Saturday, January 23, 2016

Day 44 good skiing in limited areas = ugly line ups

Before I start I have to make a point which I have made before and that is that my blog is not a ski report. It is an account of what I have found on the hill and how I skied it. When I look into the future I am thinking about how skiing will be for me and not for anyone else. Put another way, when I say skiing was ugly and looks like it's getting worse I am talking about the free riding terrain all over the hill that I enjoy. A groomer skier may find conditions exactly to their liking and the hard groomed ice an ideal surface from their point of view. In a nutshell I can never tell anyone what it will be like for them, only what I think it will be like for me.

My comments at the end of the blog yesterday that things would get a lot worse when temps dropped and the surfaces firmed up proved to be dead right, more of which later. The heading relates to the fact that we had weekend crowds and the only terrain worth skiing (in my view) was the top of White Pass so the line ups at the White Pass load were just about as big as I have ever seen them. To put that in perspective they would bee seen as light weekend traffic in places such as Whistler, Lake Louis and most of Europe.

On the way to the hill it was -2 with a sun/cloud mix. The result was that everything that had been deep elephant snot yesterday (basically everything below White Pass load and even some stuff just above it) was boot deep breakable rain crust and very ugly skiing away from the groomers. During the day temps rose slightly and it clouded over so that by about 2 o'clock it started to snow and is still snowing heavily even down here in the valley as I am writing this. As the ridge lines had been in the clouds for the last 7 days and if the forecasts are to be believed may be socked in for another 7 days the hill took the opportunity to heli bomb the ridge lines this morning. I am not sure if I have ever heard so many explosions or seen so much debris come down off the head walls but it was pretty spectacular sight. Temps in the valley tonight are supposed to stay below zero and we may be getting 15 cms of fresh snow on the hill out of this cycle.

I went up to White Pass and stayed there partly because I thought it would be the only good skiing on the hill (I was right) and partly because I thought they might open Polar Peak (I was wrong) - unfortunately pretty well everyone else on the hill came to the same conclusion.

Lift line was soft snow on top and a bit crusty lower down. I then skied the Tight Knot from the traverse which was slightly slabby but untracked. Surprise Trees was ok in the top but getting crusty on the exits. I then had a couple of loops through the Gun Bowl and Quite Right which all skied as nice soft snow. On my next loop Anaconda Glades opened and I put first track into Anaconda 2 which was soft and deep but got crunchy on the last few turns. The good news about today's conditions was that as Trespass Trail was an icy track you could push and skate back to White Pass just about as easily as I can remember so that is what we did.

The crowds at White Pass were huge and even though I was riding single I had a long delay at the load each time - credit to the lift team who made sure that every chair went up fully loaded and so did the best they could with the hand they had been dealt. For the first time this year year I decided to hike the boot pack up to the the top of Knot Chutes just to avoid the crowds and spent the rest of the morning dropping various Knot Chutes from the very top and then doing all the lower chutes from Tight to Jim. My loops were completed by doing variations on Anaconda Glades in some of the tight lines between 2 and 5 which all skied well in the top and with a couple of crunchy turns in the bottom. Trespass trail held up as an quick icy track and a relatively easy return the White Pass.

Last run before lunch I hit the Reverse Traverse out to the general area of Tom's Run which skied soft and mellow in the top with a little rain crust at the very end.

In the afternoon I went back to White Pass and continued much as the morning hiking Knot Chutes and skiing Anaconda variations. About 2 o'clock it started to snow and by 2:30 it was puking down. We stopped hiking Knot Chutes due to the poor viz but kept on traversing in and running Anaconda. Mid afternoon we decided to try the Big 3 and I chose Decline on the grounds that if it went wrong we could always bail on the Megasauraus Trail. Just as we got to the trail things were starting to get crunchy but with the new snow accumulating fast I thought it might be ok to ski the lower section. I have never been more wrong in my life. The lower section was boot deep rain crust with the new snow not giving any kind of support and it was real survival skiing all the way down. Great just to get out of it with no injuries and what ever doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

For the rest of the afternoon we just went back to Knot Chutes ( very nice skiing if you don't try and take maximum air at high speed on the way in and stack it) Anaconda (really starting to get into some very tight and steep lines) and Trespass Trail (getting slower in the new snow but then that has to be a good sign) until it was time to leave. In a departure from usual we decided that as the Big 3 were all going to be crap we just did another another Anaconda drop to finish - by this time the new snow accumulation had removed all crunch from the lower turns in Anaconda.

I skipped the bar tonight as it was the Snow Dreams party which means it would be packed with people I don't know and the music would be too loud to talk about skiing - I'll be back tomorrow. Snow is still puking down on the deck and if we get the promised 15 cms then even the lower sections of the Big 3 will be skiable tomorrow.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Day 43 my worst fears, but not quite

Apologies for the late post cause by a large number of beers with my good friends Rob, Katie and young Joey. The reason I qualify today's offering by saying that not quite my worst fears were realised is because it's true. I had feared that rain on the warm weather system would cover the hill all the way to the top. In the event it only reached up the hill most of the way to the White Pass load on the New Side and the Snow Plot on the Old Side so it wasn't quite the disaster it could have been but still pretty bad.

Overnight it rained in the valley and temps on the way to the hill were zero but with rain falling out of a warm air mass the temps were not going to give us snow. During the day the temps at the base got up to +3 and I noticed at the White Pass load it was +1 and probably only about zero at the very top - needless to say Polar Peak was not open.

We went to the New Side as only an idiot would want to ski the lower elevations of the Old Side in rain. We were getting very wet heavy snow from the White Pass load up with poor viz on top and the skiing surface very heavy Jersey Cream at best and getting towards elephant snot lower down. Our intention was to do loops of White Pass to avoid dropping into the on/off rain showers below which were just about falling as wet flurries on top and for the whole morning that is what we did..

I looped Knot Chutes from the traverse in and everything from Tight Knot out to the Jim Chute was skiing ok in soft deep wet snow. Returns to White Pass were mostly through Surprise Trees in many variations which were ok in the top but getting very heavy and wet low down.

We went out in to Currie Bowl to ski down for lunch and found the high Reverse Traverse closed but the Polar Sink traverse open so we were able to get out to the Big 3. We chose Cougar Glades which were ok in the top but got very heavy down just above the cat track. The ski out in Stag Leap degenerated into pure elephant snot and was very hard work.

In the afternoon it was back up White Pass where if anything the viz was worse and the rain line was even higher up than the morning with the ran/flurries intensifying. Just like the morning all drops were all through various Knot Chutes which were just about ok but heavy, returns to White Pass were through the general Surprise Trees area which by now had become very wet and heavy in the rising rain line. We ran to base twice during the afternoon and got soaked in the pouring rain down below both times. The runs were -

Anaconda/Bootleg - Good skiing in Anaconda 2 which I just beat a ski group in to and which only got really heavy about 2 thirds of the way down. Bootleg was very heavy but just about skiable.
Gotta Go/ Bootleg - Gotta Go actually skied pretty easily in the top and the choke but lots of avi control debris was around lower down. Bootleg was as before but with a hard clear base in the middle that suggested to me that it had slid out some time during the day.

The top section of Triple Trees deserves a special mention as it was fantastic soft skiing for the first half and almost uncontrollable elephant snot down to Trespass Trail, which incidentally was a hard push back to the lift.

Last run came 10 minutes early but as no one else seemed to be around me and Dan headed out to Skydive. The snow at the top of the run looked ok heavy powder, and indeed was. I did say that somewhere down the run it would turn to rat shit and that point was high up by the Decline Skydive split. By the final section we were dreaming of rat shit as being a wonderful skiing surface as we struggled in some of the steepest elephant snot I have ever encountered. Only by using all of our crappy skiing experience did we get down in half way decent style in a series of big GS turns.

The beers in the Griz  were very well deserved tonight. I did have to smile as everyone talked about how bad the conditions had been. Tonight it is forecast to freeze and when you get what we skied on today as refrozen crud then you will really have something to complain about. Whatever it is I will be there enjoying the challenge.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Day 42 Awesome, awesome, awes......

Yes, today didn't quite make the three awesomes of yesterday but as you can see from the heading it came pretty close and in some respects was even better.

Overnight they only reported about 5 cms of fresh and most of that came out of the back of yesterday's storm cycle which fell after we left the hill yesterday. We had worried about temps today but it was -1 on the way to the hill and zero on the drive back, During the day it seemed to get up to maybe +1 at the base but remained a few degrees below up the mountain and most importantly it remained overcast and snowing all day so we never had to deal with the damage that sun effect can have at this time of year. Also, it snowed all day with a kind of light icy fill in snow which probably didn't rate too much on the snow plot accumulation but had a pretty good effect on the skiing surface.

We actually had a fantastic day's skiing because of a number of complimentary factors ie. new snow all day, wind which sifted snow to give great wind grooming all day and new openings. I went to the Old Side and found it was socked in at about Bear top and stayed that way all morning. This translated to being socked in from about half way up White Pass on the New Side and similarly this was the case all the time I was there.

I had word that Cedar High Traverse was opening having been closed all yesterday. This proved to be inaccurate in that whilst the sign lines across Cedar bowl had been opened the Snake Ridge area was only accessible with a very full on side step traverse which took 20 minutes (at least to an old guy like me) to complete. The effort was worth it and I went out three times -
Snake Ridge - only two tracks in front of me so the powder was super deep and just as awesome as anything yesterday. The exit through Gorby Gap was a little tracked up but the biggest problem was the deep snow slabbing out in places.
Curve Ball - I took the Curve Ball shoulder with the intention of dropping into Steep and Deep but it was so good, steep and untracked that I was way down in the trees on the left of Gorby Bowl before I woke up to the fact that I was well below any ski out and had to do some work in the trees to get into Steep and Deep. Best super deep skiing on the hill all day.
Steep and Deep - loads of untracked lines all the way down to the left gully which was a very mellow exit with lots of choices of untracked lines.

All returns were through Kangaroo which was soft and deep with some bumps and very easy skiing. Boom Guts could be taken as series of fast and easy GS turns as a fast way to complete the loops so that's what I did. I couldn't face a fourth trip out on the side step traverse particularly as the boards were starting to walk out there punching fence post holes into what had previously been and very nice traverse. I dropped Boom Ridge a couple of times as this seemed to be untouched deep snow and I was not disappointed. Time for lunch,

After lunch I headed out to the New Side and found the conditions to be excellent. The new snow was accumulating, wind was sifting runs flat on many aspects (particularly Currie Chutes) and there was no one skiing the good stuff, With viz a bit of an issue the afternoon panned out -
Cougar Glades - great soft skiing with lines untracked from today. Below the cat track I hit the trees which were totally untacked and with some rather technical skiing got into the disused trail right below the run which had three trees down in it which had to be ducked but no tracks in there so far this year and great very deep powder.
Namless Trees - I call them these because I am told the trees to the right of Skydive have no name - well they do now, Untracked deep snow and tight lines down to the cat track. This time I decided to drop further into the open section below which after a few alders was actually very open not to mention untracked so far this year and very deep. I normally cut right or left after the opening but alders prevented this so I ripped the stream bed which would have been impossible except for the deep untracked snow which held me up - over the head face shots with zero viz and an inability to breath were the main problems here.
Knot Chutes/Triple Trees - a patroller buddy had told me how good the Knot Chutes were and he didn't lie, they were untracked in sifted snow blowing back over your head in the Tight Knot. For some time I have said that one day after a bit more snow Triple Trees would be the best run on the hill after the summer glading, well, today was that day. I had far and away the best run of the day through all 4 sections of the trees where the deadfall of a few days ago was now just rolling log drops. Amazing deep and untracked snow in the trees.
Touque Chutes,?, Spinal Tap - The reason for the question mark is that after starting the chutes I cut right into areas I had discovered yesterday and found some fantastic deep untracked lines that eventually spat me out just above Spinal Tap which was super deep and lightly tracked.

I just had time for a final loops of Knot Chutes which were still totally filled in and awesome before going to the far side of Surprise Trees which didn't look like anyone had skied them today, needless to say more deep powder.

Final run was Skydive with just three of us but good GS turns top to bottom in smooth deep snow with just a few bumps in the lower pitch. Beers in the bar with good buddies. The worry is still tomorrow which is calling a warming trend with precip. My view is that we may get some rain at the base but it won't be much and we should get it as snow from about Deer Top upwards. From then on it'a a cooling cooling trend so fingers crossed we may have dodged the bullet again.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Day 41 awesome, awesome, awesome"

Oh yes, it's not very often that a day gets 3 awesomes on the Bill Handley/Fernie scale but today was certainly one of them. In fact today could be one of the top 10 days of all time but I may need to think a bit before admitting it to that particular hall of fame.

On the way back from the hill last night the local radio station was giving a snow fall warning for the Elk Valley of up to 15 cms. As the temps were a modest -1 and none of the main weather channels were calling for snow this was a bit of a surprise we treated this with some skepticism but by morning the forecast was shown to be right. The final figures were 25 cms in the previous 24 hours and another 7 cms that fell during the day today the snow was piled up in the drive down here in the valley and when we got to the hill it was even more evident.

Temps on the way to the hill were -1 and it hovered around zero at the base all day. Up the mountain temps were a few degrees cooler but never what you would call cold, It snowed to a greater or lesser extent all day and even at the warmest time of the day even if the moisture content of the snow was high it was coming down white with no suggestion of the R word. Further up the hill it was good fill in snow which enabled us to get fresh tracks everywhere right up to the end of the day. As we drove away it was -4 in he valley.

This report could get a bit random as a day like today demands lots of beer to celebrate it and we certainly did the honours. The result is that everything has rather merged into one and that one is a memory of great untracked powder between trees all day. The thing to remember is that with this much snow coming down and temps only just below zero meant that we had hero snow with a high moisture content in every run and even where there were tracks it was great to ski and where there were no tracks (the norm as this was a January mid week with hardly anyone on the hill) it was just awesome skiing.

We went to the New Side and found everything open except Anaconda and Currie Bowl which we thought was pretty good effort considering how much snow had fallen. We did numerous loops of Knot Chutes from Tight to Jim and all chutes in between which was mellow deep skiing with poorish viz that persisted at the White Pass top all day. We completed loops through Surprise Trees from the near chutes to Triple Trees which all were lightly tracked and untracked in many places and of course very deep.

We were lining up for the Currie Bowl fence drop when we got the word that Anaconda Glades were open and we raced out there just in time for me to get first tracks in Anaconda 2 and then again in the trees to the skiers left of Bootleg Glades below. Over the head face shots all the way down. When we got back the fence had dropped on Currie bowl but this didn't matter as the high Reverse Traverse was open and we went out to Cougar Glades which only had a couple of tracks and as result when we got in there the tree chutes we chose were untracked deep powder. We cut into Stag leap which was only tracked in the middle so that the far skiers left was great untracked deep skiing with lots of face shots.

The rest of the day is a blur of deep chute and tree skiing with over the head face shots. The runs (many of which were done twice) were Cougar Glades, Window Chutes, Lone Fir, The Brain, Touque Chutes,Spinal Tap, Decline etc. Points of special interest worth mentioning were -

In the Brain the snow was super deep and untracked and we actually managed to ski it almost all the way down to the bottom of Skydive with only a bit of deadfall to avoid in the lower section.
After we crossed the Megasaurus Trail in Cougar we hit the left hand exit chute which was hardly skied all season and amazing deep snow with the alders starting to become ok.
To the right of Touque chutes I experimented with some tree lines in areas I don't usually ski and found an unlimited supply of deep untracked tree skiing.
The sign line to the skiers left of Lone Fir was closed so the skiing on the cushion was very deep and untracked.

That's about all the special stuff I can remember but everywhere was good deep powder face shots.

I had time for a final couple of loops in White Pass so I hit Knot Chutes and Surprise Trees. It seemed to me that these had remained more or less untouched since Currie had opened so right at the end of the day I was getting "first" tracks in the tight Knot and all across Surprise in a mixture of the new snow and some wind sift. The light even improved to the point that viz wasn't a problem.

Final run was Skydive and I found myself alone at the top. I later discovered that my buddies arrived about a minute after I left but they must have got very late chairs as I held on until 16:11 before starting down, It was deep filled in snow and an easy call to ski it in one even after 7 hours of non stop skiing.

Beers slipped down well in the Griz and now it's time for dinner and an early night. Lynda had her biggest day yet hitting Lift Line, Anaconda Glades and Diamond Back as runs she hadn't yet done with her new hip - 4 months to the day since her op. Looking out we have some worrying forecasts. It is forecast to warm up to +2 tomorrow and +4 Friday with some precip. Whilst we have to hope everything will be ok I would put it at around an even money chance that we may have rain and a bloody mess by the weekend - fingers crossed.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Day 40 copy and paste

Well, I nearly could have copied and pasted any of my last few days reports telling of temps near zero, new snow and some great powder skiing. As it is things are just sufficiently different to make a report worth while but don't expect anything too dramatically different.

Overnight they were not calling for any new snow and whilst it started snowing on the way to the hill and kept it up all day I doubt that we got much more than 5 cms out of the current cycle and the base will still be hovering around 210 cms. Temps on the way to the hill were -1 and the same as we drove away tonight and perhaps at the base they got up to +1 during the day. Up the hill it stayed at about -2 at Timber top, -4 at Polar Load and way colder than that up Polar Peak all day. The snow continued all day and only petered out at around mid afternoon. Predictably viz was poor at the top of White Pass and very poor up Polar Peak all day.

I went to the New Side and maybe this was a mistake. Buddies who went to the Old Side reported that the Cedar High Traverse was open from the off and that the skiing out in Snake and Steep and Deep was just awesome. I placed my bets elsewhere and was not disappointed and in the final analysis you can't be everywhere. I really will give the Old Side a go tomorrow.

On the New Side the fresh snow was doing a great job at refreshing yesterday's deep powder and Lift Line just skied like a dream all day. Currie bowl was closed for avi control due to the rather unexpected levels of new snow that were starting to fall. I had some great White Pass loops in poor viz at the top but good soft snow in Surprise Trees (several times) Quite Right and under the lift line. It was late morning before we got Currie Bowl.

First loop of Currie I had hoped for the high traverse to be open but I was disappointed. I had to cut the low side step traverse out to the top of the Big 3 but the upside was that I had Skydive untracked on top of the lightly tracked powder of yesterday and it was spectacular. Next time round the high traverse was not open but I noticed that the side step up to Lone Fir was open. I side stepped this all the way from the low traverse which is a real piece of work and all the time hoping that the signs in the chutes themselves would not be closed. I was rewarded - Lone Fir was open for the first time in several days and I had the steepest deepest run of the season so far. To be fair I did chicken out half way down and held up left to let my slough run past me which was going like an express train at the time. Fantastic skiing on the untracked cushion below and a cut across to Spinal Tap which was super deep with only two tracks in front of me.

Next time up White Pass I noticed Polar Peak was open which was quite surprising due to the poor viz. The Coaster was closed so it was only the double black diamond chutes that were available and they were as mellow as you could wish for in deep untracked snow. Of course you couldn't see anything but my view is that on a big powder run with face shots you can't see anything anyway so why would poor viz bother you. I looped all the Polar Chutes until lunch time then ran down a very deep Mama Bear and hiked up to Lone Fir but took the Easter Meadow/One Step Beyond chute. Very deep and untracked in there with the snow starting to form soft pillows that you could just ride all the way down. This was followed by another Spinal Tap just like before.

In the afternoon I did a series of loops where I did a run off Polar through Papa Bear back to the load and then a run out to either Mama or Baby Bear for a New Side loop - the chutes were always deep untracked powder even if the viz did remain poor. My New Side loops were -
Cougar Glades - loads of untracked lines in the trees particularly in the tight lines on skiers left. I skied across the cat track and exited on the left chute which is just about getting acceptable with the twigs in super deep snow.
The Brain - no more tracks since I put first tracks in there yesterday although I suspect the creek bed might have been skied. Deep tree skiing an for the first time this season I exited left in the tight trees towards Decline. Ok skiing but just one place where I had to reverse out of some complicated deadfall.
Lone Fir - another hike up on what were getting to be very tired legs. Despite a little traffic the chute and the cushion underneath skied a beautiful deep powder. Exit this time was all the way down to Freeway.

Last run of course was Skydive which had filled in during the day and was soft and mellow. For the first time this year I hit it with GS turns all the way down ignoring the terrain which was now filled in. On the way back from the hill there was a snowfall warning for the Elk Valley for 15 cms which has to be good news. All day with the temps hovering around zero we were very nervous but even at the base precip came down white, if wet and we have to hope for more of the same.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Day 39 totally awesome heavy powder day

Now understand that when I use the term "heavy powder" I mean just that. We all know that when the official site use such terms they mean unskiable elephant snot, but with me you get the truth and today we had powder which was fairly heavy with a high moisture content but actually translated as real hero hold up snow in all the important places that you wanted to ski.

Overnight we had 19 cms of fresh and the ski base getting up to 209 cms. The worrying aspect was the temp which was only -1 on the way to the hill. During the day things warmed and it was +1 on the drive back tonight. During the day temps hung around at zero round the base and up the hill we had temps of a degree or two lower. Let there be no misunderstanding we are teetering on the brink at the moment and the difference between an awesome snow cycle and a bloody disaster, it's 2 degrees either way and we are living on the edge - just on the right side for the moment.

As you would expect at these temps the snow was pretty heavy which actually gave easy hero skiing as long as you made the snow work for you rather than try and fight it. It was overcast in the morning with the odd skiff of precip in the form of snow but nothing to get excited about. By the afternoon it was getting a sun/cloud mix in the valley but on top it remained socked in as it had been all day. As a result of this and the new snow Polar Peak remained closed all day. On a personal not I hit an early chair up in the morning and skied all day with no breaks of any kind and hit Skydive just after 4 for a great drop - hard to imagine a longer or better day.

We lined up at the New Side for reasons well explored in earlier blogs and got an early chair up. Lift line was great lightly tracked skiing as was Big Bang, Puff Trees, Mitchy Chutes etc, in fact all the different ways we dropped from Timber to White Pass today.  I was actually pleasantly surprised with how much of the New Side was open straight off the bat (a cricketing expression for all my North American friends) as we had everything except Currie Bowl and Anaconda.

The viz on top was pretty bad and we looped Knot chutes (Tight Knot was really deep) Slim, Thin and Jim which skied very mellow and way better than the blue ice last lime I was in there. Surprise Trees was the favoured route back to White Pass with us taking a slightly further out line each time which of course took a little longer but gave fresh deep untracked snow all morning.

Having been told that Currie was not going to open for a while we took one for the team and dropped Triple Trees through the newly gladed lines which were deep and very good tight tree skiing. There was still a bit of deadfall to contend with in the final pitch above Summer Road but this was way better than the last time I skied it and in my view another half a metre will make this one of the best runs on the hill.

Our plan worked and by the time we got back up Currie had opened but with the Reverse Traverse closed so the only way out to the fun stuff was the low traverse with a bit of a side step which was ok as it kept the lazy and the uncommitted out of the best skiing on the hill. I fell in with two bad ass local skiers (there's your  name check Black Jack and K-Dog) and we went out to Cougar Glades and grabbed awesome deep first tracks through the trees. Stag Leap only had one track in before we got to it on the ski out and it was deep snow.

Looking for somewhere else that would have first tracks I hit the Brain which was totally untracked deep powder top to bottom and so deep that even the log drops could be landed in almost ok style. Side stepping out on the traverse was getting hard so I took the Knot Chute traverse out to Gotta Go and had some great steep lightly tracked skiing. The exit through Bootleg Glades Trees was also very deep and mellow.

After that the day played out -
Touque Chutes/Spinal Tap - super deep lightly tracked snow and only about three in front of me in Spinal Tap.
Decline/Window Chutes - nice soft deep bumps in the top of Decline and very deep in the drop in to Window chute but a number of tracks in soft snow in there.
???- I call the run this because no one seems to think it has a name. I hit the trees from the top of Skydive as if to drop into Stag Leap but cut left into the trees there. After a couple of tight turns it was great tree skiing in the trees between Skydive and Stag which unsurprisingly was deep as no one had skied it yet this season. I cut out to Stag before the "open" section in the trees which appeared to be alder heaven and well worth avoiding for a few weeks yet.
Knot Chutes/Anaconda 2/Bootleg Glades - what would there be not to like in this deep lightly tracked route to base.

Final run of Course was Skydive with only three of us there. It was amazing how lightly Skydive was tracked all things considered and even though I had been skiing 7 hours with no break my legs had enough to throw big GS turns all the way down at maximum speed.

A great day with maybe further openings to come but with things still hanging on by their finger nails as far as the temps go.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Day 38 Old Side slabby, New Side good

Over night the hill reported 1 cm of new snow on the web site and 4 cms on the boards at the base of the lifts. Overall 4 cms seemed more accurate but clearly a major wind event had had affected the hill during the night and the amount of new snow was difficult to estimate among all the wind sift.

It was -4 on the way to the hill and -2 as we drove away tonight. During the day temps at the base got up to about zero and up the mountain the temps varied but probably averaged -4 all day. At the outset conditions were overcast but just after lunch it started to snow and snowed all afternoon and in to the evening. It seems to have stopped snowing now but we have been promised 4-10 cms out of the current cycle so there may be a bit more to come before morning.

As promised I went to the Old Side and to be quite honest it was rather disappointing. There was some very firm wind slab so that on the less steep slopes it was very grabby and on the steeper slopes the slab was breaking away under the skis making for some very unstable skiing conditions as you slid out on the breaking slab. To be fair I didn't hit out across the Cedar Bowl on the far side as Lynda was skiing and I didn't want to put too much strain on the new hip. Reports in the bar suggested that skiing out beyond Snake Ridge today was actually pretty good.

We did a few loops through Bear, Sunny Side shoulder, New Lift Line, Cedar Ridge, Boomerang and King Fir. The conditions were exactly as described above with new snow packed in between the old bumps very firmly but the wind pack and the underlying conditions (particularly between the bumps) was slabby and grabby. Of particular note was Kangaroo where there were about 20 tracks going in the top down to the cat track but only a couple starting the second section as I dropped in - it would appear that most people, having experienced the top section, decided to give the second section a miss. We decided to give the New Side a try.

Perhaps the snow was better on the New Side or perhaps as there had been a bit more traffic there the slab had been broken up but the skiing was way better than the Old Side. The top was socked in from about half way up White Pass and stayed that way all day with the viz getting a little better or worse from time to time but basically staying very white on top all day - Polar Peak remained closed all day.

We did a few White Pass loops in tracked deep snow through Gun Bowl, Surprise Trees, Quite Right, all of which was great skiing before we decided to drop into Currie Bowl. Lynda wanted to ski her favorite run (Concussion) and it was excellent deep snow even in the far side chutes with soft mellow conditions, in fact the best I can remember them. We did 4 New Side loops through Concussion which just got better as the day wore on. Every chute both near and far side is skiing as soft deep powder taking an edge. Exits were through Gilmar Gully which was very mellow soft skiing. Considering this was supposed to be a gentle morning's skiing we stopped for a very late lunch and for Lynda to finish for the day.

In the short afternoon session I went exploring -
Cougar Glades - skiing was a bit quicker than it had been on the slick new snow but once you got in it was still lots of untracked lines through the trees. At the cat track I skied straight across and took the left hand steep exit chute which was rather twiggy but with enough space for me to find an ok line in some very deep untracked snow. Still a challenge but great skiing.
The Brain - the upper section was deep soft snow with some tracks. The lower sections were soft deep snow with no tracks. Enough snow low down to allow you to avoid the deadfall as long as you payed attention and I even managed to land the log drop with some semblance of style . Got down almost to the bottom before cutting out into Skydive.
Lone Fir - a day wouldn't be complete without a side step up to Lone Fire and a very mellow rip through the chutes. After the super soft and deep pillow I cut across Easter to Spinal Tap and had good soft deep skiing in the creek bed.

I just had time for a run down Siberia Ridge which as always was rather neglected and so deep lightly tracked snow. The choke was just as sketchy as usual but easily navigated. I even had time for a hike up to Mitchy Chutes which were nice and deep soft snow before catching the last chair up White Pass,

Skydive was just getting softer and deeper in the falling snow and made a great finish to the day. I even hit the skiers right of the last pitch to try a beat the snow in a bit and take out some of the alders that are still coming through there. A very relaxed evening in the Griz with no crowds despite a holiday weekend south of the border. It's -2 on the deck and has started snowing again so I am reasonably optimistic for tomorrow. Several of my buddies from the mine are on their split shift tomorrow and I would anticipate that they will be taking advantage of the conditions.