Friday, January 22, 2016

Day 43 my worst fears, but not quite

Apologies for the late post cause by a large number of beers with my good friends Rob, Katie and young Joey. The reason I qualify today's offering by saying that not quite my worst fears were realised is because it's true. I had feared that rain on the warm weather system would cover the hill all the way to the top. In the event it only reached up the hill most of the way to the White Pass load on the New Side and the Snow Plot on the Old Side so it wasn't quite the disaster it could have been but still pretty bad.

Overnight it rained in the valley and temps on the way to the hill were zero but with rain falling out of a warm air mass the temps were not going to give us snow. During the day the temps at the base got up to +3 and I noticed at the White Pass load it was +1 and probably only about zero at the very top - needless to say Polar Peak was not open.

We went to the New Side as only an idiot would want to ski the lower elevations of the Old Side in rain. We were getting very wet heavy snow from the White Pass load up with poor viz on top and the skiing surface very heavy Jersey Cream at best and getting towards elephant snot lower down. Our intention was to do loops of White Pass to avoid dropping into the on/off rain showers below which were just about falling as wet flurries on top and for the whole morning that is what we did..

I looped Knot Chutes from the traverse in and everything from Tight Knot out to the Jim Chute was skiing ok in soft deep wet snow. Returns to White Pass were mostly through Surprise Trees in many variations which were ok in the top but getting very heavy and wet low down.

We went out in to Currie Bowl to ski down for lunch and found the high Reverse Traverse closed but the Polar Sink traverse open so we were able to get out to the Big 3. We chose Cougar Glades which were ok in the top but got very heavy down just above the cat track. The ski out in Stag Leap degenerated into pure elephant snot and was very hard work.

In the afternoon it was back up White Pass where if anything the viz was worse and the rain line was even higher up than the morning with the ran/flurries intensifying. Just like the morning all drops were all through various Knot Chutes which were just about ok but heavy, returns to White Pass were through the general Surprise Trees area which by now had become very wet and heavy in the rising rain line. We ran to base twice during the afternoon and got soaked in the pouring rain down below both times. The runs were -

Anaconda/Bootleg - Good skiing in Anaconda 2 which I just beat a ski group in to and which only got really heavy about 2 thirds of the way down. Bootleg was very heavy but just about skiable.
Gotta Go/ Bootleg - Gotta Go actually skied pretty easily in the top and the choke but lots of avi control debris was around lower down. Bootleg was as before but with a hard clear base in the middle that suggested to me that it had slid out some time during the day.

The top section of Triple Trees deserves a special mention as it was fantastic soft skiing for the first half and almost uncontrollable elephant snot down to Trespass Trail, which incidentally was a hard push back to the lift.

Last run came 10 minutes early but as no one else seemed to be around me and Dan headed out to Skydive. The snow at the top of the run looked ok heavy powder, and indeed was. I did say that somewhere down the run it would turn to rat shit and that point was high up by the Decline Skydive split. By the final section we were dreaming of rat shit as being a wonderful skiing surface as we struggled in some of the steepest elephant snot I have ever encountered. Only by using all of our crappy skiing experience did we get down in half way decent style in a series of big GS turns.

The beers in the Griz  were very well deserved tonight. I did have to smile as everyone talked about how bad the conditions had been. Tonight it is forecast to freeze and when you get what we skied on today as refrozen crud then you will really have something to complain about. Whatever it is I will be there enjoying the challenge.

1 comment:

  1. You saved me a trip from Calgary, after just getting here from Edmonton. Much appreciated. Too bad I didn't get the goods during the week; I'm still a working stiff.