Saturday, February 20, 2016

Day 72 a perfect storm

When I say a perfect storm I don't mean the weather although that was a storm and pretty bloody perfect in my opinion, no, I mean the circumstances leading to the crowds this weekend. We had a coming together of the last Saturday of Alberta family week, the first good snow in many days, a ski racing event for the FAST kids and the junior free ski event. Actually although parking was way out to lot 4 before 10 in the morning things were surprisingly not too busy with the exception of a long wait to get in the Griz Bar this evening.

My threat to ski elsewhere obviously had it's effect and the Griz gave us 35 cms of snow overnight, It rained in the valley at first but by about 11 it was starting to come down white even on our deck and up the mountain it must have been snow all the time. The snow was bit heavy lower down but was real hero snow on top. On the way to the hill it was +1 and driving back tonight it was +3 so the lower mountain had softened during the day but only a bit. It was snowing for most of the morning but cleared up by mid afternoon and we even got some weak sunshine to soften the snow even further.

The snow base was shown on the boards as 295 cms and with today's snow fall we might even have got the 3 metre party under our belt but we will have to wait for the official figures to see. Play it anyway you like we had tons of snow to ski on and the skiing was fantastic even if it did get a little heavy in the bottom sections.

We went to the Old Side because Timber Chair wasn't loading and got up via Deer and Bear - the fastest combination to the top. I don't usually go to the Old Side on a powder day because the pay for powder groups will already have been there and this depresses me - see earlier rants against this iniquitous practice. We ran straight down a lightly tracked Boom Ridge which was great skiing in the 35 cms of fresh powder.

Next loop we were trying to decide what to do when they dropped the fence on Cedar Ridge and we had the most awesome descent of the ridge. it was just an huge untracked float all the way down a so mellow. Kangaroo skied soft and a bit mushy in the final turns. We then had another loop through King Fir which was still deep with many untracked lines. In fairness I think I have to say that the snow off Cedar was the deepest and most like hero snow anywhere on the hill and the runs were spectacular - particularly the first when we got first tracks after the fence drop.

Things were getting a bit warm on the Old Side so we headed for the New Side. We were a bit reluctant as Big Bang and Lift Line were closed for the Junior Free Ski and we assumed that Knot Chutes and the I bowl would be closed to preserve to surfaces for the competition just like yesterday. In the event there was a strange closure where you could hike the chutes but not traverse in so as to save the competitors from traverse lines.This meant that Surprise Trees was open with excellent deep skiing and we looped it many times in great deep lightly tacked snow.

We received word from Ski Patrol that Currie Bowl would not open today but Anaconda would open some time during the day. On the strength of this we went for a fairly late lunch through Triple Trees which skied really well ( we had taken the top section earlier in the day) and even the final pitch above Summer Road was very mellow.

After lunch we headed back up the New Side and were surprised to find Currie Bowl was open although the County Line was shut down all the way to well below the low Reverse Traverse. We skied the far fence line in Currie and had some very good lightly tracked lines all the way down, even through the Gilmar Gully.

After that I hit three laps of Anaconda Glades which were all a little tracked but with some great untracked lines and real hero snow that allowed you just to push your skis in the fall line. The same was true in the skiers left trees of Bootleg which gave great deep skiing and for the first time this year I was able to take a line all the way down through the trees.

Final run should have been Skydive but with the County Line closed I had to make do with side stepping all the way up the Megasaurus Trail and hitting Skydive from where the trail crossed. It was really good deep skiing with much untracked skiing to be had. The worrying this was the huge amount of tracks coming down from above all the way across the traverse which indicated to me that an enormous amount of poaching had gone on. I hope these poachers were caught and punished as if not there is not much incentive for us law abiding citizens to toe the line.

Tomorrow we should get all of Currie and maybe Polar Peak but the warm temps remain worrying. I would still be much happier if everything was about 5 degrees cooler. A great days skiing with a few closures in 35 cms of real hero snow and many untracked areas to exploit.

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