Friday, February 19, 2016

Day 71 Variable

Now, when I say variable, I don't mean we had the full range of conditions up to and including awesome. No, what I mean is that we skied on a variety of surfaces that ranged from pretty ok to totally evil.

Yesterday things were setting up as I left the hill but with temps of +4 as we drove to the hill this morning I fully expected a general softening all over the hill as the day went on, boy, was I in for a surprise. On the hill temps were about zero at the base and a couple of degrees below up top. As the day wore on the base may have just about got to plus temps but there was no really significant softening of the lower surfaces. Up the hill everything that had been rained on and soft yesterday (which meant more or less everything on the Old Side and everything from half way down White Pass on the New Side) was hard refrozen crud and just the top few turns above the rain line were in the new snow as reported by the hill.

Overnight they claimed 10 cms of fresh snow and so I have to accept this figure. I can only think that this was the wet mush that came down yesterday during the day as there was no sign of any new snow other than a a light dusting on top and certainly nothing resembling 10 cms. The real problem was that because the crust line was so high you either had to ski groomers which smashed up the crust but groomed in any new snow on top or ski the fresh snow on ungroomed runs which turned to ugly crust after about five turns - not much fun either way.

We went to the Old Side which proved to be a big mistake. We spent the morning poking around various areas trying to find some good skiing but quite frankly drawing a blank in most places. The only skiing that qualified as ok was the Bear Cave Chutes and the ungroomed skiing along side Cruiser in Cedar Bowl which was alright until about half way down. The other side of the coin was ugly skiing in China Wall (hard ungroomed ice bumps) and Kangaroo (hard and very ugly even by the standards of Kangaroo) which made skiing very hard work. About 11 in the morning we decided that the Old Side sucked and headed to the New Side to try our luck.

On the New Side Big Bang and Lift Line were closed for the junior free ski competition and in truth I wasn't sorry as they both looked very icy and ugly. I dropped Puff which was very hard icy bumps and as such was very enjoyable - I don't think this view was shared by the girl I saw being dragged out of it on a toboggan in the afternoon.

White Pass actually skied very well although Knot Chutes and Anaconda were also closed for the competition. The Gun Bowl was actually nice soft snow although the viz came and went. The crunch line came about half way down and you just had to jump your turns and boss the snow/ice from that point on. Last run before lunch I pushed out to Easter Bowl and had a few good turns in the top before it became hard and icy and then eventually breakable crust. Tough but a good work out.

After lunch we had hoped for the Polar Peak chair but viz had socked in on top. We looped White Pass a few times just like this morning but just like then we had soft snow to begin with and crunch lower down. I decided that we needed to try the Big 3 and went out on my own a hit Decline which was ok down to the Megasaurus trail being some new snow on a hard base but after that it turned to ugly ice bumps and then crust.

After a few more White Pass loops it started to snow quite hard and continued to the end of the day. I dropped 1-2-3s and found them to be the best snow on the hill being very soft and mellow and getting crunchy only in the lower part of 3s. It was time for a Skydive finish and unsurprisingly I was on my own. Just like all of the other runs it was few turns of soft snow on a firm base followed by ever hardening bumps followed by breakable crust. Personally I thought that was great fun challenging finish to the day but I am sure there will those who disagree.

As we left the hill it was +1 with wet snow falling and a promise of some more to come overnight. I'll take whatever we get. We have our last guest leaving a week tomorrow and have put in plans for a road trip up to Kicking Horse. My pass is good at that hill, they seem to be having more winter like conditions which is what I am looking for and the hotels in Golden are cheap as chips with mid week deals. I hope conditions here improve but it is a clear indication of just how bad things are when I am thinking of driving 4 hours to get some better skiing.

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