Sunday, January 3, 2016

Day 24 all a bit beaten up but still ok

Actually I was talking about the hill being beaten up but tonight's heading might just as well have referred to me, the skiing is getting pretty tough. The last snow we had was about 7 days ago and since then we have had the busiest Christmas holidays for a number of years and as a result everything is well pounded in. Most runs are firm bumps where there has been no grooming and it is only in the very light traffic areas is there anything that might be described as soft snow.

Overnight temps on the deck were -23 and stayed that way on the way to the hill. Once again we had the inversion on a bluebird day and starting temps up top were -7. As the day progressed we had light haze forming which eventually turned to cloud and gave every sign of maybe some break in the arctic high and maybe some precip in the next day or two. The light got very flat and the temps started to get back to normal so that by close it was -13 at the base and -12 on top. It is likely that by tomorrow things will be cold but with no inversion.

One of the problems with an inversion like the one we started with this morning is that you are either going to be cold on the lift if you are dressed right for the top of the hill or if you are warm on the lift you will be over dressed up on top. I tried a bit of a compromise and as luck would have it managed to spend the day not too cold on the lift and not to warm on top. I went to the New Side with the idea of staying high and warm for as long as I could,

I had a few warm up runs through White Pass via Highline, Heartland, Pillow Talk etc. all of which were hard bumpy skiing and quite warm (-5 or so) in the inversion. Polar Peak was open and I went up. The chutes were still closed as a result of the carnage from 2 days ago but the rest of the Peak was open. I dropped down the Coaster just to check it out and found it slick but not as icy as it had been. After that I hit the Crusty Chutes which were nice and soft but a steep entry made for a tricky line. Next I found that by dropping the top of Shale Slope and then cutting left I could get in to Grand Papa Bear chute and indeed if I wanted to traverse hard I could have made it into the top of Mama Bear without crossing any sign lines. I looped Polar several times as it was just so goodtesting bump skiing.

I ran to base through a very mellow and soft bumpy Decline. After that I was back up Polar Peak for some more loops just as before and then finally before lunch ran down Cougar Glades and Stag Leap both of which were tracked but soft and lower Stag Leap remains a little twiggy.

After lunch it was more loops of White Pass and then some runs to base via -
Touque Chutes - a bit more tracked up than before but still good skiing down to Freeway.
Decline/Window Chutes - nice bumps skiing in Decline and soft snow in the Window Chutes if a little scratchy in the choke.
Siberia Ridge - still in great shape and lightly tracked.

Last run of course was Skydive where I was once again the only participant. As it has been for some time the bumps in the top were icy, the upper section was terrain hugging soft snow, the flats easy skiing and the final pitch a bit twiggy. Time for an early night and an attempt to shake off this cold which everyone seems to have in Fernie at the moment.

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