Saturday, February 6, 2016

Day 58 better than I expected

With some overnight rain in the valley and temps on the way to the hill of +2 I had pretty low expectations when it came to skiing today particularly in relation to the past couple of days. In the event I was pleasantly surprised by the conditions which were ok over most of the hill and rather good in some specific places.

It was cloudy all day with sunny breaks and some graupel flurries off and on all day which gave a covering but no significant accumulation. Temps at the base rose to around +3 and hung in at zero at White Pass load and a couple of degrees colder on top. The official figures claimed 3 cms which I now see has been revised to 5 cms but there had clearly been a wind event during the night which continued during the day giving a constant source of renewed wind sift. Tonight temps are on the way down and are about -4 now and due to fall lower so what we have at the moment should remain in good shape for at least one more day.

We went to the New Side as we had word that Polar Peak had opened. It had and we did 6 loops switching from Papa Bear to the Crusty Clown chute and back. The Clown chutes were great deep untracked snow. Papa Bear was chunky snow in a slightly icy base and half way down switched to an icy hard base presumably as a result of some avi work. It the poor light this all made for some very interesting skiing. Last time up on the chair I commented to my buddy that the wind (which had been getting stronger all morning) had to be getting close to the limit of operation. Sure enough next time round Polar Peak chair was closed and stayed that way for the rest of the day.

We took a run down Concussion far left chutes on the grounds that the strong down draft wind would be sifting in snow and were weren't disappointed. It was deep wind grooming all the way down and even extended up to a point in the Gilmar Gully. We then played for while in White Pass running Gun Bowl, Knot Chutes, Quite Right, Surprise Trees etc in several permutations. The snow was all sifted and mellow and very easy skiing.

Before lunch I hiked Lone Fir and found a lot of soft snow in the chute which appeared untracked and there was only one slick turn towards the end of the chute. Below the chute the cushion was sensational deep snow and even as the tracks appeared lower down it was still pretty good as long as you hugged the sign line on the left down to Freeway.

Perhaps after lunch I should have gone to the Old Side. Reports from Buddies suggested that Snake and KC Chutes were particularly good but as a creature of habit I went back to the New Side. We did more White Pass loops as before and as before they were all good with soft snow blowing in. The afternoon ran on with loops to base of -
Touque Chutes/Spinal Tap - great soft snow that you could really rip in the top and even the creek bed was pretty soft tracked up snow.
Decline - probably the best run on the hill with great soft bump skiing on top and the bottom part well repaired by the new snow and skiing the best of the Big 3 lower sections once again.
Cougar Glades/Stag Leap - tracked up but great soft snow skiing only getting a bit scratchy in the final pitch of Stag.
Currie Creek - I was tempted by the deep snow in the top and even in the choke at the ski out the snow was no worse than a bit firm.

It was time for the for the Skydive rip which I approached with some trepidation. The reason for this was that every time I had gone out on the traverse before I had encountered idiots behaving, well, like idiots at or near the bridge. I wonder if anyone understands the basics of traverse etiquette, the most important parts being that you never stop on a traverse and if you want to wait for friends you do it either above or below the traverse.  Part of the problem has to be skiers and riders of limited ability heading out that way and I am not sure what can be done about it other than those of us who know the rules providing a brief, if somewhat profane, abbreviated version of the traverse rules as we pass.

Skydive with a couple of buddies was great as was the beer (limited as it was my turn to drive) in the Griz afterwards. I think tomorrow could be just as good as today but then we are facing a quite significant warm up although praise to the Griz there does not appear to be any precip due until temps cool at the end of next week - not that anyone really knows what will happen. Enjoy.

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