Monday, March 14, 2016

Day 94 bullet proof

I could equally have headed today's blog as "Boiler Plate" or "Sheet Ice" or any number of other things - the point is that after yesterday's warm wet mushy skiing the overnight freeze left us with some unbelievably hard and icy conditions. As a good ski patroller buddy described it to me - Off the groomers it's all frozen chicken heads except where it was skied yesterday where it's frozen pig's heads. Yes, today was ugly frozen conditions with warnings from patrol at the top of all the lifts to stay away from the ungroomed skiing , needles to say we were only partially successful in following these instructions.

The first paragraph of tonight's blog was typed before I headed out for drinks to say goodbye to my Irish buddy Simon who has been out for a few weeks. The rest of this evening's epistle is being typed after those drinks and keen followers may care to contrast and compare the results.

The forecast for the day was warm temps at the base going up to +7 and things staying cooler on top at maybe +2. In the event it never got any warmer than +2 at the base and was well below zero on top all day. It was overcast with maybe a little hazy sun for a short time in the afternoon. We had light flurries all day which never gave us much accumulation but this evening it came on to precip much harder with temps in the valley of +1 and the precip falling as sleet. Up the hill things have to be much more promising.

We went to daylight saving last night so besides losing me an hour's sleep (guaranteed to put me in a bad mood) we were effectively on the hill an hour earlier today. Given the conditions this meant that we had hard frozen bullet proof snow from the outset. Even grooming didn't do much good as everything that had had been groomed last night had just refrozen to some very lumpy ice tracks and only the morning grooming was anything like smooth but still slick and icy.

We went to the Old Side and found everything a hard as rock. Even the groomers were a slick challenge but the ungroomed was tougher and the off piste all but unskiable in hard tracked up ice with death cookies. After some fruitless poking around we went for a quick hot choccy break to wait for things to soften - they never did.

Next we went up White Pass and found everything much as on the Old Side except that Puff was ok although it was hard scratchy ice all the way down. We tried 1-2-3s and found good skiing in 1s, ok becoming marginal in 2s and we didn't even think about 3s. Next loop we hit Currie Powder and found that the County Line was closed presumably for conditions and so we just worked our way down the run in hard icy conditions. Gilmar Trail was just about ok but slick and no sign of softening of any kind. We went for a late lunch.

After lunch we were back up the New Side for Puff again which was still hard and scratchy. We looped White Pass several times dropping through the Gun Bowl as the viz had now improved and found it hard and icy but with some ok bits at the top. Our run to base through 1-2-3s was just as good as this morning with some careful action needed to bail before 3s.

After a few more loops of White Pass where the Gun Bowl was proving rather nice - due mainly to our better skiing of it and not due to any improvement in the rock hard icy conditions, it was time for last run. Because the County Line remained closed by patrol (thanks guys, I would have hated to have had to have skied Skydive) we could not finish with out usual Skydive rip but took Currie Glades as the only skiing away from groomers available to us, it actually skied ok on a rock had base with not too many death cookies.

Good beers after in the Griz where the band had reduced their volume to the point where conversation about the day's skiing was quite possible - a vast improvement. More beers later in the Northern to say goodbye to Simon.

All day everything we tried to ski was bullet hard refrozen ice. Where things had been groomed or the surface was smooth (either due to no skier traffic yesterday or well pounded in crud) it was skiable but as an hard ice surface. Over most of the hill there was an ugly hard icy set of death cookies that you didn't want to even think about. It seems to be snowing tonight but we will need tons of the stuff to make the ungroomed snow anything like skiable.

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