Friday, December 2, 2016

Day 1 Opening Day

So after all the hype and excitement opening day came round once again and overall it was a pretty good one. In summary we had limited terrain and the coverage was not deep with lots of early season hazards but where we had snow it was very good indeed and there was plenty of untracked free riding to be had as long as you looked hard enough for it.

The day dawned overcast and stayed that way all day with viz good at the top of White Pass but poor above that and as the day wore on the poor viz descended so that by the end of the day the viz line was just above White Pass load. Temps up the mountain stayed a very consistent -7 all day but felt much colder in the strong wind which sifted snow around to give some good fill in right through the day. Towards mid afternoon some light snow started and stayed with us for the rest of the day and although not apparent down in the town this evening there is every chance it is still falling on the hill.

The Old Side was not open so everyone had to head for Timber Chair with the obvious resulting crowds which lasted for about the first half hour. Only White Pass was open on top and despite every effort to set a record by getting Polar Peak open on opening day conditions in the form of poor visibility were against us and Polar remained closed. Down loading was allowed on Timber Chair although I have to say that the run off the hill on Summer Road was about as good as it ever is and we never availed ourselves of the down loading services on offer.

So what we had was the White Pass core from Highline to the edge of Surprise Trees. Puff and Lift Line were closed as were Surprise Trees themselves although we could access Anaconda to drop into Currie. In Currie it was open about as far across a High Saddle (none of the Saddles or any other access to Lizard were open) and there was a sign line that ran across Concussion pushing everyone back so that they either had to take Trespass Trail back the White Pass or Summer Road to base.

There was little or no grooming on the limited terrain available which as far as I am concerned made things pretty well ideal. The coverage was not deep so many early season hazards such a tree stumps, rocks, alders etc were apparent and had to be avoided. Nothing was very easy as the snow hugged the rough contours of the hill but it was soft and in many places untracked and so gave some great powder skiing.

With just a short morning choccy break and quick late lunch we skied all day and by the evening there were very few of us left on the hill. Everywhere was good and we tried - the Gun Bowl (many times and ways) I bowl, Pillow Talk. Anaconda (really deep in places but some tricky hazards) Knot Chutes, 1-2-3s (particularly nice) Currie Glades and upper Concussion. These all had their challenges because of the conditions but also offered great powder skiing (untracked in places) if you paid attention. We did consider trying some more adventurous stuff but decided with the thin coverage and many obstacles we had better not push our luck on opening day.

Afterwards it was back to Griz Bar to meet up with all our ski buddies and even if my sticking to OJ and soda caused some comments I enjoyed myself. Back home now for a well deserved rest. As I said the blog will not be a daily feature so wait until Sunday night for an update on opening weekend.

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