Monday, March 21, 2016

Day 102 wet but still some ok skiing

Today the seeming never ending run of bluebird days that we have had came to an end and we were back into the overcast conditions with precip mostly in the form of rain. It was not to be wondered at after yesterday's very warm conditions that when the precip came through in the night it came through as rain as the temps simply did't have chance to get down to freezing, or anything like over night.

On the deck this morning it was still +5 and even when we arrived at the hill it was +4. During the day base temps got up to +8 with White Pass top at +4 and with Polar Peak closed we didn't see sub zero temps anywhere on the hill at any time today. Overnight they claimed 1 cm of fresh but as far as I could see we got rain all the way to the top of the hill and the surfaces softened only to the extent that the rain melted them. In summary where the surfaces had been pounded in ice yesterday they skied ok and soft taking an edge, where they had been soft snow yesterday they were heavy ugly elephant snot. the trick was to work out what was where.

When we got to the hill it was raining and continued to do so on and off all morning right up to the top of the hill. By the afternoon things had cleared up and the odd flurries we got did at least come down as ice pellets on top.the result was that skiing surfaces were wet most of the day through rain and the rest of the day through atmospheric warming.

We went to the New Side in the hope that the precip would be coming down as snow on top. We were wrong it was raining all the way to White Pass Top and clearly had been doing so for some time. We poked around White Pass for quite a while in some very socked in conditions and really didn't find any great skiing. We did look at the cat 2 avi on Gun Bowl which slide yesterday just before last chair as a result of the snow sliding off the gun tower roof - good job no one was caught as the death cookies were seriously big..It finally dawned on us that if there was no good snow to be had by going high on the New Side, we might as well go low on the Old Side and least be able to see something. We ran to base through Easter Bowl which was a bit sticky in places but not too bad on the tracked up lower sections. Freeway was actually surprisingly hard with an ice base.

Once on the Old Side we tried the Sunny Side shoulder and China Wall both of which were probably hard and icy yesterday and as such skied very mellow with a soft surface on firm bumps. Cedar Ridge was a mistake as it had too little traffic over the past few days so we had mush on soft snow which amounted to Elelphant Snot. Next loop we tried New Lift Line which was ok but get soft in the rain. Exits were always through Kangaroo which skied about as good as it ever does with a soft surface on some very big old ice bumps. No one seemed to want to try Boomerang which was surprising as it skied very mellow on a firm base every time we went through. Somewhere in there we dropped Boom Ridge which was also some excellent soft skiing on the firm tracked up bumps. We went to a surprisingly late lunch happy that where ever there had been skier traffic things were pretty good and where the snow had been soft it was now just way too soft.

After lunch I went up the New Side and dropped Lift Line which was rather soft in places but ok and therefore normal service was resumed with this being the default route to White Pass load. I did a Knot Chute loop which was very mellow before dropping 1-2-3s which got softer as you went down and was slow motion skiing by the end of 3s. I tried Bootleg Glades and by sticking to the main area in the middle that gets skied most managed to get a reasonable skiing surface. The way down to Gilmar Trail did get very mushy.

Next loop working on the basis that what had been ugly and icy would now be good I went to the Low Saddle and my theory proved correct. I even had a soft snow slough chasing me through the chute and the fans to skiers right were in great shape if a bit slow. The run out through Easter and Freeway were just as good as they had been in the morning. Continuing my theme I tried Gotta Go which was now soft in the choke but I still had to slither one turn to make things work - under the choke things were excellent. Bootleg was just as soft as before and ok skiing.

After a quick White Pass rip it was time for Skydive which I got to very late and skied it on my own. It actually skied ok particularly in the final section which was now soft on a firm base. On the way to base I stopped to watch a practice chair evac on Deer which is always interesting and my prove useful if you ever find yourself stuck on a chair.

After a couple of beers we drove away in temps of +7 which doesn't bode well for the next precip cycle. They are calling for a cooling trend and we have to keep our fingers crossed.

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