Friday, February 12, 2016

Day 64 I enjoyed myself

I need to make it clear here that I am absolutely only talking for myself, and I can say I had a good fun day's skiing. given the conditions others might not have had so much fun. The Old Fernie crowd would have had their ticket punched just so they can say they have skied every day and gone home as soon as possible. Others just would not have skied because the conditions looked a bit challenging (wimps) and yet other vacation skiers would have given it a try and gone to the bar early. Needless to say I had good 9-4 fun even in today's conditions.

For the past few days we have been experiencing Spring skiing conditions which manifest themselves as mushy snow in the warm sun during the day turning to boiler plate or refrozen crud overnight which it all but unskiable the next day until the temps warm and the snow softens again. A lot of unthinking people insist that this is lovely skiing under bluebird skies without giving any serious thought to what it happening. They should just ponder that after the snow cycle last week we had a base of over 290 cms and the starting figure today was 246, so these "lovely" skiing conditions have destroyed about 50 cms of our ski base in the last week.

The saving grace up until now had been that it had remained dry and so we didn't get the double whammy of destruction of warm temps and rain. Well, today was the day it all changed and we got rain overnight and for most of the morning on the lower hill. The rain line stopped around the White Pass load on the New Side but even above that we didn't get any real snow, just a bit of wet white precip and the odd ice flurries which didn't give any significant accumulations. The result was that we got wet soft melted rain affected snow all over the hill which skied pretty well in places where there had been skier traffic and was heavy elephant snot where there had been deep snow.

On the way to the hill it was raining but temps were only +1 so we had hopes that the snow line might be quite low. As said above the rain was obviously falling out of a warm air mass as the rain line was way up the hill. It rained off and on all day over the lower hill and temps were just about plus everywhere. Viz was dreadful in White pass with the whole area socked in although this did improve a little late in the day. On the Old Side viz was pretty poor but with few more breaks.

We went to the New Side and found that whilst the viz was very poor on top the snow surface was ok wet snow soft skiing. We looped White Pass a few times in the difficult conditions before biting the bullet and running to base for better viz but much wetter conditions. We dropped Alpha Centauri, Concussion, Decline and then Skydive before lunch. they all skied ok with poor viz in the top but better softer skiing below particularly on the now soft surfaces that had been icy bumps before.

After lunch I went out to the Old Side on the grounds that even though it was lower and I would be in the rain I was dressed for it in my now famous rubber and plastic gear. As always I am surprised how many people who would always dress for the cold when it is cold fail to dress for the wet when it is wet - I skied all day and at the end of the day I was warm dry and toastie just because the clothing was water proof - nothing more water proof than plastic and rubber.

New Lift Line, Bear Cave Chutes, Cedar Ridge, Boom Ridge, King Fir and Boom guts were all great skiing on soft rain affect snow. A special mention has to go to Kangaroo where the hard icy bumps of yesterday were now soft mellow wet bumps and in my opinion comprised the run of the day by a big margin.

I went back to the New Side for a quick Alph Centauri loop which was just as good as before and then dropped Skydive which like the morning was a little soft in the top and then great skiing low down where yesterday's icy bumps turned to soft rain affected snow.

Time to dash as I am picking up yet another guest from Cranbrook tonight.  I anticipate tomorrow as the first day of Alberta family week being a zoo but who knows given the marginal conditions. We are promised a cooling trend and more precip but I am not holding my breath.

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