Saturday, March 12, 2016

Day 93 more wet and soggy skiing

Overnight we had rain in the valley. On the way to the hill it was +3 and only raining lightly. I was not sure whether or not to go to full rain gear but by the time I had got my boots on it was full on rain day so I had my long green garbage sack, yellow Canadian Tire plastic jacket and red rubber gloves. As a result I remained dry and toastie all morning despite the heavy precip.

Of course we had the usual reports that the conditions up in White Pass were "awesome" and as usual these proved to be a complete load of bollocks - the conditions up in White Pass were marginal at best. I am not sure of the temps up top as the thermometer at the White Pass load was broken, or if it wasn't then it was -30 up there which personally I serious doubt. It had to be plus temps all the way to the top of Timber and maybe just about zero at the top of White Pass as a best guess.

We went to the New Side and found that it was snowing very wet snow up in White Pass. We had what has become the usual White Pass problem this year. The only good snow was right at the very top and this is in the clouds with viz socked in and skiing all but impossible away from any features to give some depth perception. Below the cloud which was around the bottom of the Gun Bowl the snow was heavy elephant snot on a scratchy refrozen base left over from yesterday.

I spent all morning looping White Pass in the very wet snow and never thought of running to base as obviously it would be pouring with rain down there. For the same reasons I never thought of going to the Old Side or expected Polar Peak to open. My loops were usually across the Gun Bowl and then dropping the fence line (both sides) by Knot Chutes as being the only visible reference points available. Runs down were the I Bowl, Surprise Chutes, Quite Right and Pillow Talk which I ran many times in the various tight chutes just above the chair lift. I did consider Surprise Trees but rejected them on the grounds that the slush line was so high I would have had over half the run in elephant snot and for some reason that didn't appeal.

Last run before lunch we hit Alpha Centauri which skied ok of the traverse for the first few turns before coming a real glue pot on the way down. It says something when Gilmar Trail is the highlight of a Currie Bowl loop. Over lunch it stopped raining at the base so I changed to more normal ski gear which kept me warm and dry in the afternoon.

In the afternoon I went back up the New Side in the now rainless conditions and just continued with what I had done all morning. the only additions were a few Knot Chute laps which were just mushy crud on a scratchy base and at the end of the day the light finally lifted enough to ski Gun Bowl under the lift. It wasn't really worth it as just like the Knot Chutes it was soft crud on a scratchy basis - not quite the "awesome" of the official reports.

Last run of course was Skydive and whilst we hoped that the Reverse Traverse had been closed, it hadn't so we had no choice but to go and ski it in the name of tradition despite the fact that we all knew it was going to suck, In the event it sucked far less than yesterday just being soft elephant snot and not the hard crust of yesterday, I think the improved conditions were probably due to the fact that the rain had stopped at lunch and the snow had been drying a bit during the afternoon. The drop proved a major cardio work out so we were ready for beers.

We only had a quick beer in the Griz due to the volume of the band. Now I don't want to sound like an old fart and if I am going to listen to music then it can be as loud as you want - but - in an apres ski bar the main entertainment is talking about the day's skiing and if the music is so loud that you can only just hear what someone says if they are less than a foot from you and shouting then to my mind the music is way too loud. We went to the Kodiak lounge where we could hear what we all wanted to say about the day's skiing and drink some very cheap beer.

They are calling for a cooling trend but as we drove away from the hill tonight it was +5 and raining and I doubt that the sow/rain line was anywhere below the White Pass load. I am not optimistic.

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