Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Day 97 good skiing but you had to look hard for it

As the heading implies there was some really good skiing around today but there was also some skiing that really sucked so you had to poke around very carefully to find the good stuff. If you were prepared to make the effort it really was worth while. All of this excludes the groomers which my buddies who ski them tell me were in very good condition and if your aim in life is to ski groomers then today would have been a great day's skiing - my objectives are rather different.

Overnight the hill claimed 2 cms of fresh which didn't seem right to me as we had about 3 cms of grauple before we left yesterday and it continued to come down after last chair. My best guess is that we had about 5 cms of new ice pellets as snow and for the most part they did a good job at repairing the hill to a limited extent. It was cold overnight and -4 as we arrived at the hill meaning that all the under surfaces were still rock hard. In the morning the sun came out and we had some warm temps well into plus figs on the south facing slopes where the new snow started sun balling quite quickly. Around mid day things became over cast and temps settled to about +2 at the base, zero at Timber Top and -4 at the Polar Load. Things stayed that way for the rest of the day with light flattening out in the afternoon and as a result the snow stayed in ok shape although it was rather sun damaged on the south facing slopes after the morning.

We went to the New Side and I saw that Lift Line was untracked so I dropped it. This was my only real mistake of the day as it was rock hard ugly bumps and chicken heads under the new snow and was a very challenging run down and not one that was repeated - you could see why I got first tracks. After that we had a few White Pass loops which involved putting first tracks in various parts of the Gun Bowl and the I bowl.

Next we tried Knot Chutes where we got second tracks and I then headed out to Surprise Trees where I put first tracks on soft snow which was on a scratchy base and which was sun balling even at that hour of the day. After a couple more Knot Chutes (Lynda's first of the season) and runs down the I bowl we went out to Anaconda where she got second tracks in 1 and I got first tracks in 2 which were new snow on a scratchy base on top but improved to real soft snow lower down. We ran to base through Diamond Back which had been groomed but still had some soft snow on crust along side the main run.

It was almost lunch time but next time up we found Polar Peak open and the skiing in the Polar Chutes was soft, deep and very mellow in a double black diamond sort of way. We looped Papa Bear several times enjoying the soft and for the most part untracked lines back to the chair. As we had to run to base we tried Mama Bear which was even softer and deeper than Papa and then we dropped into Corner Pocket which was a bit more scratchy than yesterday but the fan underneath was soft deep and untracked. Cutting into Easter it was bit firm under the new snow and the ski out on Freeway was very mellow if you like icy groomers.

We were back up Polar for more Papa loops and then out to Baby Bear which skied softer and deeper than all the other chutes.We were due a late lunch we so ran down Corner Pocket and found the fans underneath just as before as was the exit through Easter and Freeway.

After lunch I was back up Polar for a few more loops in the soft snow before a call of nature dragged me to base via the Currie Powder groomer - I needed to get down fast. The Polar chutes were holding up really well. Back up I bumped into a buddy and after a Papa loop we dropped Corner Pocket once again which was still very good below the chute. I have set out my plan for using shock cord to keep that stupid rope from getting in our way in chute. I do hope someone takes note or better still gets rid of the rope altogether - if you need that to get through you shouldn't be there in the first place.

The Currie head wall had been open and we considered it. The problem was that it was only open beyond Plumb Line which meant that my best line in Wimp Chutes was closed. Apparently this was because of the danger of spinal injuries (3 so far this year) with the cat track cut much higher this year if someone drops it in the chute. My problem is that Plumb Line is very near the edge of my abilities (probably from the wrong side) which really means the only line open to me is Up Right which I have skied several times but involves an awful lot of effort to get two really steep turns and then some short pitch skiing which isn't really any steeper than Barely Legal in my opinion. We decided not to go.

After a few more loops we did another Baby Bear, Corner Pocket, Easter Bowl drop which was as before very good indeed and even the day's traffic had left lots of untracked lines available. In a stunning break from tradition we didn't ski Skydive as last run. We looking into High Saddle on the way past and it was so tempting. As Oscar Wilde said "the only way to rid one self of temptation is to yield to it" so we dropped in. High Saddle skied about as mellow as I can remember with a good soft surface in the chute and plenty of room to make the 8 or 10 edge to edge jumps required to get through. In truth you just accessed the same fans as you did from Corner Pocket but as they were so good (just like all day) this was no hardship. Once again the Easter/Freeway ski out was pretty good.

Beers with buddies and a quiet night in has ended a good day. On the way back from the hill valley temps had reached +3 but they are calling for a cooling tonight and possibly some more precip so who knows.

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