Friday, March 18, 2016

Day 99 real spring skiing

Overnight there was no new snow and the day dawned as a perfect blue bird day and stayed that way pretty well all day. On my deck it was -9 as I drank my coffee and was still -7 as I arrived at the hill. With direct sunlight warming quickly there had to be a chance of real corn snow (the softening on a hard ice base and not the usual pile of elephant snot that many locals refer to as corn snow) but in the event I didn't see any real corn snow all day. During the day the temps rose to around +4 at the base but held to just above zero at the White Pass load and -3 at the Polar Load.

The overall effect on the conditions of the snow was that it softened a little at the base, at mid mountain it only softened in the direct sunlight (quite a lot) but away from the sunlight stayed quite firm and up in Polar Peak it didn't really soften at all in the sub zero temps and cold wind although a slight softening on the surface may have been evident in the most direct sunlight. By the end of the day most of the sun softened snow was starting to set up.

We went to the Old Side and had a poke around in areas such as Sunny Side to see if it had softened which it hadn't. If fact in the temps of around -5 everything remained very hard and icy, After a while we headed out to Red Tree where over the past couple of days conditions had been described to me as awesome. I can only say that if what I found was awesome then some people are setting the bar pretty low, It was a hard lumpy ice base with some soft snow on top that really did very little to cushion you from the ugly under surface. We ran back through Kangaroo which was hard ugly icy bumps just as normal but was rather worse than usual even by Kangaroo standards. Boomerang looked like it might have softened so I gave it a go and found that I was probably in there about 20 minutes early as it was still rather crusty but totally skiable. Unfortunately no one else seemed to agree as I was not followed in by anyone on the lift who had seen/heard me ski down.

We headed to the New side late morning and did a couple of loops in White Pass where the snow was softening in the Gun Bowl. the I bowl and all routes on the way down to the load. We had a feeling that 1-2-3s would be good and we were not wrong. 1's had the best winter snow on the hill deep and soft, 2's was still pretty good and 3's stayed in good shape down to the last few turns. We ran off the hill through Diamond Back which had been groomed and was hard and crisp all the way down.

Next time up we went to Polar Peak where we found the Polar Chutes (particularly Papa Bear) in the best shape we had every seen with flat smooth surfaces taking a great edge in a soft surface. We would have stayed up longer but in my capacity of good Samaritan I ran some equipment that had been lost by a slider down to him and got below where I could run back to the lift. We ran down to lunch through Concussion and probably hit it about right as it was softening fast and any later would have been just too mushy.

After lunch I went back up Polar Peak and stayed there. I found everything skiing as well as I can ever remember with the surfaces firm but taking and edge - obviously falling was not an option in those circumstances. Papa Bear, Grand Papa Bear and Barely Legal were looped numerous times and always were excellent as described above. Late afternoon I dropped Mama Bear which skied just as well as all the other chutes and then cut out and hiked up Lone Fir. The Lone Fir chute was still very lightly tracked and skied nicely in some soft snow, even the final chute was pretty mellow with edge to edge jumping down to the fan. The fan was soft and deep with hardly any tracks and the cut into Easter was ok tracked up skiing.

Last run of course was Skydive which was still hard and scratchy underneath with some soft snow (still plenty of untracked) on top.Another good day if you looked hard enough to find the good stuff.

Beers on the locals deck at the Griz in the sun finished a good day and it's now time for an early night to prepare for day 100.

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