Friday, February 5, 2016

Day 57 a pretty good day

Yesterday you may remember I was speculating on which extra areas of the hill might be open today. Well, we got the Saddles and Lone Fir but Polar remained closed. Reports from ski patrol buddies who actually went up Polar tended to confirm that we didn't miss much unless you are in to icy and crusty skiing.

We had no real new snow over night but there was a pretty significant wind event up the hill which continued into the day giving quite a lot of wind sift in some places, and of course wind crust/slab in others. It was about -1 on the way to the hill but base temps rose during the day so that by mid afternoon we had temps of +3 and some light wet precip. As we drove away from the hill tonight it was +5 in the valley which has to be a worrying trend. Up the hill it stayed cool in the overcast conditions with it never getting warmer than -1 at White Pass Load and -3 at the top. It was socked in poor viz at the top of White Pass and although things came and went during the day we had some very white conditions on top particularly with the down draft wind sift coming out of the Polar Chutes across the Reverse Traverse.

We went to the New Side as that promised the best of the new openings. I hit out to the Saddles even though they were shown as closed on the basis that the boards are not always up to date. It was good call as Corner Pocket had just opened and we had a good drop through followed by some slightly wind crusted powder in not too good viz below, but at least we were getting firstish tracks. The ski down through the lower part of Easter left was deep and convinced us that there would be better options.

Next Loops we hiked Lone Fir which was deep soft snow with one small ice patch on the exit so very mellow. The cushion under Lone Fir which of course is what we all go there for was sensational deep untracked snow and we ripped it all the way down to Freeway even though a few more tracks drifted in from the left lower down. Next loop we hiked back up and did almost the same again but hit the chute to the left of Lone Fir (Easter Meadow, One Step beyond etc, what ever you want to call it) and had first tracks in the chute. Biggest problem was being taken out by you own slough and of course the exit was over the same cushion that we had just had such an awesome time on below Lone Fir.

We just had time for a quick loop in  Touque Chutes/Spinal Tap where we tried the different lines out to the right of our usual tracks which we tried yesterday. There were some very nice lines that were untracked in the trees and we stayed right of the main Spinal Tap pitch in some very interesting and untried tree lines. just goes to show you should always be prepared to try new lines on the hill.

We decided to cut across to the Old Side and pushed out the Snake Ridge. Despite having been open for a day Snake still had a lot of untracked lines and the final pitch had a few firm parts but mostly skied really nicely as long as you had the skill to hold an edge on reasonably steep pitches. It was so good that after a drop down Kangaroo (a bit icy but really very tame) and Boomerang (so easy it was skiing more like a groomer) we went out for another go. This time we hit Gorby, Curve Ball, Steep and Deep and it was good after a couple of wind crust turns in the top. Lower down the powder was fantastic and untracked with lots of face shots. Even the exit on the right chute of Steep and Deep was ok jump turns, if a bit technical in places. We ran of through Kangaroo and Boom Ridge which was particularly nice wind affected snow.

In the afternoon after a late lunch I headed up the New Side again and hit Cougar Glades/Stag Leap which were good skiing in most areas and even the final pitch of Stag skied ok after a fashion. On the way across the Reverse Traverse next time I noticed big down draft winds grooming the snow early on so I dropped one of the harder far Concussion chutes and found it skied smooth and deep just like a dream - or at least the kind of dreams that I have. It was so good I went back and did it again next loop with the added bonus that Gilmar Gully skied pretty well both loops as well.

I was tempted again next time round and hiked Lone Fir which was still good with some tight jumping in the last chute and only a tiny piece of blue ice (which was easily avoided) to spoil the fun. The ski down to Freeway was still soft and deep and very lightly tracked. Timing meant that we just had time for a White Pass rip and we hit the Gun Bowl and under the lift in improving light which made for easy skiing and I was staggered at just how good the snow was in the wind sift all the way down.

Final rip of course was Skydive which we hit in one with no breaks. Unsurprisingly it was great in the top and a little scratchy in the lower pitch. Friday in the Griz is getting more like a mini version of Saturday and as it was Simon's turn to drive I have a very good time with buddies bullshitting about the days skiing.

It's +4 on the deck and some precip is in the forecast. It's all very worrying but what the hell can we do except ski whatever the Griz decides to send us.

No comments:

Post a Comment