Saturday, January 9, 2016

Day 30 was this really a Saturday ?

I was interested today to see what the first proper Saturday of the year would be like and I have to say it didn't strike me as that busy. There were still places in parking lot 2 when Lynda dropped me off at about 9 and the day lodge at lunch time had plenty of free spaces. There were no line ups on any of the lifts I used and almost no one on the runs I was skiing although to be fair even if the whole population of Calgary came to camp on the hill I doubt that the places I was skiing would be particularly busy.

Temps on the way to the hill this morning were -11 and on the way back tonight about -12. During the day temps rose on the New Side (I had a New Side day today) to about -7 but over all it was pretty cold and if you can believe the forecasters (pauses for laughter) it will stay cold for a day or two yet. Conditions were overcast most of the day and we had light flurries off and on until early afternoon which produced lovely light fluffy snow but not in quantities which were likely to be measurable in terms of an accumulation. Later in the day things brightened up to a sun cloud mix but nothing to do much to change the underlying temps.

I went for a New Side day and dropped Lift Line for the first of many times on the way to White Pass load and found a hard bumpy base with no significant new snow but some wind sift. The basic story of the New Side today was no real new snow but some new soft wind blown snow which accumulated to a quite significant degree in some places.

Polar Peak was open and the light in the top was very poor to begin with but improved steadily as the day went on. The wind had deposited  new snow anywhere to the north of the lift line and gave great deep snow in the chutes, and along the fence line to the skiers left of Grand Papa Bear. As has been the case all week the top of the Polar Chutes were closed but by dropping Shale Slope and traversing left you could access most of the chutes and all of them from Mama Bear and beyond.

I spent some time playing in Grand Papa and Papa Bear chutes before taking Mama Bear (awesome deep windsift) and running to base. I ran Cougar Glades/Stag Leap which were lightly tracked wind sift and great soft snow skiing. Even the lower part of Stag Leap is becoming more friendly if still a bit twiggy.

Next loop up Polar was just as good as before with all the repeats of the chutes before running to base. This became the pattern for the day so just take it as read that every time I went up Polar I had several loops in great wind sift skiing in various chutes before running to base. The next run to base was via Decline top and then Window Chutes all of which was soft bump skiing, and even the Window Chutes choke had filled in a bit. Next, another Polar loop (see above for details) then a run to lunch by hiking up Lone Fir (still very mellow deep snow and easy jump turns in the chute) and then a traverse to Spinal Tap which was deep and soft with a slightly technical exit to the right of the stream bed.

After lunch I ran into buddies who had not skied the stuff I had skied in the morning so it was bit of a repeat to some extent. Polar loops then a run to base through the top of the Brain which was good deep snow and the a drop through the Window chutes which were still as good as before. Another Polar loop and then a run to base via Lone Fir and Spinal Tap which was good soft snow - see above.

Last run was Skydive. Actually I am sure I have forgotten a loop but let's put it down to a mixture of old age and too much beer. What ever we skied it would have involved Polar Peak and something around the Big Three (don't let me hear anyone calling them the fingers) and it would have been good, because everything was today. Skydive had 4 takers for the final rip and it was great soft bump skiing in the top and not totally twiggy in the bottom.

The Griz Bar was very quiet tonight continuing the theme of a quiet Saturday and after a couple of beers I am having another quiet night in. No snow in the forecast but what we have remains in good condition and with so few people to trash it then it should last for a while yet.

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