Sunday, January 17, 2016

Day 38 Old Side slabby, New Side good

Over night the hill reported 1 cm of new snow on the web site and 4 cms on the boards at the base of the lifts. Overall 4 cms seemed more accurate but clearly a major wind event had had affected the hill during the night and the amount of new snow was difficult to estimate among all the wind sift.

It was -4 on the way to the hill and -2 as we drove away tonight. During the day temps at the base got up to about zero and up the mountain the temps varied but probably averaged -4 all day. At the outset conditions were overcast but just after lunch it started to snow and snowed all afternoon and in to the evening. It seems to have stopped snowing now but we have been promised 4-10 cms out of the current cycle so there may be a bit more to come before morning.

As promised I went to the Old Side and to be quite honest it was rather disappointing. There was some very firm wind slab so that on the less steep slopes it was very grabby and on the steeper slopes the slab was breaking away under the skis making for some very unstable skiing conditions as you slid out on the breaking slab. To be fair I didn't hit out across the Cedar Bowl on the far side as Lynda was skiing and I didn't want to put too much strain on the new hip. Reports in the bar suggested that skiing out beyond Snake Ridge today was actually pretty good.

We did a few loops through Bear, Sunny Side shoulder, New Lift Line, Cedar Ridge, Boomerang and King Fir. The conditions were exactly as described above with new snow packed in between the old bumps very firmly but the wind pack and the underlying conditions (particularly between the bumps) was slabby and grabby. Of particular note was Kangaroo where there were about 20 tracks going in the top down to the cat track but only a couple starting the second section as I dropped in - it would appear that most people, having experienced the top section, decided to give the second section a miss. We decided to give the New Side a try.

Perhaps the snow was better on the New Side or perhaps as there had been a bit more traffic there the slab had been broken up but the skiing was way better than the Old Side. The top was socked in from about half way up White Pass and stayed that way all day with the viz getting a little better or worse from time to time but basically staying very white on top all day - Polar Peak remained closed all day.

We did a few White Pass loops in tracked deep snow through Gun Bowl, Surprise Trees, Quite Right, all of which was great skiing before we decided to drop into Currie Bowl. Lynda wanted to ski her favorite run (Concussion) and it was excellent deep snow even in the far side chutes with soft mellow conditions, in fact the best I can remember them. We did 4 New Side loops through Concussion which just got better as the day wore on. Every chute both near and far side is skiing as soft deep powder taking an edge. Exits were through Gilmar Gully which was very mellow soft skiing. Considering this was supposed to be a gentle morning's skiing we stopped for a very late lunch and for Lynda to finish for the day.

In the short afternoon session I went exploring -
Cougar Glades - skiing was a bit quicker than it had been on the slick new snow but once you got in it was still lots of untracked lines through the trees. At the cat track I skied straight across and took the left hand steep exit chute which was rather twiggy but with enough space for me to find an ok line in some very deep untracked snow. Still a challenge but great skiing.
The Brain - the upper section was deep soft snow with some tracks. The lower sections were soft deep snow with no tracks. Enough snow low down to allow you to avoid the deadfall as long as you payed attention and I even managed to land the log drop with some semblance of style . Got down almost to the bottom before cutting out into Skydive.
Lone Fir - a day wouldn't be complete without a side step up to Lone Fire and a very mellow rip through the chutes. After the super soft and deep pillow I cut across Easter to Spinal Tap and had good soft deep skiing in the creek bed.

I just had time for a run down Siberia Ridge which as always was rather neglected and so deep lightly tracked snow. The choke was just as sketchy as usual but easily navigated. I even had time for a hike up to Mitchy Chutes which were nice and deep soft snow before catching the last chair up White Pass,

Skydive was just getting softer and deeper in the falling snow and made a great finish to the day. I even hit the skiers right of the last pitch to try a beat the snow in a bit and take out some of the alders that are still coming through there. A very relaxed evening in the Griz with no crowds despite a holiday weekend south of the border. It's -2 on the deck and has started snowing again so I am reasonably optimistic for tomorrow. Several of my buddies from the mine are on their split shift tomorrow and I would anticipate that they will be taking advantage of the conditions.

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