Monday, January 18, 2016

Day 39 totally awesome heavy powder day

Now understand that when I use the term "heavy powder" I mean just that. We all know that when the official site use such terms they mean unskiable elephant snot, but with me you get the truth and today we had powder which was fairly heavy with a high moisture content but actually translated as real hero hold up snow in all the important places that you wanted to ski.

Overnight we had 19 cms of fresh and the ski base getting up to 209 cms. The worrying aspect was the temp which was only -1 on the way to the hill. During the day things warmed and it was +1 on the drive back tonight. During the day temps hung around at zero round the base and up the hill we had temps of a degree or two lower. Let there be no misunderstanding we are teetering on the brink at the moment and the difference between an awesome snow cycle and a bloody disaster, it's 2 degrees either way and we are living on the edge - just on the right side for the moment.

As you would expect at these temps the snow was pretty heavy which actually gave easy hero skiing as long as you made the snow work for you rather than try and fight it. It was overcast in the morning with the odd skiff of precip in the form of snow but nothing to get excited about. By the afternoon it was getting a sun/cloud mix in the valley but on top it remained socked in as it had been all day. As a result of this and the new snow Polar Peak remained closed all day. On a personal not I hit an early chair up in the morning and skied all day with no breaks of any kind and hit Skydive just after 4 for a great drop - hard to imagine a longer or better day.

We lined up at the New Side for reasons well explored in earlier blogs and got an early chair up. Lift line was great lightly tracked skiing as was Big Bang, Puff Trees, Mitchy Chutes etc, in fact all the different ways we dropped from Timber to White Pass today.  I was actually pleasantly surprised with how much of the New Side was open straight off the bat (a cricketing expression for all my North American friends) as we had everything except Currie Bowl and Anaconda.

The viz on top was pretty bad and we looped Knot chutes (Tight Knot was really deep) Slim, Thin and Jim which skied very mellow and way better than the blue ice last lime I was in there. Surprise Trees was the favoured route back to White Pass with us taking a slightly further out line each time which of course took a little longer but gave fresh deep untracked snow all morning.

Having been told that Currie was not going to open for a while we took one for the team and dropped Triple Trees through the newly gladed lines which were deep and very good tight tree skiing. There was still a bit of deadfall to contend with in the final pitch above Summer Road but this was way better than the last time I skied it and in my view another half a metre will make this one of the best runs on the hill.

Our plan worked and by the time we got back up Currie had opened but with the Reverse Traverse closed so the only way out to the fun stuff was the low traverse with a bit of a side step which was ok as it kept the lazy and the uncommitted out of the best skiing on the hill. I fell in with two bad ass local skiers (there's your  name check Black Jack and K-Dog) and we went out to Cougar Glades and grabbed awesome deep first tracks through the trees. Stag Leap only had one track in before we got to it on the ski out and it was deep snow.

Looking for somewhere else that would have first tracks I hit the Brain which was totally untracked deep powder top to bottom and so deep that even the log drops could be landed in almost ok style. Side stepping out on the traverse was getting hard so I took the Knot Chute traverse out to Gotta Go and had some great steep lightly tracked skiing. The exit through Bootleg Glades Trees was also very deep and mellow.

After that the day played out -
Touque Chutes/Spinal Tap - super deep lightly tracked snow and only about three in front of me in Spinal Tap.
Decline/Window Chutes - nice soft deep bumps in the top of Decline and very deep in the drop in to Window chute but a number of tracks in soft snow in there.
???- I call the run this because no one seems to think it has a name. I hit the trees from the top of Skydive as if to drop into Stag Leap but cut left into the trees there. After a couple of tight turns it was great tree skiing in the trees between Skydive and Stag which unsurprisingly was deep as no one had skied it yet this season. I cut out to Stag before the "open" section in the trees which appeared to be alder heaven and well worth avoiding for a few weeks yet.
Knot Chutes/Anaconda 2/Bootleg Glades - what would there be not to like in this deep lightly tracked route to base.

Final run of Course was Skydive with only three of us there. It was amazing how lightly Skydive was tracked all things considered and even though I had been skiing 7 hours with no break my legs had enough to throw big GS turns all the way down at maximum speed.

A great day with maybe further openings to come but with things still hanging on by their finger nails as far as the temps go.