Sunday, April 3, 2016

Day 115 an Old Side day

Yes, today was perhaps the only day this season that I spent all my time on the Old Side which I did for no other reason than I thought that would be where the best skiing was and that my favourite lines on the New Side were for the most part closed.

Just for the record today was the day that the base dropped below 3 meters but what the snow depth was at the snow plot had very little if anything to do with what the spring skiing was like all over the hill. There was no new snow just like the past 7 days and we were facing a bluebird day. In the event we had some cloud but it was warm to start with and got a lot warmer as the day went on. Overnight temps up the mountain had dropped to about zero so we did have frozen off groomer skiing to contend with but it wasn't really hard boiler plate and the day was warm enough to soften it pretty fast.

On the way to the hill it was +3 and warmed fast. During the day I saw temps of well over +10 on the Old Side and in the direct sunlight (which came and went) it was warmer. Tonight on my front deck as I was getting down my Christmas lights (yes, well I have been busy) I noticed the temp was +13 so the overall picture was one of softening snow.

I went to the Old Side and immediately tried the Sunny Side shoulder which I figured would be the first place to soften. I was right and the surface softened on a hard ice base which gave something approximating to corn snow and made for some really good skiing. I ran many variations on the shoulder always trying to find the steepest chutes I could and the exit was at first through China Wall but later in the chutes to the skiers left which were twiggy but good and soft.

I then dropped Bear Cave Chutes and New Lift Line which were just still a little crusted on top but good untracked spring mush skiing underneath. I cut into Cedar Centre which hadn't been groomed but was soft on a firm base and easy skiing. Kangaroo was very soft and mellow on the firm bumps but with some twigs starting to poke through.

After that it was repeated loops of Boom Guts, Boom Ridge, Cedar Ridge, Kangaroo and then Boom Ridge again. These were great soft snow on firm bumpy bases and were just fantastic spring skiing if a bit of work in the bumps. Having dome these loops several times I was joined by some buddies from the New Side and repeated the loops which remained just as good. I was just about to go to lunch when I ran into some more buddies who had been instructing on the Non Stop programme but were now free skiing and did the loops all over again which if anything were better than before - particularly Kangaroo and all were now big soft spring bumps.

The result of this was a very late lunch (about 2 o'clock) and a short afternoon. I did consider the New Side but I ran in to a patroller buddy who said he had been closing a lot of stuff up there so knowing how good the Old Side was I went back there. The Cedar Ridge, Boom, Boom Ridge, Kangaroo loops continued in nice soft bumps which were just setting up a little by the end. Towards the end of the day we speculatively dropped Buck Shot off the Goat Trail as it looked good and looks didn't deceive. Maybe the best untracked softish skiing surface we encountered all day.

For a final run we hit Boom Guts which unbelievably was still skiing perfectly in soft bumps. Just for the crack of it we dropped Kodiak and did a line I had done just before lunch by skiing the now disused bump course that the racers and been using up until yesterday. It was really great hard bump skiing and although we didn't ski it like the racers (we didn't try inverted aerials for a start) we did at least hold the fall line before drifting off the hill along Cedar Trail.

Considering the conditions we had a great day as long as you liked soft spring bumps skiing. Whilst I may have liked it I am not so sure about my legs which are complaining about what I guess was a very tough day of bump skiing. Beers with buddies and couple of goodbyes where buddies were having their last day of the season. For my part we have 7 more days to go and if they are like today there will be no complaints from me.

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