Monday, March 7, 2016

Day 88 not a bad day all things considered

Yes, we can put away the crapiness tables to assess today's skiing but let's not get carried away, we are a long way away from breaking out the awesomeness tables. All in all it was pretty good days skiing and way better than the last two days although to be fair that is setting the bar pretty low.

Overnight they were calling for about 5 cms of new snow but that was the wintery grauppel that was falling as we left the hill yesterday and didn't extend much below the snow plot where the measurement was taken. It was just about minus temps in the valley as we set out to the hill and that gave us the expectation that we would be getting hard refrozen crud away from the groomers. In the event the ungroomed snow was very mixed in quality and as days go this was about one of the most varied I have ever skied and trying to guess what would be good was very difficult.

During the day we had sunshine in the morning clouding over in the afternoon and eventually getting snow/ice pellets late in the day which extended even down to the base for our final run. Temps rose and in some places we had soft sun affected snow, in other atmospheric warming softened to a lesser degree and still in others we didn't have any softening at all, as I said it was strange day and very difficult to work out what any run might be like at any particular time. Generally temps rose so that it was about +2 at the Polar load by mid afternoon but they cooled a bit later in the day as the conditions changed to more wintery conditions.

We went to the New Side to pick up what remains of last nights storm we could and found some untracked grauppel around but nothing giving what you might describe as powder skiing. We looped White Pass several times and found great skiing in the Gun Bowl but some very varied surfaces below which ranged from soft fresh snow to hard refrozen crud. Polar Peak was open so we went up for three loops of Papa Bear which skied as a firm but smooth base taking a good edge but with the usual severe penalty for getting it wrong.

We ran to base through Alpha Centauri which was crusty on top but soon mellowed out to great soft fresh snow. The lower parts remained tough and icy skiing. Next time up we dropped Lift Line off Timber which was hard ugly and icy crud and remained that way all day, every time we dropped it no matter what happened on the rest of the hill. We went back up Polar and had more great loops through Papa Bear (steep smooth and mellow) Shale Slope (ok but a few rocks in the bottom and cut under the lift was hard and icy) and Barely legal which was good to start with and a little icy in the exit chutes.We ran to lunch through Concussion which was softening in the sun so quickly that it was actually mush in the lower pitches.

After lunch we were back up Polar Peak to try Grand Papa Bear which we had been told was ugly and icy - in the event it was ok with some icy patches but with the surface softening a little. Next drop we got diverted by a slider in Barely Legal and by the time my buddy had taken the ski down to her we were below the loop back line. We tracked out to Easter bowl which had softened away from the sun and was variable soft skiing on a firm base with some avi debris.

We went back and tried a few More Polar loops of Grand Papa ( slightly worse than before in terms of ice) Barely Legal (much more icy in the exit chutes) and Papa Bear (staring to get a bit firm and bare) so so tougher skiing in the Polar chutes and as a result much more fun. We did a run through Concussion which was just starting to set up as was everything below and the slightly firmer surface made for some of the best skiing of the day with soft under surface.

Last run of course was Skydive which was hardly tracked (I think I could still see my last track from last night) but mostly breakable crust although the general consensus was that it was nowhere near as bad as we all thought it would be. So not a bad finish.

Every time up Polar Peak we had seen a lot of  "weather" out to the west and we expected to be hit by it during the day. As it was we didn't get anything until last run but we have to hope that we get something overnight. That having been said with temps on the deck of +4 any precip may be a two edged sword - lets see.

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