Saturday, March 5, 2016

Day 86 a pretty crappy day

Actually with the usual positive spin that I put on things I think I am being rather kind to the hill today as the consensus opinion of those I talked to in the bar tonight was that it had, in fact, been a very crappy day.

Overnight there was no new snow that we could detect and temps had dropped to below freezing promising some very hard conditions off the groomers. On the way to the hill it was actually zero at the base but temps were rising fast and by the time we got to the top of Timber it was +1 and warming fast. Conditions were overcast so sun didn't play any part in today's conditions other than the severe damage that it had done to the south facing slopes yesterday which had set up over night.

We were very unsure as to what the conditions would be but an initial drop down Lift Line confirmed that it was ok and taking an edge on a firm base. The forecast was for rapidly warming conditions during the day and for some precip which if we could believe the forecast would drop as rain pretty well all the way to the top of the hill. Unfortunately this was one of those rare occasions when the forecasters got it dead right.

We looped White Pass several times trying various lines and finding that where they had been exposed to the sun yesterday (such as Gun Bowl) they were ugly, icy and hard work. Where that had been sheltered such as under the lift line it skied as soft snow. We were also aware of a warming trend creeping up the hill which meant that the icy stuff low down was softening fast.

We decided to try 1-2-3s which actually skied very well in soft snow which had a few chunky bits - probably the best skiing that we found today. We ran to base through Diamond Back which had been groomed a few days before but was bumpy but soft and became very soft as we got lower down. Next time up we tried to drop the Crutch (the chute at the foot of the hike up into Knot Chutes that drops into the top of 2s) which skied very nicely but was a bit scratchy and icy in the mid section - above and below it was great and I am always surprised by just how tight and steep that chute is. The run to base was through Bootleg Glades which was very mellow but got quite soggy in the last few turns.

When we got up White Pass next we noticed that Polar Peak had opened. On the way up it was clear that everything had refrozen hard and very wisely the Polar Chutes and Shale Slope were closed. We dropped into Crusty Clown Chute which was ok but very chunky and as we went in it coincided with the light going as flat as a pancake on the front of the precip system which then produced a rain snow mix for the rest of the day. We ran down in some rather marginal conditions and a very steep transition on to the cat track followed by some pretty average conditions in the lower Coaster.

The run to base was through Cougar Glades/Stag Leap which just got very heavy and mushy in the rain as we descended. On the way up next time we noticed that the rain line was now well above the White Pass load and getting higher all the time. We did a few more loops in White Pass during which the rain line continued to rise until it got to the foot of the Gun Bowl and then ran to base for a very late lunch through Easter Bowl which was mushy and got more so low down.

After lunch the rain increased and I put on full rain gear to ski White Pass. Polar Peak had closed, the viz had deteriorated so that it was only just possible to start seeing anything half way down White Pass and the rain line was pretty much at the top of White Pass. In other words it was totally crappy skiing in soft mushy elephant snot where ever you went.

Things were so bad that I decided to come off the hill an hour early at 3 due to conditions and me being wet. The last run down Skydive was some of the hardest work I have every done in very heavy mush which started badly at the top and just got worse the further you went down. Beers were well earned tonight.

Not sure what tomorrow will hold but it will be hard pressed to be as bad as today. There was very good article in this weeks Fernie Free Press talking about the El Nino (the strongest on record) and the effect it has on our weather. In summary don't expect things to get any better and we may have had a good season but it looks like it is going to be a very short one.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Day 85 Summer skiing

Yes, this wasn't spring skiing today like you might expect late in March (you certainly wouldn't expect it this early in the month) this was full on summer skiing of the type we might expect up on the Hintertux Glacier in August. We all knew this was going to be an El Nino year but nothing could have prepared us for the continuing warm temps and particularly the nights when it never gets below zero which is something we have never really experienced before. Unsurprisingly the effect on the hill is not good but all things considered there are areas which are hanging on way better than you might have expected.

On the way to the hill this morning it was +3 and they were calling 6 cms of fresh snow. That 6 cms was the grauppel storms that hit us just as we finished skiing yesterday and they gave a fresh covering but not awesome deep snow or anything like. During the day the sun came out and we had temps of +10 at the base and even +4 at the Polar Peak load. These measurements were taken well in the shade so in the direct sunlight (which affected much of the hill and our skiing) the temps had to be a good 5 degrees or more above those in the shade.

The effect on the hill was swift and predictable. Low down everything started to soften very quickly and everywhere in the direct sunlight it turned to thick elephant snot. Away from the direct sunlight things just got soft but north facing slopes held together ok and we good soft skiing on a previously firm base.

First off we went to the Old Side and poked around looking for some good untracked skiing which had not got too soft. Cedar Ridge, New Lift Line, Boomerang and similar places were just about ok but softening fast. Kangaroo was good soft surfaces on a hard ice base although lower down it became very mushy and slow motion skiing. After a while of poking around looking for good stuff we realised that things were just turning to mushy rubbish and we would be best served by hitting the New Side.

On the New Side Lift line was soft and fairly smooth and skiing about as well as I can remember. The Saddles were open so we hit them. Corner Pocket was easy skiing after the tires with only a few edge to edge jumps to get out of the chute. High Saddle had a really icy section in the middle but was soft skiing and good jump turns above and below that section. Low Saddle has softened so even though the final turn before cutting right was little icy it was way better than it has been all year as you could actually get an edge to hold in the chute.

All our runs under the Saddles were in untracked deep snow which was just awesome. We then cut right into the lower parts of Easter which skied very nicely in the top but was starting to get mushy lower down. By our final loop it was getting very sticky indeed. We intended to go to lunch but it looked like Polar Peak was going to open as the viz had improved, After lining up for a while we were told that there was a technical problem so we dropped Currie Glades which were easy mellow soft snow skiing in order to have a rather late lunch.

After lunch we went back up the New Side and spent all afternoon looping Polar Peak which had by then opened. Everything skied very easily in soft chunky snow and we not only looped (on a number of occasions) Papa Bear but also Grand Papa Bear and Shale Slope which we have avoided for a few weeks because they were so icy but in the melting conditions even they were taking an ok edge. Just before the close on Polar we ran to base through Concussion which was a bit soft but nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be.

After a very mellow hike up to Mitchy Chutes last run was Skydive and special mention has to go to the group of snow boarders who thought it was good idea to sit around on the traverse just round a blind corner just hanging out - I would have said something but who was it said, you can't fix stupid. Lots of beers to celebrate a day when despite the conditions we managed to ski the Saddles and Polar Chutes most of the time which are great places to ski.

I am seriously worried about the forecast which calls for continuing warm temps (the freeze line above Polar Peak) and significant precip - this could get messy.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Day 84 way better that I thought it would be

Before looking at why things were better today it is worth exploring why I thought they might not be quite so good. Overnight we had been promised 4-8 cms of new snow but in the event we got nothing. Forecasts called for temps of +7 in the valley with any precip coming down as showers. I think it is fair to say the even a pretty positive guy like myself might be forgiven for thinking that we were in for a rather crap days skiing. As it was we had a rather good one.

On the way to the hill it started to snow with some very wet snow/rain mix in the valley and temps of +1. The precip continued all morning falling as rain/snow at the base and full on winter conditions in -2 temps up top in White Pass. It didn't take a genius to work out that White Pass was going to be the place to ski. A few die hard Old Side fans tried to tell me it was ok over there, but I spoke to several trusted buddies who bailed on the Old Side to come over to the New Side who confirmed my guess that it was ok for the first few turns on top but it quickly became a wet heavy horrible mess lower down.

Only a few days ago I complained that we didn't seem to get traditional wet White Pass days any more. These are days when it rains at the base stopping people coming up the hill but with full on winter conditions in great powder snow up in White Pass. Well, as if to prove me a liar that is exactly what we had today, at least for the morning. Below it was +5 and raining but up in White Pass it never got warmer than -1 and as result we had great soft powder snow accumulating pretty quickly all morning. Of course the downside was some rather poor viz which came and went on top but over all I felt this was an acceptable trade off.

So we went up White Pass and immediately found that Lift Line was soft and untracked which was a good indicator for the rest of the morning. It was snowing really hard up in White Pass and I would speculate that what we got was the 4-8 cms called for during the night coming in a bit late. Unfortunately this meant that it came down at daytime temps but the rain line was well below the White Pass load. There was no chance that I was going to run to base in the low mountain rain so it was a White Pass morning.

There was excellent deep untracked snow in Gun Bowl. Knot Chutes, Surprise Trees (many different lines) Pillow Talk, Quite Right, Highline under the lift and in fact everywhere we could ski. To mix things up a bit I did a few laps out into Anaconda (always trying the steeper far chutes to put a bit of pressure on myself which all skied very nicely and deep) and pushed back round Trespass Trail to avoid the run to base and the push back sucked far less than I thought it would, being not too slow. It was an excellent mornings skiing in soft accumulating snow with yesterday's tracks filled in.

Around lunch time the snow stopped on top and therefore the rain stopped in the base. I took a run to lunch through Cougar Glades which were very lightly tracked and had filled in so well that for the first time this year I rolled through the Megasaurus cat track without realising it. I tracked left just in time to get into Stag Leap for the final pitch which was a a little soft but skied ok.

After lunch I figured that the best lines would be going high and running to base now that the rain had stopped. Polar Peak and the Saddles were closed so it was always going to be loops down the Reverse Traverse. I hiked Lone Fir and had third tracks in (thanks Brad and Paul) which were excellent as was the fan underneath and the skiing all the way down which was untracked and soft and deep as the Lizard sign line was still down.

For a change I took the high IT across the top of the Knot Chutes which skied about as mellow as I can remember. I dropped Gotta Go which was soft in the top, very scratchy in the choke and then soft deep snow below. I ran to base through Bootleg Glades in my usual near chutes which were deep and soft.

I had decided to hike up to Easter Meadow but on the Reverse Traverse I noticed that High Saddle had just opened and a Non Stop Group were looking in. They dropped and made a pretty good job of it so there was still plenty of fresh snow for me to make some nice jump turns in. Below the chute it was spectacular untracked deep powder all the way down. I hit out on a hard traverse to Spinal Tap which was a bit of a mistake as the skiing was heavy and soft but more importantly it put me up against the clock for getting another loop. I went for it and dropped Corner Pocket ignoring tires and ropes so I had another awesome run underneath the chutes in the deep untracked powder and still got to Timber just in time for one last lap.

Skydive was of course the final run of choice but there were only 3 of us there as everyone else had been drawn into trying one more saddle loop. Skydive actually skied quite well but as you would have expected it got softer as you went down and may prove to be a piece of work if it sets up tomorrow. Beers of course to celebrate a day that was so much better than it promised as we drove to the hill this morning. As we sat in the bar the precip was coming down in quite hard grauppel storms and the hill was shrouded in what looked like winter conditions. In town it's + 3 so what we get up there is anyone's guess.

Footnote - tonight's footnote is a thanks to a follower I met on the lift today who said some really nice things about the blog. Thanks Curtis it does help to know my efforts are appreciated in some circles.

Day 83 a good day but a bit warm

First of all an apology for the late publication of this report which is due to the fact that we had some good buddies over for pizzas and beers. I have to be the only guy who has to apologise for having had a great days skiing followed by a few too many beers but I guess that's how it goes.

Last night the storm we were promised grew in the telling depending on which bar you were in until I think the final forecast was for 70 cms which was always about as likely as me becoming the next pope. In the event we got just over 20 cms in 24 hours which was just about as much as any of the official forecasts had been calling for.

The snow came down at about -3 on the hill so it was heavy but ok skiing. On the way to the hill it was around zero and during the day it rose to around + 5 at the base but stayed around zero in the White Pass as long as you stayed away from the direct sunlight. The sunlight was a feature as for most of the morning we had sun which had a very detrimental effect on the snow so that by our second run through White Pass we were getting sun balling in the fresh snow - as usual we had a collection of idiots saying haw nice it was to be skiing in the sun completely ignoring the effect it had on the snow. Luckily it clouded over late morning and we even had some very light flurries during the afternoon which no doubt disappointed the sun worshipers but proved to be a huge blessing to any real skiers/riders on the hill who were interested in getting good snow.

We lined up at 8:40 for an early start and if nothing else we wanted to be on the Timber Chair before it broke down. To be fair we got up into White Pass for some great skiing and the Timber chair never broke down. White Pass was open but Currie bowl wasn't so we cut the traverse out to Surprise Trees and had an awesome run through the trees in totally untracked snow.

For the rest of the morning we looped White Pass finding ok skiing in the Knot Chutes (particularly Jim) and all over Surprise. About 11 we dropped Triple Trees on to Trespass Trail which were rather disappointing partly because they were tracked, partly because they were very sun affected but mainly because we missed the Currie Fence Drop as a result of skiing them.

We ripped across the Reverse Traverse as soon as we got to the the top of White Pass but for the most part we had missed the bus - makes up for all the awesome first tracks we have had so far his year, some you win some you lose. That having been said when we got to Cougar Glades there were tracks in there in front of us but there were still untracked lines to be had tight in the trees and we had them - lower Stag leap was soft and fine with not too many tracks in there.

Next loop we hit Touque Chutes and Spinal Tap as our options were restricted by the Saddles, Lone Fir and Polar Peak being closed. These skied really well with untracked lines and the creek bed being filled with soft snow. For the final run before lunch we traversed in Gotta Go which had already been trashed (thanks Brad) so we hopped the ridge into Google Earth chute which was super deep and untracked. The trees along side Bootleg were also very deep and untracked and made a perfect finish to the morning.

In the afternoon we hit -
Nameless Trees - the trees to the right of Skydive which everyone tells me have no name. To my my mind these were perfect tight untracked trees but others held different opinions. In my view the run of the day. Of course we had to bail on the Megasaurus trail into Skydive but this skied ok.
Easter Bowl - a straight forward Easter drop which skied really well.
Window Chutes - well, this was an interesting line was hit Touque Chutes which were still soft and deep before hitting Decline which was still skiing ok and finally Window Chutes which were tracked soft snow and not too scratchy in the chokes.
Siberia Ridge -mostly untouched and some great soft deep powder skiing.

Last run of course was Skydive which everyone took easily as we had all had pretty big days. It actually skied ok and unsurprisingly we all got down pretty quick as even on a gentle drop no one wants to be last. Beers in the Griz and more beers at home made for a great day, they are calling 4-8 cms tonight and that would be good although valley temps remain at +3.

Footnote - thanks to my many friends and followers who have made contact to say they are prepared to confirm that I ski everything I say I do as they ski the stuff with me off and on. I am still waiting to hear from the "gentleman" who was sounding off about this to see if he wants to put his money where his mouth is regarding what I ski - I will keep everyone informed.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Day 82 on the eve of the storm

Now I don't want to appear too dramatic but that's how it feels at the moment. It started snowing about mid day on the hill and has just got heavier as the day went on. We have a heavy snow warning out in the West Kootnays and with the weather moving in from that direction so there is every possibility that by morning we will have a deep covering of fresh snow. The best news is that on the hill today the precip was white down to the base all afternoon and it is falling as heavy, if slightly wet. snow in the valley even as I type this.

Over night there was no new snow so we had to make do with yesterday's left overs. On the way to the hill temps were -3 and bit lower up the hill so where there had been some softening yesterday which was not in all that many places,it was forming up a little firm this morning. During the day temps warmed slightly then cooled in the new snowfall so that it was zero at the base as we left the hill. The snow that started falling in the middle of the day was good high moisture fill in snow and as a result surface conditions improved all day with some almost untracked lines available by the end of the day.

I went to the Old Side to see what conditions would be like. My first test was to drop Boomerang and it was very variable with some soft snow on top but hard icy stuff underneath. I didn't make a particularly good job of skiing it (to be fair it was a little challenging in places) so I gave it another go when things went much better. Both times I exited via the Goat Trail and got back up to the top on the Bear Chair. I decided to give Boomerang one more go which went very well and then got side tracked into Buck Shot which was some soft snow on a very hard and icy base.

I then bumped into a buddy and we decided to try Steep and Deep which skied very easily with not much scrape and a nice exit through the trees. Next loop was Gorby Bowl which seemed to hardly have any tracks in it and gave soft deep untracked skiing rather like yesterday although the left, right shift through the waterfall was a little tricky. Final loop before lunch we hit the Gorby, Steep and Deep, Curved Ball shoulder which was very deep and untracked and maybe the best skiing to be had.

All returns had been through Kangaroo which was hard icy bumps and as such skied exactly the way we would have expected. returns were also through Boomerang which remained soft snow on a scratchy base. Last return before lunch was through the Bear Chutes which rather like Boomerang were soft snow on a scratchy base but with perhaps rather more areas of soft snow to be had.

After lunch at Rusty Edge where I had the awesome chilli we went to the New Side. By this time the new snow was starting to build and the afternoon was an example of where things just got better and deeper as time went on so that by the end of the day we were almost dealing with fresh powder. Everywhere was very good and we hit -
Cougar Glades/Stag Leap - great soft fresh snow on a soft base. I skied well below the cat track in un tracked snow which was also pretty good before cutting out into lower Stag Leap which was ok.
Touque Chutes/Spinal Tap - very soft snow in the chutes but a bit chunky in the creek bed lower down. The exit of the creek was bit technical but ok.
Decline/Window Chutes - very mellow and getting deep in Decline and the chutes were ok but very scratchy in the final choke.
Siberia Ridge - I had been tipped that this was good yesterday and so I tried it today. It was still pretty good with soft snow getting deeper in the new stuff.

So it was time for Skydive which skied very easily in the top and mid sections and even the lower party was getting ok in the new snow. we had beers and discussed the prospects which are just looking better and better as looking out the window I see it is still puking snow at sub zero temps.

Footnote - as usually happens at this time of year a few weak minded individuals start to suggest that this blog is a fiction and that I either don't or can't ski all the runs I report. The truth is that what you read here is the truth. My usual offer remains open that if anyone wants to join me for a day (assuming they have 7 hour legs) then they are welcome to meet me in the locker room for a days skiing. Furthermore my bet stands that if they want to nominate any run that I claim to ski and I am unable to ski it then I will buy the beer that evening. If on the other hand I ski everything nominated then they buy me beer. I do hope I have some takers here as I could do with an evenings free drinking. Put another way, it's time to put up or shut up

Tomorrow could be a really good day.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Day 81 a great day with maybe better to come

After a week with no snow we were due some fresh powder plus as the last two dumps have been at the weekend for the benefit of the weekend warriors we were due one on a Monday for the benefit of the locals and that is exactly what happened.

Overnight it started to rain in the valley early evening and continued to well past midnight. When I got up for a pee about 3 in the morning it had turned to snow (the rain, not my pee) and we got a modest accumulation in the valley. The question we all asked ourselves was what had happened up the hill ? The official site claimed 19 cms (the magic number as it is the maximum you can have without triggering the 20 cm rule in town and having a load of ski bums ditching work and turning up to ski) although I was pushed to see much more than 10 cms anywhere even allowing for some wind sift. That having been said we did have fresh snow all the way down to base which skied very nicely indeed.

Temps at the base were +3 when we arrived and may have risen a degree or two during the day. Up top we had -1 or below all the time in overcast conditions which produced some flurry activity all day with no really significant accumulations resulting. The snow stayed in very good shape all over the hill all day and the relatively high moisture content meant that it was near enough hero snow that allowed you to float but in some places you could get through to the base which was a bit scratchy. The wind was a factor most of the day and had a significant effect on the Reverse Traverse which seemed to have fresh wind sifted tracks each time we went out.

We went to the New Side and just as we have seen before on a new snow big crowd day the Timber Chair broke down at 9:10. The last time this happened we were turned away from the chair but this time we had just got on the last chair before the break down. The result was that we were all transported to the top and the lift went down for over an hour while it was repaired. From our point of view this meant we had White Pass to trash with the few people who had made it up which was great skiing. Last time this happened I made some rather vitriolic comments regarding the lift system and while this time it worked for me I do think that serious questions have to be asked about a lift which fails so frequently in exactly the conditions when it is most needed.

We looped White Pass through the Gun Bowl, High Line Lift. Knot Chutes, Surprise Trees all of which were hardly tracked and with many fresh lines as you would expect with so few people actually having made it up there. The only disappointment was Knot Chutes which were scratchy and had obviously been blasted to clear some of the snow. Mid morning we faced a dilemma as they opened Currie Bowl and we were torn between getting first tracks and staying up in White Pass. Luckily a patroller buddy confirmed that Timber had just started to load so we could run to base with no downside.

We hit out along the Reverse Traverse and as always found the number of tracks in front of us reducing the further we went. As we got to Easter the tracks all went up to the top of Easter (I think old Fernie think that they will be cursed if they ski anything other than Easter out there) so we had to cut the trail towards the Big 3. I never made it as Cougar Glades and the Stag leap in about 15 cms of fresh was too much to pass up on and it was awesome. I cut tight lines to leave plenty for the next guy as only an asshole trashes more of the slope than is necessary. Lynda did get out there and said that Decline untracked was just spectacular.

Next time up we decide to try Skydive which we figured would only be lightly tracked. We were wrong, Skydive was totally untracked all the way down and for the first time I can remember I got first tracks in 2 of the Big 3 on the same day, I have no idea where the people had gone but it was also awesome. We then hike Lone Fir only to find that the lower part of the chute was still icy as were the first two turns in Bill's Fan. After that it was soft and untracked all the way down the sign line to Freeway which was some really nice skiing.

We then tried Decline which still had many untracked lines followed by Window Chutes which was very mellow and untracking in the drop in through the trees and only lightly tracked in the chute itself with the chokes holding up well. Last run before a late lunch was Stag Leap which was very deep and lightly tracked through the trees at the top. The rest of the run was soft and lightly tracked but there was evidence of the surface getting crisper in the bottom section as temps started to drop.

In the afternoon we made our only real mistake of the day by dropping High Saddle which was very icy and scratchy and when we got through the light went so that the skiing (which was probably very good) could not be enjoyed in the very flat light. The final exit into lower Easter was actually much better. Next we hit the Brain which most certainly was not a mistake. By taking very tight lines in all sections we were able to very deep untracked snow which only became thinner and firmer in in final few turns before we cut out into lower Skydive.

We just had time for one more loop in Cougar Glades which still had lots of untracked lines down to the cat track. We skied out through the steeper chutes on skiers left and I seemed to be in minority in finding them pretty ok - everyone else seemed to want to complain that they were too scratchy. Finally we came to Skydive and found that it was in surprisingly good shape with many untracked areas which was really surprising. It was great final run before beers.

They are calling for a cool down over night and then another weather cycle starting late tomorrow that could bring us "significant accumulations", I do hope so.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Day 80 waiting and waiting and waiting....

Some of you will remember tonight's headng from the movie Casablanca which many (myself included) think is the best movie ever made by a big margin. The significance for us is that we are waiting for some very serious snow promised in the next 48 hours. Unfortunately it does mean that we have had to sit out some pretty poor conditions while we wait and today was very good example.

As I have said before, if you are a groomer skier conditions like the ones we had today are fine. As me and my buddies are all free riders who don't ski groomers and like to ride the open terrain a day like today is really tough with very poor conditions over most of the hill. The one consolation is that we have some very serious snow forecast over the next couple of days so we are quite happy to hang out while waiting and get the best we can (which wasn't very good) out of the conditions.

We had no new snow overnight which meant that the snowfall for the past 7 days was 7 cms which gave exactly the conditions you would expect from 7 days of skiing on no significant new snow. After yesterday's massive warm up the snow surface temps dropped to -5 during the night meaning that the snow froze to rock hard ugly ungroomed snow away from the groomers. On the way to the hill it was +3 but that was never going to have much affect on the hard snow. Conditions were overcast so there was never going to be any help from the sun. Things stayed that way until lunch time when it started to rain at the base but came down a white grauppel up in White Pass.

Our strategy was to go to the Old Side where we figured that with the ungroomed as hard as rocks it would start to soften there first with the atmospheric warming. We were totally wrong in that the warming never had any effect on the ungroomed snow which remained hard and ugly all the way up to lunch time. I spent my time poking around on groomers looking for good skiing off to the sides and failing. Places I failed included Cedar Ridge, New Lift Line, Cruiser Left, Lizard Bowl all over and lower Easter Bowl.

The only two places that were any fun were Kangaroo (it skied just as usual, hard ugly icy bumps) and Boomerang which was very hard and icy and challenging but skiable and as such just the sort of challenge I like. After a morning of very hard icy skiing it started raining at the base and we decided  to go up the New Side for a quick loop before lunch. Alpha Centauri skied way better than I expected with sift on a hard base and then it was time for a rather late lunch.

After lunch we went to the New Side with no great expectations of the snow being any good but as it was raining at the base we figured it would better to be up in the snow (even if the viz in White Pass was socked in) rather than be down in the rain. In the event the snow was accumulating very lightly on top and sifting a bit in the wind. In those brutal conditions it was hardly surprising that Polar Peak was closed.

After a couple of loops of White Pass and some soft snow in Lift Line we started to loop out along the Reverse Traverse. The traverse was a bit sketchy but with some blow in sifting across our tracks so that each time out we had fresh tracks on the way out. Easter Bowl was hard underneath but smooth and good skiing all the way down although it got a bit icy low down. Decline skied ok most of the way down but just got softer as we went down so that the last three turns were decidedly mushy, but nothing like yesterday.

This brought us to Skydive and the end of the day. Skydive skied as good bumps with a slick grauppel surface on top. As you went down it just became more crusty and set up and then in the final pitch it softened a bit on the surface but remained tough. This is a very good cipher for the day in that it was mixed, tricky and tough but actually ok if you worked at it.

All reports say that we are due for a big cool down and significant snowfalls over night with more to come over the next few days. We are all on the edge of our seats as the precip certainly seems to have started but so far it's all rain - if we are going to get the forecast 15 cms overnight we certainly need some changes to start pretty soon - waiting etc......

On a personal note I was laid low by what felt like some form of food poisoning last night and was ill all night. Today my energy levels were low to put it mildly and I am only just staring to recover. I was so weak that I hung up my Wailers for a day and had an easy time on my old Shoguns which were actually great fun. Just saying this for information for all those who asked me why I was on different skis.