Friday, January 8, 2016

Day 29 a bit of new snow but not as much as we had hoped for

Overnight we did have some more new snow but not in the quantities promised, On the Old Side it felt like about 3 cms of new snow but the base underneath remained soft and taking an edge. On the New Side there seemed more ( maybe 7 cms) but the under surface firmed up so it was rather unforgiving and bumpy. When it came to where to ski you paid your money and took your choice.

The temps on the way to the hill were -12 and on the way back tonight it was -15 at the house. During the day things warmed up to maybe -8/-10 all over the hill although in the sun on the top of Polar Peak it may have been a degree or two warmer. All this seemed to ambush everyone, myself included who had anticipated rather warmer temps and for most of the day I found myself a bit light in the face covering department. It was overcast with the odd sunny patches and occasional light flurries all day. The most interesting feature in the weather was the cloud which clung to the base of Polar Peak all day giving cold and poor viz conditions on all runs to the south of the lift line and to the lower parts of all runs but great sunny conditions on top and in the Polar Chutes.

Lynda was back having one of her skiing days and we had some warm ups on Bear and Arrow to start the day. New Lift Line was easy soft bumps skiing in not very good light. We tried Cedar Ridge which was very nice soft bumps and where Lynda had her first major head down the hill stack. This was actually good news as she was ok and climbed back for her ski with no problem so any worries she had about the new hip's performance in a stack were answered.

We had lots more runs around Cedar Ridge, Boom Ridge, Boomerang all of which were a light covering of snow on a reasonably soft bumpy base. All loops were through Kangaroo where there was ok coverage on soft bumps if a bit twiggy and which gave me pause for thought. The hill has obviously spent a lot of time and trouble (and presumably money) making Kangaroo more user friendly so why are they cutting the Cedar Trail track in a way that give a 3 ft plus drop off onto the track and is making life very difficult for the unsuspecting. Makes no sense to me but then what do I know.

We went to the New Side where as stated there appeared to be a bit more new snow but with the under surface having hardened up into some quite testing conditions. Lift line was good but with poor light. We looped White Pass through the Gun Bowl and Quite Right which were good wind blown snow on a firm base. The hump under the chair skied very mellow. Last run before lunch and we headed out to Cougar Glades. When we got there I was lost for words (something that everyone will confirm doesn't happen often) to find the Glades totally untracked and so we had first tracks down and also in the lower part of Stag Leap at 12:30 - unbelievable.

We had lunch at the excellent Big Bang Bagels and if anyone knows of a better deal or a tastier lunch than the Mr Fernie Bagel I want to know about it - great taste and value.

After lunch I headed back up the New Side and went to Polar Peak which had been open all day in the on/off viz conditions. As before you could access the Polar chutes by dropping Shale Slope and then cutting hard left under the cliffs. This is getting a bit rocky, icy, and generally sketchy but is the only way to access the chutes so I guess we are just going to have to suck it up. I did a couple of Grand Pa Bears and a Papa Bear which were ok with  some blow in and cut back to the load. Next I hit the traverse out to the top of Mama Bear and had great skiing in soft deep smooth blow in which by my guess hadn't been touched since patrol tested it first thing in the morning - best skiing on the hill.

I dropped a soft bumpy Decline top before cutting left into Window Chutes which only appeared to have one track in ahead of me and was great deep soft snow although predictably scratchy in the choke. Next time round I had intended to go back up Polar Peak but because of my auto pilot I was well down the Reverse Traverse before I realised that anything was wrong. I hiked up the ridge to Lone Fir and had a nice run down although a few icy patches are starting to poke through in the chute - the cushion underneath was as always (apart from the time it avied on me) sensational deep skiing. I cut across Easter to Spinal Tap and unsurprisingly found only one track in there ahead of me a great soft snow all the way through - the exit on the side of the creek bed is still a bit technical.

I was intending to head out to the Big Three next but on the way out noticed that Concussion did not look to have been overly used so I dropped off. It was good call as it was soft lightly tracked big bumps all the way through the chute. So at the end of the day I found myself at the top of Skydive with no one else there. I am fully aware of the commitments of some of the Skydive club that kept them away today but others do have some explaining to do. With no one to race (of course it isn't a race) I just ripped it in one from the top all the way down to the locker room door - a great way to finish.

A nice couple of beers and now a subdued night before the weekend crowds kick in. No more significant snowfalls called for until next week but we can always hope.

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