Friday, January 29, 2016

Day 50 a game of two halves

Actually it was hill of two halves. There was very clear crap line around the level of the Megasaurus Trail where above the skiing was pretty ok and below it was as the name of the line implies pretty crappy. I am not quite sure how this would have translated to the Old Side but as that side is lower than the New it would just have meant that more of the skiing was below the crap line with all that implied. A buddy who had been patrolling on the Old Side confirmed that pretty much everything over there for all the obvious reasons was rather crappy below the first few turns from the top.

Overnight it snowed the very top and the official figures showed 11 cms in the last 12 hours and 23 in the last 24 at the snow plot - and who am I to argue with those figures. Of course it was raining at the base and only snowing very wet snow on top so the fine line between snow and crud was just as described above.

We went to the New Side and dropped Lift Line which was heavy wet new snow all the way down. Whilst I can't argue with official figures I can certainly argue with calling what we got powder. Maybe what fell at the very top of White Pass may just qualify as powder but below that it was heavy new snow which took a bit of attention to ski untracked and became easier with some skier traffic.

Temps were about +2 at the base, zero at the Timber Top and maybe -1 at White Pass Top. Although it remained overcast all day the viz problems of the past few days were not evident and we were able to ski the upper hill in almost perfect viz. Conditions stayed that way all day and there was no sign of any new precip until this evening when some light snow has started.

We looped White Pass through Knot Chutes (Tight to Jim and back) which opened quite quickly and various lines in Surprise Trees where we found so many fallen trees we speculated that maybe the run should be renamed Surprise dead fall. The snow was heavy but untracked and the trees appeared tighter because the branches were so weighed down with heavy snow the skiing in between was that much tighter.

They opened Currie Bowl and we skied out into Concussion and the associated areas and did several loops in heavy creamy snow much of which was untracked. The best news was that the crap line didn't start until around the top of Gilmar Trail which was groomed so this provided a fairly mellow way off the hill. We pushed out the Cougar Glades and had a spectacular rip in untracked snow before cutting out at the cat track just before things got ugly.

Our big mistake was to try Decline all the way down. The top section was great untracked skiing but the lower section turned into ugly ice crust and then boiler plate with retracked lines pulling your skis all over the place, It was worse than when we tried a similar exercise last Saturday and that is saying something.

Last run before a fairly late lunch was to drop through a newly opened Corner Pocket which skied very well with no tires showing and mellow edge to edge jumping all the way through the chute. The snow underneath became a little crusty just before coming out onto Dancer but was great skiing for the most part.

After lunch it was back up the New Side and I hit out into Gotta Go which was very good and deep with few tracks although the skiing in 3s below was bit affected by avi control debris. Bootleg Glades were surprisingly good until the final pitch which was breakable crust and had to be traversed. I managed a quick Cougar Glades loop which was just as good as before with loads of untracked line still available.

I decided to take a chance and hiked Lone Fir and found it was awesome deep snow in the chute and still pretty good soft snow all the way down to Freeway. With a bit of time to kill I did a couple of loops in White Pass through Knot Chutes, Surprise Trees and Quite Right. It was all good mellow skiing and easy in the context of the day.

For last run we debated Skydive but with the Decline experience under our belts we didn't fancy the lower section. In the face of muttering in the ranks I lead us up Lone Fir again and hit the chute and the cushion down to Freeway. This was still so good that all muttering was silenced.

So it was time for beers in the Griz where Friday is rapidly becoming the new Saturday. General opinion is that it would only take about 10 cms of fresh snow to repair the hill below the crap line to something that was acceptable and some forecasts are calling for that tonight - lets see.

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