Saturday, January 2, 2016

Day 23 coldest day of the season yet

The temp on the deck this morning was -24 and as we drove to the hill it was flicking down to -25 which officially made it the coldest day of the season so far. It was classic bluebird conditions all day which is exactly what you would expect from an Arctic high like the one we are currently experiencing. Yet again we had an inversion and starting temps at Polar Peak I am told were around -5 rising to -1 during the day. At the base it didn't warm up all that much (maybe a daytime high of -15) and as we drove away from the hill tonight it was -18 and that dropped to -20 as we turned into our drive. As I said a fricking freezing day.

I have always said that there is no such thing as bad conditions, only inappropriate equipment and inadequate skill levels. Today was no exception and with the many layers of clothing and hot shots in the mitts with my fleece balclava I was nice and toastie all day.

Having spent the last two days on the New Side and most of that in the Polar Chutes I was determined to give the Old Side a lash this morning. Mt theory was that because of the cold people would stay away from the Old Side and I would have the hill to myself - I was right on both counts. It was freezing and for the whole morning whilst I encountered a few people at the lift loads or tops I did not encounter a single person on any of the runs that I did, it was like having your own private ski hill.

I started with Sun Up and China Wall which were both firm bumps and twiggy but ok. I then hit out to Snake ridge which is now tracked up in the top and large bumps in the mid section. I think just dropping over the edge to the newly cleared area is about as tough as anywhere in the Polar Chutes although of course the penalty for making a mistake is nothing like so severe. Kangaroo was hard and bumpy with the newly cropped alder stems ready to trip you and I hit it 5 times in my loops back to Boomerang load.

The rest of the morning was spent in all the usual areas I like skiing on the Old Side such as Cedar Ridge, King Fir, Boom Ridge, Linda's, Boomerang etc, several of these more than once. Everywhere was hard and skied but nice technical bumps skiing if you like that stuff (I do) and always tight challenging turns in the trees.

In the afternoon I went to the New Side with the intention of warming up on Polar Peak and having fun in the chutes like yesterday. First drop down Lift Line and I felt my legs needed a bit more warming up so I had a run back through White Pass and got going on the Gun Bowl and Quite Right bumps. On the next chair I discovered that the chutes were not open on Polar Peak which was a pity but given the late afternoon carnage in there yesterday I fully understand the need for patrol to protect people from themselves.

I explored looking for the newly gladed Triple Trees and this time found the line which was little to the left of where I normally ski. I think this has the potential to become one of the great runs on the hill but at the moment it needs about another metre of snow. I picked my way through ok but there was a lot of dead fall and it was difficult to get any flow going until it spits you out just under Timber Chair above Summer Road.

Next loop was far side Anaconda Glades which were remarkably soft and lightly skied. Bootleg Glades were also ok and pretty soft with the alders taken out making the skiing down to Gilmar Trail pretty easy. I felt I had earned a rest so went out to Decline where the snow was soft easy bumps all the way down.

Back at White Pass after yet another drop through Lift Line which was starting to get a bit technical in the top I had time for a Surprise Trees loop which was firm tracked bumps but pretty mellow skiing. Last run of course was Skydive where I was once again sole participant due to the usual suspects having work commitments, family commitments, illness and injuries (not all of which occurred skiing with me) etc. Now off to the pub.

Finally a few people have asked for me to publish this link to a Hitler rant about his job application for Fernie Ski patrol being reject, under no circumstances watch if you are easily offended or have good taste, you have been warned.

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