Thursday, March 31, 2016

Day 112 hot and about to get a lot hotter

Today was forecast to be warm and for once the forecasters got it dead right. The worrying thing is that they are calling for it to get a lot hotter over the next couple of days and all the signs are that they will be equally right about that.

Overnight we appeared to have had some light precip in the valley although there was no sign that any of this had fallen on the hill. On the way to the hill after a late start due to checking on the shutting down of the hot tub it was +4 and all the signs were that it had not frozen on the hill overnight, at least not at lower and mid mountain elevations, Today it was overcast all day except for a brief sunny spell mid afternoon. This didn't matter as the warming was all atmospheric warming which started low down early in the day and just became warmer as the day went on. By mid afternoon we had +12 at the base and +7 up the hill and it was +13 as we drove away tonight.

The result was that everything turned to mush right from the outset and the only good skiing was where it had been pretty hard before. We went to the Old Side and tried Bear Cave Chutes and New Lift line which were heavy and slow all the way down. Kangaroo actually was the best skiing on the Old Side as it had been firm ice so had only softened to nice soft snow on firm bumps and actually very easy skiing. Boom Ridge skied just about ok but slow. After that we looped around Boomerang, Cedar Ridge, Boom Ridge and Kangaroo several times and they all skied almost too soft with the exception of Kangaroo.

We decided to try the Sunny Side shoulder on the basis it was usually hard and frozen and might be like Kangaroo. We were wrong it was just as soft and mushy as every where else, no worse but certainly no better. We then tried our luck on the New Side and at least found that Lift Line which had been getting hard and icy was now taking an edge as it did do all day. Polar Peak was open but we needed lunch so we ran down through Low Saddle which was soft as were the chutes to skiers right, Easter Bowl skied nicely on what had been hard packed snow.

After lunch we went back up Polar Peak as the chutes were open and in the atmospheric softening were skiing very mellow indeed and much better than the past two days where the direct sunlight had just got the surfaces to soft and slippery to be much fun. We had numerous loops through Papa Bear, Grand Papa Bear and Barely Legal all of which were very soft and gentle skiing albeit at about a 45 degree pitch in the steepest points. We even cut in from Shale Slope and skied the line directly back under the lift on the shoulder through the rocks which was only the second time conditions have been good enough for me to try that. We just had time for a run to base through Mama Bear where I was bowled over by a slough (not my own) but managed to recover. Low Saddle and Easter were nice and soft.

We did a quick White Pass loop and it was time for Skydive, I have noticed over the past few weeks that the group I ski with tend to jump in quickly behind me when I set off meaning that I spend all my time trying to avoid being cut off and being covered in slough. This afternoon on Skydive a solution that was so obvious I can't believe that I hadn't thought of it before came to me - If I can't get them to give me a decent separation when I set off then why don't I give them that separation. The result was that I set off last by a long distance and had a perfect ski down without encountering anyone getting in my way - that settles how things will go in the future for me. Skydive actually skied just about ok in the top section where it was very soft and got better low down particularly on skiers right where it was a firm base with some slight mush on top.

Beers on the deck and then it was time for a Chinese take away and a quiet night in. Tomorrow promises (is that the right word) to be even hotter.

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