Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Day 68 pretty good snow in limited terrain

After my depression yesterday at the lack of full winter conditions, today continued in much the same trend but despite that it was a pretty good day's skiing. Overnight it rained in the valley but there were signs that it had come down white at some time in the night, The hill initially claimed another 6 cms in the ast 24 hours at snow plot level and later rather more than that. My own impression was that we may have got about 10 cms at the very top of the hill but from about half way down it had been rain and the conditions turned from snow to crust pretty quickly.

On the way to the hill it was +3 and by afternoon in the valley we had +8 - is this really winter in BC ? All over the hill it was plus temps of around +2 but much more in the direct sunlight. By evening everything was starting to set up after a very soft day and where there had been no skier traffic we had ugly rain crust over the mid to lower part of the hill. It was mixed cloud and sun all day getting a bit more sunny early afternoon before starting to cloud over in the evening,

We decided to head to the New Side as we guessed that the crap line would start somewhere around the White Pass load in in that respect we were not all wrong. The decision proved doubly good as the Bear Chair was down all day with a mechanical fault and Boom Chair opened only mid morning and was closed at 3 for maintenance - I don't think the Old Side with limited lift access and most of it below the fresh snow line would have proved to be much fun today.

We dropped Lift Line from Timber top and found good if rather slabby fresh snow in the top and Jersey Cream at the bottom. White Pass had just opened and we looped the core several times with the zig zag closed and got some very good soft and deep lines. The next opening was the Knot chutes and the Zig Zag. We had many laps hitting all of the Knot chutes from Reef Knot to Jim Chute several times and then dropping various parts of Surprise Trees while waiting for Currie bowl and Anaconda Glades to open/

With no obvious sign of a new opening we dropped Triple Trees (all 4 pitches, no I don't understand either) and had good skiing which got a bit crunchy in the lower pitch. we went back up and had a few more White Pass loops where the chewed up snow in Surprise was actually skiing very soft and nice. I was just about to go to lunch when they dropped the fence on Currie Bowl - sometimes I think ski patrol time these opening just to ruin my digestion. We had word that Currie was closed at the County Line so we just dropped 1-2-3s where the skiing was good and untracked. There were some avi debris trails but even these were skiing quite soft.

We looped back  through Trespass Trail - by we I mean a blog reader from the UK called Mark who joined me for some of the afternoon - there, said you would get a mention. We then went to Anaconda on the basis that everyone had hit Currie and we were well rewarded with fresh tracks in Anaconda 1. Another Trespass loop and we tried Gotta Go which only had one track in front of us but it was a snowboard that had decided to side slip the choke - thanks buddy. After negotiating the now icy chute the skiing was very good low down. We ran to base down Gilmar Trail having rejected the idea of Bootleg Glades on the basis that the crust was starting just as we got to the bottom of Anaconda so te Glades would be pretty crusty.

Next time up the Reverse Traverse had been opened and we tried Skydive which only had one track in it. It was great until half way down the first pitch when it became ugly breakable rain crust and with a view to the safety of my skiing companions I bailed into Easter Bowl via Magasaurus which was not exactly a stroll in the park. Next time up I bumped into more buddies and had a great run down Anaconda 2 which was soft and deep.

So it was time for the last run and common sense said to leave Skydive alone. Needless to say we hit it from top to bottom and just like before it turned to ugly ice crust very quickly. At each turn we hoped it would soften but we were stuck with hard jumping in breakable rain crust all the way down with maybe the last couple of turns showing signs of softening.

After a few beers we entertained friends and had a great evening. The outlook is still for temps more in line with a summer night and precip which I would describe as rain were it not for the fact that the official line is that it never rains of Fernie ski hill - let's see.

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