Sunday, February 7, 2016

Day 59 lazy Sunday

Now before anyone thinks that a lazy Sunday involves skiing on groomers or not skiing from 9-4 it doesn't. After all I said I was lazy, not dead. No, today (partly affected by the sunny weather I think) I just took it easy in the areas I skied, stopping to chat to buddies about conditions, etc. Looking back it is quite surprising how much tough snow I put under my skis today so maybe I wasn't as lazy as I intended.

Overnight conditions cleared and we had starting temps of -9 on the way to the hill. It started as a bluebird day and temps started to rise pretty quickly. Luckily we were saved by some cloud cover that drifted in around lunch time and kept things cool. Although base temps must have got up to +3 it was -2 at the White Pass load and colder up Polar Peak so the snow didn't get too badly damaged by the sun. As we drove away from the hill it was zero and with conditions clearing overnight the forecast low of -5 looks likely so it should be that we manage to get one more good day's skiing before the warming trend in the outlook hits us.

When it comes to bluebird days I really do feel like across between the Grinch and Scrooge. Everyone else raves about them and says how lovely the skiing in the sun is etc and I am the only miserable sod who holds a different view.As it is my blog these views are going to get an airing even if I am the only person who thinks this way. We are here to ski on snow and snow never falls on a bluebird day. The sun is the enemy of snow, it does not produce snow, it destroys it. If we are lucky sun gives us sun crust which is a rather tricky skiing surface or worse still refrozen crud which is a nightmare. Whilst viz is good in the direct sunlight in the trees the dappled shadows make skiing very tough. In the shaded areas (a significant proportion of the Fernie ski hill) defused white light gives very flat light. In summary today we were lucky to get away with so little damage to the hill due mainly to the clouds rolling in early afternoon. I guess if you are a groomer skier none of the above applies but as I am not my views are strong on this subject.

I went to the Old Side and had a warm up down Sunny Side shoulder which was all soft bumps and very nice skiing. I then hit out to Snake Ridge which was still soft snow with some untracked areas and getting a little firm when you hit the bumps in Gorby Gap. The loops that followed were Curved Ball into Steep and Deep which as always was very lightly tracked steep skiing, Gorby Bowl all the way down which was very deep and soft with just the need for a technical shuffle to get through the waterfall and then Snake again just because it was so good.

All four returns were through Kangaroo which was hard icy bumps and a lot of fun and Boomerang which you could just take as a series of fast GS turns all the way down in soft snow. Final run before lunch was Boomerang Ridge which was very soft and mellow and only very lightly tracked with a run to base a long Cedar Trail which was reasonably slick.

In the afternoon we went to the New Side and went straight to Polar Peak chair which had only just reopened after a major break down during the morning. Conditions in the chutes were ugly to the point where they were closed so the only fun stuff was in the Clown chutes which we took - nice steep soft skiing. After that the afternoon was -
Decline - still very mellow all the way down particularly in the lower section.
Touque Chutes/Spinal Tap - still great soft skiing
Lone Fir - if anything even better than yesterday with more blow in apparent in the chute and great soft snow below down to Freeway. Even the Freeway gully skied ok.
Siberia Ridge - as always rather lightly tracked all the way through with just a bit scratchy in the choke.

Final run out to Skydive and a special mention has to go to Deb and Annie who have done a great job working on the traverse so that it is about as smooth and mellow as I have ever seen it. Skydive of course skied very nicely in the top and a little scratchy in the final pitch - it is now standard for us to drop it in one and tonight was no exception.

In the bar we had beers and nachos while watching that strange piece of Americana known as Super Bowl which incidentally is still going on now some 3 and a half hours after it started. Warm temps called for tomorrow but with no precip we might just get away with another ok day like today - here's hoping.

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