Saturday, March 26, 2016

Day 107 today was the day when things didn't soften up.

And the reason things didn't soften up is the story of the day. The result of course was that where things had softened over the past couple of days we had hard ugly surfaces and where they hadn't we had some ok well preserved winter conditions.

Today we had expected a bluebird day and full on spring conditions. What we got was no snow overnight and starting temps of +1 at the base so things had frozen solid up the hill overnight. Instead of bluebird we got some cloud cover which hung around until late afternoon and a cold wind so that nothing really softened in the sunlight and the atmospheric warming was minimal. At the Timber load it never got much above +4 for most of the day and was freezing at the top. Very late in the day the sun broke through but it was too late to have any effect on the skiing surfaces and even though it was +8 as we drove away from the hill the lack of direct sunlight meant that all of the south facing slopes up the hill remained ugly and chunky most of the day.

We went to the New Side and found Lift line harder work with an icier base than yesterday, but just about ok. With a couple of variations into Big Bang which similarly was not as good as yesterday that was the way we dropped to the White Pass load all day.

We felt 1-2-3s might be the best bet and sure enough they were good winter snow conditions just like yesterday and only got a little chunky in the last few turns in 3's. We ran to base through Gilmar Trail which was hard as was the whole lower hill but a big improvement on the velcro stop/start snow that we had lower down over the past two days. This was so good we did it again and unsurprisingly it skied just as well the second time particularly as the holiday crowds did not seem interested in trying out that area.

Knot Chutes were closed all day due to ugly icy conditions so next loop I tried the Gun bowl to see if it had softened. It hadn't and was very hard and scratchy all the way down as was Quite Right and the run down under the lift. Call it a lack of imagination but we hit 1-2-3's again which were still excellent but this time exited through Bootleg Glades which were good and soft in the top but rather chunky lower down. Next loop for a change I hit High Saddle having looked in Corner Pocket and seen the tires all exposed by side slippers. It was very mellow edge to edge jumping in the chute and firm packed powder in the fans which gave great skiing. The exit through Easter Bowl was a bit firm in places but over all ok due to the compaction caused by skier traffic.

Polar Peak was open but as the Chutes were closed due to ugly conditions and the only way down was the Coaster as even the Clown Chutes were closed. Just as a last run before a quite late lunch we dropped the Coaster which as always was a bit slick and then had another great run through High Saddle and Easter which were just as good as before.

After lunch I just did three loops of Polar (still the Coaster only) where I did duck the fence and take a few turns in the top of Polaris before cutting back and each time ran to base through High Saddle and Easter which were just as before. I really can't ever remember High Saddle skiing as easy as it did today and even at the end of the day there were only a couple of icy patches to look out for. The fan is packed powder but reasonably soft and given the other options a pretty good line to take.

So it was time for last run. Even as the three of us who were dumb enough to attempt Skydive skied out to it we talked about how bad it would be - if anything we under stated the case. We were aware that there would have been not softening but nothing could really have prepared us for the final pitch. The first couple of sections were not too bad as they had never really melted but the final pitch had been deep tracked mashed potato/elephant snot on the last warm day and now this had frozen to a sort of icy plowed field with ugly death cookies and icy tufts that had no give in them. We got down without incident but it wasn't very elegant.

The holiday crowds filled the plaza and the temporary beer garden so after a quick beer I headed home before heading out for a meal with buddies at the Pub. One thing I won't do is line up to go and spend money on beer particularly when the line up is significant. I dare say that things will get quieter tomorrow but what the weather holds is anyone's guess, there is even talk of another precip cycle.

No comments:

Post a Comment