Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Day 48 Just about ok but really on the edge

Yes, today was the start of a Pacific storm cycle which involves a warming trend and precip. We haven't had the full cycle or anything like yet but as far as today goes things could have been a lot worse.

Overnight the hill was claiming 5 cms of fresh and whilst this may have happened at the snow plot, in the real world we had wind sifted snow which filled in between any bumps but was little slabby in places, Temps on the way to the hill were +2 as they were as we drove away. During the day base temps hovered at around +3 and it was just plus temps at Timber top and just minus temps at White Pass top, in other words everything was really hanging on the edge.

The conditions were just like yesterday with it being really socked in at White Pass top and extending some way down the hill. If anything it was even more socked in than yesterday and the traverse out across Currie Bowl was real white stick job for most of the day. For most of the day we had flurry precip activity which manifested itself as rain below about half mountain height and snow above that. It was never that heavy either as rain or snow but enough the make some of the rain gear to be deployed for the afternoon session.

I went to the New Side and stayed there as I figured that the higher you were today the better the snow would be and from reports from buddies that doesn't seem to have been such a bad call. We rejected the idea of doing White Pass loops as the socked in conditions were so far down the hill that most of a White Pass loop would have been in very poor viz. Instead we just looped out into the Currie Chutes and ran to base.

In summary the conditions were good soft powder up top, mostly untracked if only because of the very few people skiing on the hill. Around the lower third of the mountain the warm temps meant that the surface turned soft and as the day wore on this line rose to about a mid mountain level. Above this the snowy precip kept the surface in great shape with wind sift helping to fill in. Below, the rain on a plus temp snow base meant that it was mushy getting down right heavy as you went down.

We spent all the morning looping the Currie Chutes which were very mellow and with so many lines available there were always untracked possibilities. I was skiing with Lynda and late morning she got another notch on her recovery belt by skiing Decline which was great soft bumps in the top and rather mushy low down. After that she went back to Currie Chutes and I hit Cougar Glades untracked and Skydive with only a couple of tracks in both of which were mellow and soft up to getting a bit heavy low down.

After lunch I went back to the New Side with the intention of trying the Saddles. Unfortunately Saddles had been closed so we hike Lone Fir and had the chute untracked where the only danger was being barreled out but your own express train of a slough. The run down to Freeway was great deep soft snow skiing only getting heavy in the last couple of turns.

We had planned to hike back up to Lone Fir but auto pilot took over on the Reverse Traverse and we ended up just above Currie Creek. The creek was well filled in and we had wonderful deep windsifted skiing all the way down. next time round I remembered to hike up and we took the Easter Meadow/One Step beyond chute which was even more full of soft deep untracked snow than Lone Fir had been earlier. the ski down to Freeway was even better than before.

We had time for a very white White Pass loop which involved a grope down the Gun bowl and a traverse out to Surprise Trees along the Idiot Traverse which all skied pretty well. Surprise Trees had hardly been touched all day due to the poor viz on the ski out and we got some nice deep tree skiing in the skiers right trees.

During the day all drops from Timber top the White Pass load had been down Lift line which was soft and bumpy but as the viz deteriorated we moved on the Puff Trees which actually skied surprisingly well with lots of soft bump lines.

Last run was Skydive and 6 of us made it out there. As you would expect it was very mellow soft snow on top but even down below a combination of steepness of pitch, skier traffic and a frozen under base meant that the skiing was ok even if we did finish in the rain.

We had a few beers in the Griz while we debated the next weather cycle. My own view is that we will get one ugly day of rain followed by a cooling day with more precip which with any luck will repair the considerable damage which I see as being an inevitable consequence of the rain that will hit us tomorrow. I would love to be proved wrong and for everything to come down white but we would have to be very lucky if that were to happen. Watch this space.

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