbelievable run in the 65 cms of new snow and not another track in sight all the way down. Hardly had to make a turn and had the best high speed semi controlled powder run of the season. When I got to the bottom I linked up with a tele skier who had followed me down and as I said to her "Do you know what sucked about that run - absolutely nothing".

I went back and hit Stag leap which was untracked through the top trees with about three tracks ahead of me when I got into the run. Great untracked skiing on the left side but the final pitch was very twiggy and starting to turn to mush but then you always have to pay the bill after a great time. Final run before a late lunch was Skydive which was rather like Stag Leap except that the untracked skiing was on the right and the bottom pitch didn't suck quite so much.

In the afternoon I linked up with my buddy Dan and we went for Easter Bowl having rejected the Saddles as they seemed to be about as scraped out as the Knot Chutes had been yesterday as a result of blasting and ski cutting. Easter skied ok if a bit chunky in the top. We then met another buddy who suggested Fish bowl and so we hit Decline (still awesome in the top but getting tracked up low down) and cut across to the Bear Chair in some very sticky snow - it was so warm that I had shifted from my jacket to my fleece for the afternoon's skiing. We hit out to Fish and had some great untracked deep powder in the near chutes and were still able to cut out the Redtree which was tracked but soft powder and get back to Haul Back.

We just had time to rip through Boom which was skiing very nicely with skied in soft snow. We got a late Timber Chair and dropped to White Pass through a chunky Lift Line which had been the chosen route all day - very challenging but fun. Last run of course was Skydive which was very good with some big untracked lines in the top two pitches. The final pitch was very technical with lots of twigs to avoid and my buddy complimented me in my straight line charging of this pitch but the truth was that my legs were so shot I just couldn't turn, still I will take the compliments any way they come.

Another great day's skiing in rather more challenging conditions but with maybe the run of the season. Of course drinks in the bar on Paddy's Day but with none of that stupid green colouring in the beer - I lived in Ireland for three years and never saw it happening there and I have no intention of indulging this barmy practice. Tomorrow maybe we get Polar Peak so yet another good day in prospect.

A few days ago I was asked a question that crops up over and over again where I get asked if I ever was involver in writing literature in my working life as my blog seems to make people think that is a possibility. I can assure everyone that I was never involved in creative writing in my long a varied career although in the final 3 years of my career I was involved in publishing fiction - I produced the balance sheets of my bank - have great Paddy's Day.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Day 102 the best day of the season so far

Sorry for the late post but today did require some fairly special celebrations which only now are starting to subside. When we left off yesterday it was wet snow on the upper mountain, rain at the base and a promise of the snow line coming down the hill overnight. Well, things worked out better than expected and we found the whole of the valley covered in about 15 cms of fresh snow. The figures showed that we got about 65 cms of snow out of the current weather cycle on the hill from when it started yesterday to when it finished around midday today.

On the way to the hill today it was -1 which meant that the snow at the base was quite heavy but good skiing. Up top it was fantastic hero powder on a high moister base from yesterday which gave the most amazing bottomless powder skiing all over the hill. During the morning temps stayed below zero keeping the snow in good condition but by mid afternoon temps were a degree or two above zero so the snow was becoming heavier.

When we arrived at the hill we found that Timber was not running due to an unfortunate incident which I do not intend to elaborate upon here. We lined up at 9 o'clock at Elk and got up to Bear just as it opened. We ran down Bear in knee deep untracked powder which was so sweet. Next we hit out to Cedar Ridge and got there just after the fence dropped. Cedar Ridge was the most awesome deep powder all the way down - I have said it before but when you are skiing on skis like the DPS Wailers in those conditions you can just point your skis anywhere you want to go and fly off anything - it just feels like you have super powers.

We looped back through Boom which was soft and easy powder skiing and still plenty of untracked lines. That was the morning for us, just dropping Cedar Ridge in one of the dozens of available untracked lines and then coming back to Bear via Boom or Bear Chutes which all had great untracked deep powder in various lines and chutes. Somewhere in there I did ski Lower Kangaroo just for the craic (I was told off today for my spelling yesterday - actually I am well aware of the correct spelling but I was not sure my readership would be) and it was great snow but the bushes to snow ratio was rather wrong. I only got out after some fairly serious bushwhacking - and I noticed mine were the only tracks in there and guess likely to remain so.

After huge amounts of fun, powder and face shots on the Old Side we got word that the New Side had opened so over we went. We arrived at Timber top just after they had opened Lift Line and had a mega powder rip down, pretty well straight lining it all the way to White Pass load. After about a 20 minute wait White Pass opened and although we only had the core with the zig zag closed we had great untracked powder. First run down the Gun Bowl was good and straight lining Quite Right by the left fence was powder free riding at it's best, crazy fast with big air on the rollers.

After that we just looped White Pass with variations of the Gun Bowl and Quite Right/ Heartland/ Highline Trees etc. Although some of the lines were quite tight you could always find untracked snow between the trees if you were prepared to put your skis in the fall line and that is what we did. Just one time we pushed out as far as Milky Way Trees which were ok but with big windrows and so much snow that you more or less had to straight line it to keep going. The good news was that this got us back to the top of Puff which was big soft powder bumps and very mellow skiing.

They dropped the fence on the zig zag  quite late in the afternoon and we cut into Knot Chutes which was our only bad call of the day. The chutes had no snow left after the blasting and cutting and we skied and icy avi debris trail most of the way through the Tight Knot. Surprise Trees made up for all with some great untracked powder which was a little heavy in places but giving good face shots. For the rest of the afternoon we looped mostly the Gun Bowl through various lines many of which held deep powder, particularly in the more challenging lines. Surprise Trees, always looking for, and often finding, untracked lines in between the tight trees. Just once we hit Pillow Talk to do some jumps off under the lift and had some very fast and spectacular lines.

Last run and we took a run out to Triple Trees which was untouched in the top but very ugly lower down and we had to work hard to get back onto Trespass Trail. One on the joys of a big powder day like today is that many of the runs that had previously been closed suddenly become very skiable and we took full advantage of this on our run off. We even found snow in Power Line which saved us going all the way out to Lower Sib Ridge.

Obviously loads of beer while watching the heli bombing of the Lizard head wall and everyone making plans for a big day tomorrow. At one time it did look like things were going to warm up today but we dodged the bullet and it was zero temp as we drove away from the hill quite late after the excellent beer and burger for 10 bucks at the Rusty Edge. Totally knackered after skiing from first bell to last without any kind of break whatsoever - must get to bed ready for tomorrow.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Day 101 if you don't go you don't know

Tonight's blog is dedicated to all those people who could have skied today but didn't - by my estimation about 99.9% of the potential Fernie skiing community. Based on yesterday's report (rain) and today's forecast (more rain) I can't say that I blame anyone for not coming to the hill today but as we have said so many times you should always go and check things out as they may prove to be way better than you expected and today proved this in spades. Today we had a great day's skiing in some new snow which fell all day and although there was no way you could describe the heavy wet snow as power it was ok and we were able to leave fresh tracks all over the hill.

It rained all night in the valley and was raining on the way to the hill. the clue that we were in for a rather different day lay in the temps where we had +4 on the way to the hill - a good 4 degrees cooler than yesterday. I was also way better prepared with my boot gloves (neoprene keeps water out) new rubber gloves ( totally water proof and warm and dry) rubber dungarees ( again totally water proof and warm) and plastic yellow rain jacket which was as water proof as you would expect. I was able to ski all day while keeping warm, dry and toastie, and that is exactly what I did.

During the day it stayed cold on the hill with temps at the Bear load maybe making +1 early on but back to zero or below by the afternoon. The temps I saw at White Pass load were very similar. We went to the Old Side and found the Snow line (it rained/ snowed all over the hill all day) was just above the Bear's Den although it drifted down to the base during the day but had lifted a little by the time we left tonight. Above the snow line it just puked snow all day. Ok, it wasn't champagne powder but it was white and although it was rather heavy and wet it was new snow to track up which this year has been about as rare as hen's teeth. By the close the Griz cam was showing 20 cms today which felt about right and the forecast is for at least that again overnight,

In my super dry plastic/rubber rain gear we arrived at the hill and went to the Old Side. We had expected a day like yesterday with rain all over the hill but it was snowing hard from the Bear's Den and up and as the snow line dropped during the day we just got more soft snow where ever we went. We looped Bear, and Arrow expecting the new snow to be skiing soft and we weren't disappointed. There were so few people on the hill we were getting fresh tracks everywhere we went and the snow was getting deeper all the time. Two patroller buddies told us that they had just opened Cedar Ridge and it was good. We went there and found it closed but with the info we had we skied it anyway (twice) and it was great. We later found out that it was open but they had just forgotten to flip the signs.

We then took another Cedar loop through New Lift Line from the chutes at the top of Bear and these all skied soft and deep in not very good viz. Returns were always to Boom Chair which was getting to be a bit of a nightmare to get to with most of lower Cedar Bowl unskiable and then through Boom bowl which was skiing just fine, All the skiing at this stage was soft snow where you pushed a million wet snow balls down the hill as you skied it. We went to lunch with  it snowing on top, raining below and the ski off the hill was very sticky as a result.

After lunch we skied the New Side and had a lovely soft run down through Puff as the new snow started to build. We had been told that Corner Pocket was open and this proved to be right - it was just 4 big edge to edge jumps through the chute with no tires showing and we had some great untracked soft snow skiing all the way down under the saddles and then cut right into Easter for some more untracked skiing, It was wet and heavy but fresh snow by any definition.

Next time up the New Side we took Puff trees cutting into Lift Line as soon as we were allowed and although heavy and sticky it was good untracked skiing. We hit out to Surprise Trees and found everything untracked and great skiing although you did had to work to beat out the wet snow slough that you created. Perhaps unsurprisingly the traverse out was closed almost as soon as we had skied it, We then hit out to Easter and as we were crossing Cornice chute with patrol watching we were almost hit by a natural wet snow slide out of Cornice chute which would have bowled us over, carried us down and maybe buried us. We got out fast to Easter after the slide had passed and left it to Patrol to close yet another area just after we had skied it - perhaps we should be getting kudos for getting last tracks rather than first tracks when the snow is falling like it did today. Easter was run of the day in smooth deep soft untracked snow - just great.

We decided that the New Side held no attractions as we would have to down load so we stayed on the Old Side and had a spectacular run down New Lift line which was now filled in and deep. The ski out was difficult even with the new snow so we then just stayed on the Bear Chair looping Boomerang and as last run taking Bear Chutes which skied fantastically well although you had to watch the deadfall on the ski out.

Usual Sunday night crowd in the Griz which made for great crack. My new regime of plastic and rubber proved most successful and I was dry-ish on my body and super dry everywhere else at the end of the day which on a day as wet as this was a fantastic result. As we drove away from the hill it was +1 and raining hard. This means to me that it is snowing (maybe a bit moist) up the hill and should get better overnight as the temp drops - getting quite excited about tomorrow. Sorry about you guys who didn't go today and as result missed a day which was very good by this season's standards.