Thursday, January 21, 2016

Day 42 Awesome, awesome, awes......

Yes, today didn't quite make the three awesomes of yesterday but as you can see from the heading it came pretty close and in some respects was even better.

Overnight they only reported about 5 cms of fresh and most of that came out of the back of yesterday's storm cycle which fell after we left the hill yesterday. We had worried about temps today but it was -1 on the way to the hill and zero on the drive back, During the day it seemed to get up to maybe +1 at the base but remained a few degrees below up the mountain and most importantly it remained overcast and snowing all day so we never had to deal with the damage that sun effect can have at this time of year. Also, it snowed all day with a kind of light icy fill in snow which probably didn't rate too much on the snow plot accumulation but had a pretty good effect on the skiing surface.

We actually had a fantastic day's skiing because of a number of complimentary factors ie. new snow all day, wind which sifted snow to give great wind grooming all day and new openings. I went to the Old Side and found it was socked in at about Bear top and stayed that way all morning. This translated to being socked in from about half way up White Pass on the New Side and similarly this was the case all the time I was there.

I had word that Cedar High Traverse was opening having been closed all yesterday. This proved to be inaccurate in that whilst the sign lines across Cedar bowl had been opened the Snake Ridge area was only accessible with a very full on side step traverse which took 20 minutes (at least to an old guy like me) to complete. The effort was worth it and I went out three times -
Snake Ridge - only two tracks in front of me so the powder was super deep and just as awesome as anything yesterday. The exit through Gorby Gap was a little tracked up but the biggest problem was the deep snow slabbing out in places.
Curve Ball - I took the Curve Ball shoulder with the intention of dropping into Steep and Deep but it was so good, steep and untracked that I was way down in the trees on the left of Gorby Bowl before I woke up to the fact that I was well below any ski out and had to do some work in the trees to get into Steep and Deep. Best super deep skiing on the hill all day.
Steep and Deep - loads of untracked lines all the way down to the left gully which was a very mellow exit with lots of choices of untracked lines.

All returns were through Kangaroo which was soft and deep with some bumps and very easy skiing. Boom Guts could be taken as series of fast and easy GS turns as a fast way to complete the loops so that's what I did. I couldn't face a fourth trip out on the side step traverse particularly as the boards were starting to walk out there punching fence post holes into what had previously been and very nice traverse. I dropped Boom Ridge a couple of times as this seemed to be untouched deep snow and I was not disappointed. Time for lunch,

After lunch I headed out to the New Side and found the conditions to be excellent. The new snow was accumulating, wind was sifting runs flat on many aspects (particularly Currie Chutes) and there was no one skiing the good stuff, With viz a bit of an issue the afternoon panned out -
Cougar Glades - great soft skiing with lines untracked from today. Below the cat track I hit the trees which were totally untacked and with some rather technical skiing got into the disused trail right below the run which had three trees down in it which had to be ducked but no tracks in there so far this year and great very deep powder.
Namless Trees - I call them these because I am told the trees to the right of Skydive have no name - well they do now, Untracked deep snow and tight lines down to the cat track. This time I decided to drop further into the open section below which after a few alders was actually very open not to mention untracked so far this year and very deep. I normally cut right or left after the opening but alders prevented this so I ripped the stream bed which would have been impossible except for the deep untracked snow which held me up - over the head face shots with zero viz and an inability to breath were the main problems here.
Knot Chutes/Triple Trees - a patroller buddy had told me how good the Knot Chutes were and he didn't lie, they were untracked in sifted snow blowing back over your head in the Tight Knot. For some time I have said that one day after a bit more snow Triple Trees would be the best run on the hill after the summer glading, well, today was that day. I had far and away the best run of the day through all 4 sections of the trees where the deadfall of a few days ago was now just rolling log drops. Amazing deep and untracked snow in the trees.
Touque Chutes,?, Spinal Tap - The reason for the question mark is that after starting the chutes I cut right into areas I had discovered yesterday and found some fantastic deep untracked lines that eventually spat me out just above Spinal Tap which was super deep and lightly tracked.

I just had time for a final loops of Knot Chutes which were still totally filled in and awesome before going to the far side of Surprise Trees which didn't look like anyone had skied them today, needless to say more deep powder.

Final run was Skydive with just three of us but good GS turns top to bottom in smooth deep snow with just a few bumps in the lower pitch. Beers in the bar with good buddies. The worry is still tomorrow which is calling a warming trend with precip. My view is that we may get some rain at the base but it won't be much and we should get it as snow from about Deer Top upwards. From then on it'a a cooling cooling trend so fingers crossed we may have dodged the bullet again.

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