Saturday, January 16, 2016

Day 37 yet another really good day

Overnight there was no new snow and of course we were expecting the weekend crowds so I had half resigned myself to the fact that the skiing would not be great. In fact I had decided that if nothing new looked like it was going to open I would spend a day billygoating - that is poking around all over the hill looking for new lines and areas to explore. When I arrived at the hill I got word that Polar Peak and the Saddles were all on standby and as these had been closed for 7 days during which we had over 40 cms of new snow the temptation was so great that I just had to hang about in the hope of getting some awesome openings. Sorry Old Side fans.

It was about -6 on the way to the hill and overcast with a forecast of flurries during the day. For a change the viz up top whilst never what you would describe as being good was at least acceptable and giving skiable conditions all the way to the top of Polar Peak. More importantly there was sufficient viz for patrol to see the results of their avi control efforts so there was every prospect that we would get all the openings that we were hoping for.

In the event contrary to the forecast there were no flurries in the morning but about midday it started snowing and was still snowing when we left the hill. I don't think there was much more than a few cms of accumulation but the temp in the valley is -5 and it is still snowing so maybe we may get another powder day tomorrow - who knows. During the day the temps all over the hill were about -7 up the mountain so what snow fell came down as good light powder.

I went to the New Side and getting up White Pass noted that Polar was not open so I had a nice drop down the Tight Knot Chute and then cut into Surprise Trees which had plenty of untracked lines and good skiing. I then thought that maybe the Saddles would be open but went out along the Reverse Traverse and found they weren't - I don't get it right every time. Second prize was a rip through Cougar Glades which had untracked chutes through the trees and the cut out into Stag Leap was lightly tracked and even the lower section was getting filled in with the twigs much less in evidence.

After another Tight Knot Chute in deep snow and another Surprise Trees I took a Reef Knot chute drop and then headed out to Triple Trees. The lines through the trees were almost untracked snow and super deep snow between the trees all the way down to Trespass Trail and then the hard push back to White Pass load.

At this point one of those wonderful things that that only happen very rarely happened to me. I tracked out along the Reverse Traverse with some Patrollers I know and when we arrived at Corner Pocket they lifted the fence and I dropped in. After 7 days of new snow I ripped the chute in two powder turns and then had the most fantastic deep powder skiing all the way down to Dancer and then skied out through soft bumps in the bottom of Easter and Freeway.

When I got back up White Pass, Polar Peak was open and I had just missed it but then you can't be everywhere. The winds had clearly blown from lookers left to right so the snow on Polar had been swept from the Coaster side towards the Polar Chutes with the cusp somewhere around Grand Papa Bear. I had numerous loops of Papa and Barely Legal which were super deep untracked snow and Grand Papa which was soft but with a slightly scratchy base.

For a late lunch I took Mama Bear via my near untracked steep chute then I dropped Low Saddle which was just as icy at the top as ever but after a cut off to the right the chutes were untracked and there was super deep snow all the way down. I traversed Easter to get to Spinal Tap and it was full of soft snow and great skiing. After a late short lunch it was a very short afternoon.

I went back up Polar and had several loops round Papa, Grand Papa and Barely Legal before taking the Mama Bear drop and then heading out to Lone Fir. Just like Yesterday the Lone Fir Chute and the pillow underneath was awesome deep skiing. So back up Polar for a few more laps before last lift (only 3:30 on Polar) which finished with a rip down Mama and then all the way to the base in order to get back up Timber in time for last run.

We actually had enough time to hike to Mitchy Chutes which were deep, lightly tracked and great skiing. Last run was Skydive which we took in one and was very mellow soft snow with even the lower pitch getting acceptable in terms of twigginess.

Beers, great company in the Griz, a great finish and snow still falling and -5 on the deck, I am so pumped.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Day 36 way better than I expected

Overnight the hill were only calling for about 5 cms in the last 12 hours which didn't feel right to me and when I got to the hill conditions were consistent with having way more snow than that. Perhaps it was just wind sift as there was evidence of considerable wind activity during the night but as we skied around the hill today we found some very deep powder although to be fair there were also some wind packed surfaces.

On the way to the hill temps were -5 and they were -2 on the way back. During the day temps at the base stayed just below zero and up the hill we had -4/-6 temps all day in the places  I skied which meant that the snow stayed in great shape all over the hill. It was overcast and very socked in above half way up White Pass and we had some light flurries that didn't amount to anything during the morning. During the afternoon things got a bit lighter and the socked in line moved to about White Pass top but but late afternoon we were back to flurries with promises of more to come. The wind came and went and the combination of wind and poor viz meant that Polar Peak remained closed for the fourth day in a row as was the case for the Saddles.

Once again I went to the New Side (sorry Old Side fans, I really will try and get over there tomorrow) mainly in the hope that we might be getting Polar Peak. As it was Currie bowl was closed until about half way through the morning for avi control and we could hear the blasting as we skied White Pass.

We had several gropes down Lift Line, Gun Bowl, Quite Right etc in very poor viz but as we could feel, very deep soft snow. The only really good viz was in the trees of Surprise which we hit a couple of times and found them lightly tracked and great soft skiing.

The Currie fence dropped and because there was no general feeling that today would be a big powder day and therefore there we no crowds it went off without a hitch and hardly anyone there, unlike yesterday's carnage at the Currie Chinese Downhill. We hit out to the Big 3 and even though we were a few minutes late at the drop we arrived at the top of the Big 3 untracked. We took Decline which was deep and soft but a little wind affected and good skiing and then cut left into the Window chutes which were very nicely filled in, even in the chokes.

Next loop we dropped Barracuda off the Skydive traverse and had good deep untracked skiing all the way down. Even the gully to the left of Gilmar Trail was quite deep. In need of exercise we decided to hike up to the top of Lone Fir and found it skiing just as mellow as yesterday. With Lizard remaining closed the drop under Lone Fir was virtually untouched and filling in with wind sift - spectacular deep powder right up to the sign line on the left. The exit trough Freeway was pretty mellow and soft.

We figured that with the low traffic out on the Reverse Traverse that Cougar Glades would be pretty untouched and we were right. There were about 5 tracks in front of us but when we got in the trees the lines were totally untracked. We took a few turns below the cat track in super deep snow before we lost our nerve and cut out into Stag Leap, we need just a bit more cover before we try those lines all the way down. Lower Stag Leap only had a couple of tracks and is now skiing very well as long as you ignore the twigs.

Last run before lunch so we took Lynda all the way out to Easter Bowl as that would be her biggest adventure on her new hip so far. Things worked out well and Easter skied as soft bumps in the middle but as soft deep snow if you were prepared to hit the steeper lines on the sides. Freeway continued to ski well.

After lunch we hit out across the Knot Chutes to Gotta Go. There were not many tracks but being greedy we worked a bit to get across to the Google Earth chute and were rewarded with the deepest and steepest skiing so far this season - awesome. Bootleg Glades had plenty of soft in the trees and the exit on the left is very clear, please note, the exit on the right has not been cleared of alders and should be avoided by anyone not in possession of a chain saw.

We figured we were owed and easy run and hit Touque chutes which seemed to have more than it's fair share of deep snow and Spinal Tap which was well filled in and great deep skiing. Once again the call of Lone Fir was heard and as Oscar Wilde said - The only way to rid oneself of temptation is to yield to it. We had another sensational deep run through the chute and the cushion below still protected by the sign line to the left.

We just had time for a rip down Siberia Ridge which as always was lightly tracked before it was time for last run of the day. It is worth mentioning here that we varied our drop from Timber Top to White Pass load during the day a few times by hiking up to Mitchy Chutes. They really are some of the best deep untracked skiing on the hill but with the proviso that you must pay attention in the chokes which do get a bit technical.

A last rip down Skydive top to bottom in one with some equally hard skiing buddies was a perfect end to the day. Well actually beers in the Griz and a hot tub back home with friends and more beers was the really perfect end. More snow forecast for tomorrow.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Day 35 a pretty awesome day

Not a totally awesome day but a pretty awesome day and by Fernie standards that is way better than the best days skiing you will ever get in most places. Given the beers we had in a totally pumped up state after a major powder day it is very hard to remember exactly how things played out but I will give it my best shot.

Overnight there was a freezing rain warning for the valley and a travel advisory on highways. It was -1 on the way to the hill and all day it was around zero at the base and maybe -4 or so up the hill. Conditions were socked in from about Timber top and although the light came and went it was never good. The hill were reporting another 12 cms overnight on top of the 10 cms we had yesterday. It snowed in various forms pretty well all of the day and I would imagine we must have had another 10 cms during the day giving us some great fresh snow and filled in skiing during the day.

Everyone seemed to have woken up to the fact that this was a powder cycle and there were a few more people around today but not anything that could be called crowded - for example I didn't have to stand in line at any time. I went to the New Side again which appears to have been a good decision as when I met a buddy later in the day who is a real Old Side fan he said the Old Side sucked - his words not mine. On the New Side there was load of new deep untracked snow which varied in quality from super soft to chunky depending on the aspect of the slope and the overall effect of the wind. There was crunch line where the snow had been affected by rain, or at least very wet snow but this was so low down that it only affected the last few turns in the Big 3 and for the most part had no impact on the upper hill runs.

Here goes with the memory test - we started looping White Pass as this was all that was open and had a number of spectacular runs down Surprise Trees which were mostly untracked and great deep powder tree skiing. The next part was that they opened Knot Chutes and Anaconda and we did several loops to base through the various Knot Chutes (super deep snow but poor viz) Anaconda Glades (all chutes skiing awesome) and Bootleg Glades ( mostly through the trees on skiers left which were untouched) which took up most of the morning.

Late morning we all gathered at the top of Currie Bowl which had been closed for a typical Currie fence drop. I got away in first half dozen of over 100 racers which was good as there was a certain amount of carnage just behind me, or so I understand. I got to Cougar Glades and found them untracked and had a spectacular deep powder rip down to the cat track. Even after cutting out into Stag Leap there was only two tracks and the skiing was good.

Next loop we hiked Lone Fir and found great easy skiing in the chute (for a double black diamond) and then had a fantastic rip down by the sign line into Lizard which was closed and as a result no tracks were coming in from there - great untracked powder. We went to Gotta Go expecting to find it open but it wasn't. We looped back to speak to patrol at White Pass and they confirmed that it should be open. We took another loop out and this time hit the Brain all the way through which had a few tracks in the top but none below the cat track, great tight tree skiing in very deep powder,

Next time up White Pass patrol opened Gotta Go for us and we had first tracks in the chute. It's hard to find words to describe the super deep untracked powder that we found which was far and away the best on the hill. The run to base was through Bootleg Glades which still had lots of untracked lines. We decided we needed a rest so we just skied out the the Touque Chutes which had really deep soft snow and then cut across to Spinal Tap which predictably was lightly tracked and and very deep snow where the biggest danger was being taken out by your own slough.

Once again we hiked up to Lone Fir but this time took the Easter Meadow Chute one step beyond. There was great skiing in the chute and as before the skiing below was hardly tracked very deep snow due to the inability of traffic to come in from the Lizard side. As a final gesture we took a quick loop down Siberia Ridge which appeared to have been ignored for most of the day and we were able to find some great lines in there.

Last run of course was Skydive with 5 of us in the club tonight. As you would expect the skiing was spectacular with only a few crunchy turns right at the very bottom. I skied today from 9 to 4 with no break of any kind and hit some of the toughest skiing on the hill. I figured I needed a beer and in the event had more than one with buddies. Home now for a quiet night in with Jameson's Irish Whiskey and Gone with the Wind on TV - the end of a perfect Day.

Some more snow in the forecast and the base is now pushing 2 metres again but this time with some good heavy snow which should sort out some of the deadfall/brush problems. Temps are forecast to cool which means that we have come through the first warm precip cycle of the year pretty well unscathed which has to be a good omen.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Day 34 awesome heavy powder all day.

An awesome day's skiing in great powder all over the hill with fill in snow and more untracked lines than anyone could handle.

With the new snow coming and more on the way it seems appropriate to tell about a group of friends of mine who for reasons that will become apparent will remain anonymous. A few days ago they went out of the controlled ski area and into the Fish bowl. Subsequent conversations with them reveal that none of them had transceivers, no one in the group made any enquiry as to whether or not the others had transceivers,no one check the board at the top of Bear giving a report on snow stability out of bounds and no one had a cell phone with the ski patrol number on speed dial.

Just because ski patrol do a fantastic job keep us safe in bounds it is very easy to forget that every year a significant number of people die in the mountains due to avalanches in uncontrolled areas. We have a deadly playground and a lack of respect for the mountains eventually always ends in tears. The most dangerous aspect of the actions of these friends is that they got away with it - avi conditions that day below the tree line were low, note they are never zero. As I say so often, you can load a bullet into a revolver, spin the chamber, point the gun at your head and pull trigger and the odds are very much in favour of the fact that you won't blow your brains out - that however does not make it a good idea. I doubt the individuals involved will change but if just few people take a bit more care this year as a result of this story then I will count today's blog as time well spent.

We had 10 cms of fresh snow overnight and the temp on the way to the hill was -2. It was super socked in all day particularly on the New Side where temps at the base got up to about +1 which was way better than the +3 we were threatened with in the forecast. We had precip all day which slackened a bit around the middle of the day but came back with a vengeance in the afternoon and I would imaging we got at least another 10 cms during the day and quite probably much more. It just about stayed snowing all over the hill even if it got very wet snow low down in the afternoon. Up the hill in temps of -4 there was no problem and the snow just puked down an filled in all day. On the way home tonight and in the hot tub it was zero and the precip was very wet but with more in the forecast and temps due to drop a degree or two I am felling reasonably optimistic.

I went straight to the New Side as I always do on a powder day. It's not that I think the snow there will be any better it's just that if I get on one of the first chairs up there I will get untracked snow. On the Old Side you will find that various pay for powder groups such a First Tracks will have been there before you. As I have stated so often I firmly believe that selling any kind of first track packages is totally immoral as it is selling the very tracks that everyone else has already paid for, Getting first tracks should be down to skill, strength and just dumb luck (see later) and not the preserve of those who are prepared to pay for it. I have likened this to paying for sex - if that's the only way you can get it then fair enough but don't expect anything but contempt from those of us who can get it without paying.

Currie Bowl was closed so we looped White Pass in very poor light but great deep snow. Second loop I headed out to Surprise Trees and found the last track in front of me dropped off just before I got there so I had spectacular first tracks in Surprise. Next time up White Pass one of those things happened that only occur very rarely. As I stood at the top with about 4 other guys a patroller appeared and we asked when Currie was opening, she said now and we ducked the fence. Various tracks cut off the Reverse Traverse with the final one going at the hike up to Easter so I cut first tracks to the top of the big 3. I could have had any one I wanted with first tracks and chose Skydive which was awsome all the way down.

After that with the snow puking down and everything filling up and getting deeper the day played out as follows -

Cougar Glades/Stag Leap - about third track in but loads of awesome untracked lines through the trees. Stag had one track in but was deep easy bump skiing.
The Brain/Window Chutes - The upper Brain was totally untracked and very deep. Window Chutes had filled in pretty well with a couple of tracks in ahead and the conditions much improved in the chokes with the new snow.
Touque Chutes/Spinal Tap - powder was starting to build up so it was getting hard to see if there were tracks if any in ahead of you. The lower snow was just starting to get chunky.
Lone Fir - only few tracks and great skiing through the chute. The best part was that the sign line to the left was down as Lizard was closed on that side. This meant that there were no tracks cutting in from skiers left as usual and it was fantastic deep untracked skiing almost all the way down to Freeway.
Lone Fir/Spinal Tap - after lunch given the most awesome conditions of the previous run I went back up and it was if anything even better, This time I did cut out into Spinal Tap which was just getting deep but a little chunky low down.
Cougar Glades/Stag Leap - more snow had poured in and to be fair most of it skied better than the morning with most of it feeling untracked even if it wasn't.
Easter Meadow/One Step Beyond - On my previous trips up to Lone Fir I had noticed that the chute beyond it (Easter Meadows in the official jargon and One Step Beyond in ours) had been closed which made no sense as the chutes either side were open. I queried this with some buddies from ski patrol on the lift and they admitted that someone had just forgotten to flip the signs but it was now open. I hit it untracked for the most spectacular deep powder chute run of the day. Exit via Spinal Tap was just as good as before.
Siberia Ridge - with some time to kill and freezing precip causing some problems on the goggles we hit Sib Ridge which was great powder with many untracked lines. Lower sib ridge was getting very chunky in the rising temps.

So Skydive as the last run and a pretty reasonable crowd turned up for the fun. Great skiing in tracked powder all the way down to the middle section of the lower part where it all got a bit heavy. Great beers with lots of buddies and continuing wet precip in the valley which has to be coming down as something really good on top. More snow forecast in falling temps, life is good.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Day 33 wind sift for better or worse

Last night the wind that had been blowing around the hill all day clearly got up and we had a major wind event on the hill. The wind continued today and with no new snow the result was that the old snow got moved around as some nice fresh untracked sift. The problem was that in some places the sift had resulted from the wind dying and the snow settling nice and soft and in other places it was blown in and packed by the wind. In the former case it was soft snow and in the latter hard slabby wind pack which was hard to ski. The real problem was that it was not obvious from visual observation which was which.

It was overcast to start and temps had warmed up so that it was only -2 at the base at the start. During the day temps on the hill got up to about zero at the base and maybe -5 up in White Pass. The main feature of the weather was totally socked in conditions on White Pass and pretty poor light all over. We had a little light flurry activity but not enough to give a measurable accumulation although we are promised much more in the next few days. It remains that the temps are much warmer than forecast (it's -3 on my deck at the moment) and we have precip on the way. Last year similar conditions led to our first (of many)  rain days and I am so hoping we are not in for more of the same this year.

I went to the Old Side having observed that the wind was blowing snow out of Fish and Redtree and looked like it was depositing it in Steep and Deep. There was great sifted deep snow in Steep and Deep and by taking the left exit and then cutting right I missed the worst of the alders and actually had a half way decent exit from the bowl.

I had a good morning playing in Cedar Ridge, Lone Fir and Linda's all of which had plenty of soft sifted snow and even went out to Steep and Deep for another deep snow run which should convince everyone how good it was. Returns as always were through Kangaroo  (ok soft bumps but a bit technical dropping on to the Cat track) and Boom Bowl - ok soft bumps skiing with some sift.

After lunch I linked up with my buddy Brad and we hit the New Side, The light was very poor up top and the wind was still moving snow, We hit Cougar Glades which has nice sift and went some way below the cat track in super soft deep snow before cutting out to Stag Leap. Lower Stag was twiggy but ok.

The Brain/Window chutes was a nice line with the snow soft under the trees and things icy in the chokes. Lone Fir skied very mellow with the new snow having been deposited in the chute. The pillow below was much tougher with hard wind packed snow giving a smooth but challenging surface. Spinal Tap had benefited from a load of new snow being blown in through the trees and settling down in the creek bed.

We just had time for quick loops of Siberia Ridge off Timber and Surprise Trees off White Pass which were both very similar with soft tracked wind sift, the only difference being that the access to Surprise via the Gun Bowl was about the most socked in skiing I had ever seen.

It was time for a final Traverse out to Skydive which remained challenging in the light which only gave about 10 ft of viz in any direction. Skydive was ok soft sift but still not enough in the lower section to make any real difference - it was twiggy. Five of us made it to Skydive and as has now become the norm we dropped it in a single rather high speed rip.

We had good beers in the Griz and all got a bit pumped up about the snow promised for this week. For my part I am very nervous of the rise in temps and I think if we get away with no rain in the cycle we will be lucky. Perhaps I am just being too pessimistic but I will feel much better if we get into the cooling trend at the end of the week with none of the R word.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Day 32 an ok day but more snow needed

A usual apology because of the late report today due entirely to going to the Rusty Edge for their 10 bucks for a burger and a beer offer every Monday, as always excellent food and good value.

Today was ok but although the general coverage is good things are getting hard and bumpy and in places decidedly scratchy and icy. We need more snow to capitalise on the base which at 172 cms is not over generous but would be a great starting point if we could just get more snow. The forecast is for some precip this week with a warm up to about -2 which would be good but how much snow is the question.

On the way to the hill today it was -11 which was typical of this cold air mass that has been bottled up in the valley for over a week. It was overcast and there was modest flurries off and and on which were more a case of the air mass giving up a bit of moisture in the face of the cold conditions rather than any serious accumulation - overnight they were not even claiming 1 cm. During the day it was about -8/-10 all over the hill and by this evening things has warmed to -5 in the valley which may well mean that the air mass is starting to move and the new weather system is moving in.

The main feature today was the wind sift which had built up over night and which continued to move the snow around all day. As always it was mixed story with some places scoured by the wind and other benefiting from the snow being deposited to give some good skiing.

As Lynda was skiing we went to the Old Side for a warm up and found sifted snow all over Bear. We then tried the Sunny Side shoulder and China Wall which were firm bumps. For a change we hit out across Lizard Bowl to Dancer and cut into lower Easter Bowl and found nice regular bumps with some sift. We exited through Freeway which had obviously been groomed a few days ago and was a hard base with very few bumps.

New Lift line was ok bumps with a little sift and Kangaroo was also twiggy bumps with a rather technical drop onto the cat track. Lynda took North Ridge which was a smooth mellow groomer while I hit Boom Ridge which was quite soft on skiers right but hard twiggy bumps low down. Just time to drop Boomerang which was still fairly soft bumps before heading over to the New Side.

Lift Line was hard icy bumps with some icy patches and was as hard as it has been so far this season. We did a White Pass loops through the Gun bowl and Quite Right which was all firm bumps taking an edge. Our run to base was through Currie Glades which skied very easily indeed with lots of sift blown in among the tress.

In the afternoon I was on my own and just went for a load of New Side loops as Polar Peak had been closed due to a combination of cold, wind, poor viz and lack of public support. To be fair I doubt that I could have raised much enthusiasm for going up there myself even if it had been open -

Cougar Glades/ Stag Leap - Some sift in the trees in the glades made for a pleasant run. I took about 6 turns below the cat track before cutting into Stag which was good deep snow but I have a feeling that if it had been 8 turns it might have been a different story. Lower Stag is twiggy but easily skiable of maybe we are just getting better at ignoring the twigs.
The Brain/Lower Decline - some sift in the trees in the Brain and a nice drop off above the cat track. Lower Decline is still skiing as nice soft bumps with hardly any twigs.
Lone Fir/Spinal Tap - success at last in that I finally worked out the best line in Lone Fir Chute so I didn't find myself too high or too low at any point and was able to ski a pretty well put together line all the way down, best of all significant new sift had been deposited in the chute. The cushion under the chute was super soft and Spinal Tap seemed to have much more snow in the creek bed if that is possible but was a bit more technical on the ski out to the right of the creek bed.
Decline/Window Chutes - top of Decline was skiing as nice soft bumps and for most of the Window chutes there was soft snow but in both chokes there was ice and some exposed wood which needed a bit of attention.

Finally of course it was Skydive and 4 of us made it. We hit the run in a single shot and even in the twiggy sections lower down it skied very well if a little icy in the top. Beers with buddies in the Griz before heading to the Rusty Edge. The forecast suggests precip and the Griz knows we need it. Almost no one on the hill at the moment and I doubt even a big dump of snow would change that much , lets hope we find out.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Day 31 less than 30 bucks a day but not much else to say

Yes, today the cost of my skiing dropped below 30 bucks a day with hopefully a lot more in the way of reduced average costs to come. The next land mark is 20 bucks a day which occurs at around day 46 and also is the cross over point where my average daily cost of skiing reduces below my average daily cost of beer. By the end of the season I hope to get things down to around 7 bucks a day. Of course next year when I get the seniors pass I see no reason why the average daily cost shouldn't be around 5 bucks meaning that my beer will cost me about 4 times the amount of my skiing which should come as a surprise to no one. What's the betting the age limit for senior passes goes up next year ?

When I say not much happened I mean just that - conditions are pretty unchanging at the moment and as a result I find myself skiing much the same places as I have been in much the same conditions. Once again it was cold today with a temp on the truck on the way to the hill of -15. During the day all over the hill temps were around -10 and as we pulled into the drive tonight it was -11. So overall a fairly cold day with no significant changes with altitude on the hill.

Conditions were overcast all day and off and on we had some very light flurries which never gave us any accumulation. Overnight we were supposed to have had 1 cm and that felt about right but with some wind activity higher up there was some good windsift of which more later. Away from the windsift we had the same conditions as have existed for the past several days which was packed firm bumps with a bit of soft snow all over the hill.

I started with a warm up on the Old Side down Sunny Side shoulder and China Wall both of which were firm bumps taking an edge. I then hit out to Snake Ridge which was soft lightly tracked snow in the top becoming quite interesting steep bumps lower down. Next loop was Steep and Deep where there were actually quite a lot of untracked lines and for the first time this season I actually found an exit chute which did not require a chain saw to deal with the alders, and was some ok deep powder skiing.

I had several more Old Side loops through Cedar Ridge, King Fir, Boom Ridge (twice) and Linda's. Returns were always through Kangaroo which was bit scratchy and with a rather nice bump pattern developing and a tricky drop on to the cat track half way down. Boom guts skied pretty well as soft bumps every time I had to return to the Bear Chair and before I knew it I found it was lunch time. As I said the whole morning had been firm but ok bump skiing of packed snow - nothing to get excited about but then again nothing not to like.

In the afternoon I headed over to the New Side and did my usual Lift Line thing under Timber Chair each time I made a loop, it was hard bumpy skiing. Polar Peak was open but with very socked in conditions on top so up I went. It was apparent to me that the wind was blowing in the usual lookers left to right so the snow was being scoured off Shale Slope and Grand Papa Bear but with the hope that it was being deposited in the Polar chutes. I dropped Papa Bear and found some blow in but not as much as I had hoped for and the viz not too bad.

I ran to base through Cougar Glades (nice soft snow) and Stag Leap (soft bumps and the twigs getting filled in below). Next loop I hit Mama Bear off the top of Polar and found that the wind blown snow had ended up there. Although the first couple of turns were a bit blind the rest of the chute was sensational windsift. This time I ran to base by hiking up to Lone Fir (really mellow deep snow in the chute and below) and then cutting across to Spinal Tap which was a little more chunky than before but still good skiing.

Last time up Polar I took Mama Bear again which was just as good as before. This time I ran to base through Decline (nice soft bumps if a bit icy in the top) and Window Chutes which still have great deep snow but are now getting very scratchy in the chokes.

I then linked up with my buddy Kevin who was having his first day on the hill after a mountain biking accident this summer and we had a few runs through White Pass to celebrate his return to skiing. End of the day and of course it was Skydive time which skied just as it had for the past few days (see earlier reports) although we are starting to get a bit more to the right than we have been able to in the final pitch.

Far too much to drink to celebrate Annie's 50th birthday in the Griz Bar and then home for a relatively quiet night. Precip in the forecast this week - with the base still below 180 cms we have to hope.