Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Day 27 It didn't snow

It's not often that something not happening is worthy of comment but the snow has been coming so thick and fast just lately that a snow free day is something of a novelty. There was no real snow overnight and nothing during the day so that we could take a final count of the snow falls of the past few days and establish that the base is now 185 cms which is very healthy for this point in the season.

Once again we made an early start to beat the holiday crowds and got to the hill just before 8:30. The crowds must have been greater today than yesterday as we had to some way back in parking lot 2 or perhaps the visitors were just a bit quicker out of their blocks this morning. During the morning I noticed massive crowds lining up to buy tickets (I was told by a visitor that they had to wait well over an hour to get their ticket) which suggests that today was busier than yesterday. It was therefore strange that the line ups on the New Side , where I was (honest I promise to ski the Old Side tomorrow) were much shorter and we didn't really have to wait at all to get loaded. I understand that there were big lines on the Old Side so perhaps that's where everyone went.

On the way to the hill temps were -4 and during the day they started at -7 at the White Pass load but got up to about -5 and in the valley on the way home it was a balmy -2. Things should stay this warm for a day or two before we drop back to minus teens at the weekend. The conditions were as forecast cloudy with sunny breaks and the flat light came and went as you skied various parts of the hill. Polar Peak remained closed due to wind but mid morning we got the Saddles opened (the reason I was hanging out on the New Side) and they were spectacular.

There had obviously been a wind event last night and the surface had a lunar landscape appearance which I expected to be quite crunchy. To everyone's surprise is was super soft wind sift so that even in places that had been skied hard yesterday the snow had filled in (deep in places) and was very mellow skiing. Where we had new openings on untracked snow it was just knee deep soft powder and totally awesome.

I just looped all day off various parts along the Reverse Traverse and repeated all of the drops through the Saddles and chutes several times. High Saddle went from easy edge to edge jumps in the morning to an icy trough in the afternoon although the skiing underneath stayed good deep powder. Low Saddle was always a bit icy in the top but became more so as the day went on but again the chutes to the skiers right remained deep and lightly tracked. Lone Fir and Easter Meadow (only ski patrol would name one of the tightest and steepest chutes on the hill a "meadow") remained in great shape all day as did the fan underneath partly because people won't make the effort to boot pack up to them and partly because they can be  quite tricky. Special mention has to go to Spinal Tap where we got first tracks in the wind sift and the snow seems to have become a little more dense making it real hero snow as it holds you up well and makes skiing so easy.

The Reverse Traverse also warrants a special mention as it is staring to get very chopped up with many exposed rocks around Low Saddle. The corner just before the bridge is also a bit tricky and should be taken a little slower than usual to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Snow should start again tomorrow afternoon and give us a reasonable dump tomorrow night. I am going to take one for the team. Whenever I ski the Old Side in circumstances like this Polar gets opened and I miss the first few turns. The only way I can think of guaranteeing a Polar opening tomorrow is to hit the Old Side so when you guys get Polar do remember who you need to thank.

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