Saturday, March 19, 2016

Day 100 another bluebird day to mark a mile stone

Yes, today marked the 100 day mile stone and it certainly was another bluebird day. Just as promised we had sun with no sign of any clouds and temps rising steadily during the day. It was typical spring skiing in that overnight we had a very hard freeze up and during the day things softened very quickly in the direct sunlight and rather more slowly where we had to wait for atmospheric warming.

It was -10 in the valley overnight and still -7 when we got to the hill. During the day things warmed so that it was +8 at the base, +2 up the mountain and maybe just about freezing on Polar Peak but the snow was kept in good shape up there by a cold wind negating and sun effect. Elsewhere things started to soften but surprisingly slowly given the strength of the sun, perhaps it was the fact that things got so cold over night.

We went to the Old Side looking for soft surfaces and didn't find any. I understand from buddies that later in the day things did soften quite considerably particularly out on Snake Ridge and Steep and Deep and the skiing out there was good but certainly first thing it would have been pretty ugly. We went out to Dancer and then traversed into the lower parts of Easter as being the best the best option and it wasn't bad skiing with some soft snow on a very firm base but nothing to get too excited about. We decided to go to the New Side to try our luck.

On the New Side Lift Line was still pretty ugly so most of the day we dropped to White Pass load through Puff which was slick and hard. We tried the Gun Bowl as it looked as if it might have softened but it hadn't and was very crusty. Next loop we dropped 1-2-3s where the best snow of the day was in 1's, quite good in 2's and a bit chunky in 3's. The run to base was down a very slick Diamond Back which actually skied ok.

Next loop I tried Gun Bowl again and this time it has softened and was pretty good skiing. The rest of the run down to White Pass load was also softer so we were not restricted to groomers. Polar Peak had been open for some time and I usually avoid it on a Saturday because of the crowds and the danger of being taken out by a slider. Today it was quite quiet so we looped Papa Bear and Barely Legal which were both a firm base with a chalky covering that took an edge and skiing as well as ever. Grand Papa Bear was hard and refrozen and a whole lot more of a challenge but still great fun. We ran off to lunch through Lone Fir which was still soft all the way down the chute and still good skiing in the fan. Easter remained ok on a firm icy base and Freeway was smooth and groomed all the way to the cat track.

After lunch we went back up the New Side and this time did a loop through Knot Chutes which had softened a lot and were skiing very mellow. We then went back up Polar Peak for some loops and like before Papa Bear and Barely Legal were just as good. I had hoped that the direct sunlight would have softened Grand Papa Bear so I gave it a go, it was if anything more icy and harder than before but that is just how things go. Once again we ran to base via the hike up into Lone Fire and then a ski down the chute, the fan, Easter Bowl and Freeway, all of which were exactly as before lunch so pretty good.

We went back up White Pass and hit 1-2-3s followed by Diamond Back which were again the same as the morning so some really good skiing. Last time up and of course we went out to Skydive which had hardly any more tracks in than yesterday. Unsurprisingly it skied rather like yesterday with still some fresh snow but for the main part a dusting of chopped up fresh and a very hard uneven icy base. It was challenging but an ok way to finish my 100th day of skiing.

There was some huge party on at the base to celebrate the Monster Board Cross event so we sat outside in the beer garden and had a few cans before heading home. I dare say tomorrow things will be back to normal and the forecast seems to indicate yet more bluebird spring skiing.

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