Saturday, December 31, 2016

Day 30 Thank goodness for wind sift

Last night we didn't have any new snow and as the snow fall from the last cycle started to settle the base came down to 188 cms. Up the hill apparently there was quite a wind event which didn't really get to us down in the valley but did move the recently fallen powder around to the extent that when we got to the hill today there was a lot of areas where we had untracked wind sift to play with.

On the way to the hill it was -4 and things cooled a bit during the day so that at the White Pass load in the afternoon it was around -10 and driving back from the hill we had -6. We started with a sun cloud mix which soon clouded over and by the end of the day we were back in another full on snow cycle which is continuing as I type. Viz was surprising ok except up Polar Peak which looked very socked in and was not open at all today.

 As I expected the crowds seemed way less than yesterday despite this being a Saturday and as Lynda decided to take a break she dropped me off so parking wasn't an issue. During the day I never waited more than half a dozen chairs at a line and from midday on wards I was skiing straight on to the chairs with no line ups. The day lodge and the base areas seemed pretty busy but on the hill I would say it was no busier than an average Saturday.

I went to the Old Side which in the event seems to have been a good idea given the reports of cold strong winds on the New Side. There was no chance for me to get cold as I skated out along the Cedar High Traverse and hit Snake Ridge which was soft untracked windsift most of the way down with really nice bump skiing on the right shoulder exit and then really deep sift in the left gully. The return was via Kangaroo which was soft and mellow as long as you remembered to drop on to the cat track on the left hand side and Boomerang which was flat soft wind grooming that you could just rip with long GS turns.

That was my morning, six loops out along the traverse - three Snake Ridges which were as above and hardly skied. There were two Steep and Deeps where I avoided the newly cleared area on the grounds that there would be more untracked lines away from this, and I  was right. One exit through the cleared right chute was very mellow and one through the left chute which was a bit bushy but very untracked although I was ambushed rather by a fallen tree across the chute. I dipped into the Fish Bowl once but only as far as the Red Tree cut out and got some deep totally untracked lines as a reward.

After a late lunch there was time to visit the New Side where things were a bit colder and windier and the light was not quite so good. Decline and Siberia Ridge were both full of soft wind sift and could best be described as soft tracked powder. The final rip was of course Skydive that was full of blown in snow and after a few bumps at the top you could really pull the trigger in the lower sections. A great way to finish the year.

It was snowing by the end of the day and still is. Patrol were calling for 10-18 cms over night but as every cycle so far this season has produced more than forecast I am pretty optimistic. Fingers crossed for yet another dump over night and we should be in for a very happy new year.

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