Sunday, March 27, 2016

Day 108 happy Easter - who turned the lights out

Yes, today was day when a weather system moved in that gave us some fresh snow but with overcast conditions, fog, snow and generally a lot of white atmosphere with white stuff falling it was a tough day to see anything on the hill anywhere above about the half way point up the hill. We did however get some good skiing although it has to be admitted that if you weren't careful you could have got some pretty dreadful skiing from almost the same areas.

Overnight we had no new snow and the temps when we arrived at the hill were in the zero/-1 region which meant that the starting conditions were going to be just like yesterday, hard refrozen crud where the surfaces had melted in the last few days and good winter conditions where they hadn't. Things were forecast to warm up a bit but with cloud cover anticipated all day it was not thought that things would change that much and initially that is how things looked.

What changed the game was that it started snowing quite early on and kept on snowing for most of the day although not all that heavily. Temps did warm up to about +3 at the base but stayed at zero over the rest of the hill and as a result the underlying snow stayed firm and the new snow provided a good surface cushion. The strange thing was that the new snow which could only have amounted to about 3 cms seemed to have a transforming effect on the crusted off piste snow and as a result by the end of the afternoon a number of areas that had been skiing rather sketchy actually were skiing very nicely indeed.

Lynda wasn't skiing today having skied 4 days in a row on the new hip so I headed to the Old Side on my own to poke around and see if I could find anything soft. Nothing had softened and the overnight freezing had hardened every surface and early on the snow which was falling all day had not by that time had the chance to accumulate on the surfaces. I looped out along Lizard High Traverse several times to get into lower Easter Bowl and that skied very hard and bumpy to begin with but got softer each time round as the new snow started to accumulate. By late morning I was even able to start exiting through Freeway which was crusty and ungroomed before the snow had started to settle.

Late morning I got word that Snake Ridge had opened and was ok. I traversed out to the Ridge but my arrival coincided with the snow storm becoming it's most intensive. As a result the light flattened to the whitest flat light I have ever experienced and Snake Ridge was just a pool of undefined white light. I groped my way down in what might actually have been ok skiing conditions but I was in no position to tell. Kangaroo was hard ugly icy bumps just as usual and as usual was a great run as far as I was concerned. Boomerang was a bit scratchy but skied ok with the new snow starting to react with the old hard surface. It was actually so good that I went back and did it again before heading to lunch.

After lunch I decided to head up the New Side as I had a feeling that the snow which had been falling as wet snow low down might actually turn to rain low down so going high would be a good choice. I had tried to go high during the morning but when I got to Timber it had broken down (again) and with a long delay promised I had headed back to the Old Side. In the afternoon the mechanical problems appeared to have been sorted out and I headed of the New Side.

Lift Line and the variations into Big Bang skied well and late in the afternoon I even found myself on the top of Hollywood Rock but thought better of it, at least until we get a bit more soft snow on the landing. By this time the light had socked in and the snow was starting to come down harder. I hit 1-2-3s and then Bootleg Glades which both skied in very nice winter conditions and even the viz became ok half way down.

I had noticed that Polar Peak had been open but in the totally socked in conditions I found it hard to believe that it had been running. I went up just for the crack of it and by chance I was the last one to go up before they closed the chair. The run down was on the Coaster which was all that was open but the viz was very poor. To restore my faith in the skiing on the hill I hit out to High Saddle which skied ok but was a bit tricky with not much viz even in the chute. The fans, Easter Bowl and Freeway were getting really good skiing in the new snow.

We just had time for one more High Saddle which was just like before plus the exits were getting better in the new snow. We had time to kill so hit a drop down Anaconda which was very good soft deep snow with very few tracks and then a run back round Trespass Trail. This got us back in time for the final Skydive run.

Skydive was looking like it might have been as bad as yesterday but when we got there we were pleasantly surprised. It skied really soft in the top and ok in the mid section. Even the lower part skied better than yesterday with the surface taking an edge which was big improvement. A tough but satisfying final run.

Looks like we may get some more snow overnight so fingers crossed for a good day tomorrow.

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