Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Day 34 awesome heavy powder all day.

An awesome day's skiing in great powder all over the hill with fill in snow and more untracked lines than anyone could handle.

With the new snow coming and more on the way it seems appropriate to tell about a group of friends of mine who for reasons that will become apparent will remain anonymous. A few days ago they went out of the controlled ski area and into the Fish bowl. Subsequent conversations with them reveal that none of them had transceivers, no one in the group made any enquiry as to whether or not the others had transceivers,no one check the board at the top of Bear giving a report on snow stability out of bounds and no one had a cell phone with the ski patrol number on speed dial.

Just because ski patrol do a fantastic job keep us safe in bounds it is very easy to forget that every year a significant number of people die in the mountains due to avalanches in uncontrolled areas. We have a deadly playground and a lack of respect for the mountains eventually always ends in tears. The most dangerous aspect of the actions of these friends is that they got away with it - avi conditions that day below the tree line were low, note they are never zero. As I say so often, you can load a bullet into a revolver, spin the chamber, point the gun at your head and pull trigger and the odds are very much in favour of the fact that you won't blow your brains out - that however does not make it a good idea. I doubt the individuals involved will change but if just few people take a bit more care this year as a result of this story then I will count today's blog as time well spent.

We had 10 cms of fresh snow overnight and the temp on the way to the hill was -2. It was super socked in all day particularly on the New Side where temps at the base got up to about +1 which was way better than the +3 we were threatened with in the forecast. We had precip all day which slackened a bit around the middle of the day but came back with a vengeance in the afternoon and I would imaging we got at least another 10 cms during the day and quite probably much more. It just about stayed snowing all over the hill even if it got very wet snow low down in the afternoon. Up the hill in temps of -4 there was no problem and the snow just puked down an filled in all day. On the way home tonight and in the hot tub it was zero and the precip was very wet but with more in the forecast and temps due to drop a degree or two I am felling reasonably optimistic.

I went straight to the New Side as I always do on a powder day. It's not that I think the snow there will be any better it's just that if I get on one of the first chairs up there I will get untracked snow. On the Old Side you will find that various pay for powder groups such a First Tracks will have been there before you. As I have stated so often I firmly believe that selling any kind of first track packages is totally immoral as it is selling the very tracks that everyone else has already paid for, Getting first tracks should be down to skill, strength and just dumb luck (see later) and not the preserve of those who are prepared to pay for it. I have likened this to paying for sex - if that's the only way you can get it then fair enough but don't expect anything but contempt from those of us who can get it without paying.

Currie Bowl was closed so we looped White Pass in very poor light but great deep snow. Second loop I headed out to Surprise Trees and found the last track in front of me dropped off just before I got there so I had spectacular first tracks in Surprise. Next time up White Pass one of those things happened that only occur very rarely. As I stood at the top with about 4 other guys a patroller appeared and we asked when Currie was opening, she said now and we ducked the fence. Various tracks cut off the Reverse Traverse with the final one going at the hike up to Easter so I cut first tracks to the top of the big 3. I could have had any one I wanted with first tracks and chose Skydive which was awsome all the way down.

After that with the snow puking down and everything filling up and getting deeper the day played out as follows -

Cougar Glades/Stag Leap - about third track in but loads of awesome untracked lines through the trees. Stag had one track in but was deep easy bump skiing.
The Brain/Window Chutes - The upper Brain was totally untracked and very deep. Window Chutes had filled in pretty well with a couple of tracks in ahead and the conditions much improved in the chokes with the new snow.
Touque Chutes/Spinal Tap - powder was starting to build up so it was getting hard to see if there were tracks if any in ahead of you. The lower snow was just starting to get chunky.
Lone Fir - only few tracks and great skiing through the chute. The best part was that the sign line to the left was down as Lizard was closed on that side. This meant that there were no tracks cutting in from skiers left as usual and it was fantastic deep untracked skiing almost all the way down to Freeway.
Lone Fir/Spinal Tap - after lunch given the most awesome conditions of the previous run I went back up and it was if anything even better, This time I did cut out into Spinal Tap which was just getting deep but a little chunky low down.
Cougar Glades/Stag Leap - more snow had poured in and to be fair most of it skied better than the morning with most of it feeling untracked even if it wasn't.
Easter Meadow/One Step Beyond - On my previous trips up to Lone Fir I had noticed that the chute beyond it (Easter Meadows in the official jargon and One Step Beyond in ours) had been closed which made no sense as the chutes either side were open. I queried this with some buddies from ski patrol on the lift and they admitted that someone had just forgotten to flip the signs but it was now open. I hit it untracked for the most spectacular deep powder chute run of the day. Exit via Spinal Tap was just as good as before.
Siberia Ridge - with some time to kill and freezing precip causing some problems on the goggles we hit Sib Ridge which was great powder with many untracked lines. Lower sib ridge was getting very chunky in the rising temps.

So Skydive as the last run and a pretty reasonable crowd turned up for the fun. Great skiing in tracked powder all the way down to the middle section of the lower part where it all got a bit heavy. Great beers with lots of buddies and continuing wet precip in the valley which has to be coming down as something really good on top. More snow forecast in falling temps, life is good.

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