Thursday, March 17, 2016

Day 98 happy Paddy's Day

Now, I understand there is a movement among politically correct nerds to stop the use of the term "Paddy's" to describe today for some obscure reasons known only to them. Let it be known That I lived and worked in Dublin for three years and I can assure everyone that over there this day is referred to by the locals as Paddy's Day and if you have a problem with this I suggest you should just try and get over yourself.

Today on the hill was a very happy Paddy's Day for me if only because of the great skiing that I found - please be aware that this does not mean that the skiing all over the hill was great, only that the skiing on the particular (and very limited) parts of the hill that I skied on was very good. Looking back in Lynda's journal it was not a particularly encouraging start. Last year we were still skiing on the residual snow from a 65 cm dump which happened two days before and which pretty well saved the season from disaster. Two years ago we were skiing on 35 cms of fresh snow which resulted in me being buried in an avalanche in the fan under Lone Fir - known ever since that date as Bill's fan. So today's overnight figure of 2 cms (actually it seemed at least double that to me) didn't seem to stack up too well.

On the way to the hill it was -4 and during the day base temps rose to +3 with zero at the Timber Top and -4 at the Polar Load. As we drove away from the hill tonight it was +3 in the valley. These were all temps away from the direct sunlight which as for the most part we had a blue bird day was a significant feature. The direct sunlight softened snow surfaces up to about White Pass Top and in the more directly affected area such at the top of the Currie Chutes there was very significant softening during the day and equally significant setting up towards the end of the day. Around lunch time we had a clouding over with some flurry activity which cleared early afternoon only to come back and then finally clear late in the day. The effect was mainly on the light which became very flat indeed under the cloud cover.

I was skiing alone today and with no offence intended to anyone I quite enjoyed it as all I had to do was to please myself. I went to the New Side and noticed that the Knot Chutes were untracked in the new snow covering. I put in two White Pass loops getting first tracks  in two of the Knot Chutes and the relevant parts of the I bowl below. It was all ok soft snow skiing on a scratchy base with few chunks to catch you out below the fresh snow.

Polar Peak was open so up I went to enjoy some of the best skiing in the Polar Chutes I can remember. I dropped all of them several times and found - Papa Bear soft flat snow taking an edge and skiing really well, Barely Legal skiing the best it has all season with no hint of ice in chute exits, Grand Papa Bear was rather scratchy in places but was very soft and deep along the left fence line in the lower section and even Shale Slope was ok but admittedly I only used it to access the shoulder near Grand Papa. Great skiing looped repeatedly.

Mid morning I ran to base through High Saddle (skiing very nicely with good edge to edge jumps) and the fans beneath still had many untracked lines in soft deep snow. Easter Bowl (untracked snow on a crunchy and lumpy ice base) and Freeway which was groomed from yesterday and a bit slick but really quite ok. I went back up Polar and did exactly the same until it was time for a late lunch which I ran to exactly as before with the only difference being that there was signs of wear in High Saddle where it was apparent that side slippers has set out to destroy the good skiing that the rest of us had been enjoying.

In the afternoon I was back up Polar for the short afternoon session and surprise surprise I did exactly what I had been doing all morning and it was just as good particularly after the flurry clouds passed and we went back to ok viz. Late afternoon I ran to base but this time tried Lone Fir particularly as there was a large group who looked like side slippers to me entering High Saddle as I passed. Lone Fir was great with only two tracks in front of me so lots of untracked snow and the fan (two years since I was buried) the best deep soft snow of the day right down to where the traverse lines cut in from Lizard Bowl.

I just had time for a ripper loop in White Pass on groomers to burn off time before I headed out for last run which of course was Skydive. I was alone on Skydive which suited me and there only appeared to be three tracks in front of me. It was ok soft snow on a hard base, a bit like Easter Bowl. It didn't really soften much on the way down but was ok skiing if not the best on the hill.

Of course we had Paddy's Day celebrations in the Griz although I refuse to drink green beer - when they do that in Ireland then maybe I will start. A nice quiet night in and with no new snow in the forecast we have a lot to think about as to what tomorrow's conditions may be - watch this space.

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