Saturday, March 19, 2016

Day 100 another bluebird day to mark a mile stone

Yes, today marked the 100 day mile stone and it certainly was another bluebird day. Just as promised we had sun with no sign of any clouds and temps rising steadily during the day. It was typical spring skiing in that overnight we had a very hard freeze up and during the day things softened very quickly in the direct sunlight and rather more slowly where we had to wait for atmospheric warming.

It was -10 in the valley overnight and still -7 when we got to the hill. During the day things warmed so that it was +8 at the base, +2 up the mountain and maybe just about freezing on Polar Peak but the snow was kept in good shape up there by a cold wind negating and sun effect. Elsewhere things started to soften but surprisingly slowly given the strength of the sun, perhaps it was the fact that things got so cold over night.

We went to the Old Side looking for soft surfaces and didn't find any. I understand from buddies that later in the day things did soften quite considerably particularly out on Snake Ridge and Steep and Deep and the skiing out there was good but certainly first thing it would have been pretty ugly. We went out to Dancer and then traversed into the lower parts of Easter as being the best the best option and it wasn't bad skiing with some soft snow on a very firm base but nothing to get too excited about. We decided to go to the New Side to try our luck.

On the New Side Lift Line was still pretty ugly so most of the day we dropped to White Pass load through Puff which was slick and hard. We tried the Gun Bowl as it looked as if it might have softened but it hadn't and was very crusty. Next loop we dropped 1-2-3s where the best snow of the day was in 1's, quite good in 2's and a bit chunky in 3's. The run to base was down a very slick Diamond Back which actually skied ok.

Next loop I tried Gun Bowl again and this time it has softened and was pretty good skiing. The rest of the run down to White Pass load was also softer so we were not restricted to groomers. Polar Peak had been open for some time and I usually avoid it on a Saturday because of the crowds and the danger of being taken out by a slider. Today it was quite quiet so we looped Papa Bear and Barely Legal which were both a firm base with a chalky covering that took an edge and skiing as well as ever. Grand Papa Bear was hard and refrozen and a whole lot more of a challenge but still great fun. We ran off to lunch through Lone Fir which was still soft all the way down the chute and still good skiing in the fan. Easter remained ok on a firm icy base and Freeway was smooth and groomed all the way to the cat track.

After lunch we went back up the New Side and this time did a loop through Knot Chutes which had softened a lot and were skiing very mellow. We then went back up Polar Peak for some loops and like before Papa Bear and Barely Legal were just as good. I had hoped that the direct sunlight would have softened Grand Papa Bear so I gave it a go, it was if anything more icy and harder than before but that is just how things go. Once again we ran to base via the hike up into Lone Fire and then a ski down the chute, the fan, Easter Bowl and Freeway, all of which were exactly as before lunch so pretty good.

We went back up White Pass and hit 1-2-3s followed by Diamond Back which were again the same as the morning so some really good skiing. Last time up and of course we went out to Skydive which had hardly any more tracks in than yesterday. Unsurprisingly it skied rather like yesterday with still some fresh snow but for the main part a dusting of chopped up fresh and a very hard uneven icy base. It was challenging but an ok way to finish my 100th day of skiing.

There was some huge party on at the base to celebrate the Monster Board Cross event so we sat outside in the beer garden and had a few cans before heading home. I dare say tomorrow things will be back to normal and the forecast seems to indicate yet more bluebird spring skiing.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Day 99 real spring skiing

Overnight there was no new snow and the day dawned as a perfect blue bird day and stayed that way pretty well all day. On my deck it was -9 as I drank my coffee and was still -7 as I arrived at the hill. With direct sunlight warming quickly there had to be a chance of real corn snow (the softening on a hard ice base and not the usual pile of elephant snot that many locals refer to as corn snow) but in the event I didn't see any real corn snow all day. During the day the temps rose to around +4 at the base but held to just above zero at the White Pass load and -3 at the Polar Load.

The overall effect on the conditions of the snow was that it softened a little at the base, at mid mountain it only softened in the direct sunlight (quite a lot) but away from the sunlight stayed quite firm and up in Polar Peak it didn't really soften at all in the sub zero temps and cold wind although a slight softening on the surface may have been evident in the most direct sunlight. By the end of the day most of the sun softened snow was starting to set up.

We went to the Old Side and had a poke around in areas such as Sunny Side to see if it had softened which it hadn't. If fact in the temps of around -5 everything remained very hard and icy, After a while we headed out to Red Tree where over the past couple of days conditions had been described to me as awesome. I can only say that if what I found was awesome then some people are setting the bar pretty low, It was a hard lumpy ice base with some soft snow on top that really did very little to cushion you from the ugly under surface. We ran back through Kangaroo which was hard ugly icy bumps just as normal but was rather worse than usual even by Kangaroo standards. Boomerang looked like it might have softened so I gave it a go and found that I was probably in there about 20 minutes early as it was still rather crusty but totally skiable. Unfortunately no one else seemed to agree as I was not followed in by anyone on the lift who had seen/heard me ski down.

We headed to the New side late morning and did a couple of loops in White Pass where the snow was softening in the Gun Bowl. the I bowl and all routes on the way down to the load. We had a feeling that 1-2-3s would be good and we were not wrong. 1's had the best winter snow on the hill deep and soft, 2's was still pretty good and 3's stayed in good shape down to the last few turns. We ran off the hill through Diamond Back which had been groomed and was hard and crisp all the way down.

Next time up we went to Polar Peak where we found the Polar Chutes (particularly Papa Bear) in the best shape we had every seen with flat smooth surfaces taking a great edge in a soft surface. We would have stayed up longer but in my capacity of good Samaritan I ran some equipment that had been lost by a slider down to him and got below where I could run back to the lift. We ran down to lunch through Concussion and probably hit it about right as it was softening fast and any later would have been just too mushy.

After lunch I went back up Polar Peak and stayed there. I found everything skiing as well as I can ever remember with the surfaces firm but taking and edge - obviously falling was not an option in those circumstances. Papa Bear, Grand Papa Bear and Barely Legal were looped numerous times and always were excellent as described above. Late afternoon I dropped Mama Bear which skied just as well as all the other chutes and then cut out and hiked up Lone Fir. The Lone Fir chute was still very lightly tracked and skied nicely in some soft snow, even the final chute was pretty mellow with edge to edge jumping down to the fan. The fan was soft and deep with hardly any tracks and the cut into Easter was ok tracked up skiing.

Last run of course was Skydive which was still hard and scratchy underneath with some soft snow (still plenty of untracked) on top.Another good day if you looked hard enough to find the good stuff.

Beers on the locals deck at the Griz in the sun finished a good day and it's now time for an early night to prepare for day 100.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Day 98 happy Paddy's Day

Now, I understand there is a movement among politically correct nerds to stop the use of the term "Paddy's" to describe today for some obscure reasons known only to them. Let it be known That I lived and worked in Dublin for three years and I can assure everyone that over there this day is referred to by the locals as Paddy's Day and if you have a problem with this I suggest you should just try and get over yourself.

Today on the hill was a very happy Paddy's Day for me if only because of the great skiing that I found - please be aware that this does not mean that the skiing all over the hill was great, only that the skiing on the particular (and very limited) parts of the hill that I skied on was very good. Looking back in Lynda's journal it was not a particularly encouraging start. Last year we were still skiing on the residual snow from a 65 cm dump which happened two days before and which pretty well saved the season from disaster. Two years ago we were skiing on 35 cms of fresh snow which resulted in me being buried in an avalanche in the fan under Lone Fir - known ever since that date as Bill's fan. So today's overnight figure of 2 cms (actually it seemed at least double that to me) didn't seem to stack up too well.

On the way to the hill it was -4 and during the day base temps rose to +3 with zero at the Timber Top and -4 at the Polar Load. As we drove away from the hill tonight it was +3 in the valley. These were all temps away from the direct sunlight which as for the most part we had a blue bird day was a significant feature. The direct sunlight softened snow surfaces up to about White Pass Top and in the more directly affected area such at the top of the Currie Chutes there was very significant softening during the day and equally significant setting up towards the end of the day. Around lunch time we had a clouding over with some flurry activity which cleared early afternoon only to come back and then finally clear late in the day. The effect was mainly on the light which became very flat indeed under the cloud cover.

I was skiing alone today and with no offence intended to anyone I quite enjoyed it as all I had to do was to please myself. I went to the New Side and noticed that the Knot Chutes were untracked in the new snow covering. I put in two White Pass loops getting first tracks  in two of the Knot Chutes and the relevant parts of the I bowl below. It was all ok soft snow skiing on a scratchy base with few chunks to catch you out below the fresh snow.

Polar Peak was open so up I went to enjoy some of the best skiing in the Polar Chutes I can remember. I dropped all of them several times and found - Papa Bear soft flat snow taking an edge and skiing really well, Barely Legal skiing the best it has all season with no hint of ice in chute exits, Grand Papa Bear was rather scratchy in places but was very soft and deep along the left fence line in the lower section and even Shale Slope was ok but admittedly I only used it to access the shoulder near Grand Papa. Great skiing looped repeatedly.

Mid morning I ran to base through High Saddle (skiing very nicely with good edge to edge jumps) and the fans beneath still had many untracked lines in soft deep snow. Easter Bowl (untracked snow on a crunchy and lumpy ice base) and Freeway which was groomed from yesterday and a bit slick but really quite ok. I went back up Polar and did exactly the same until it was time for a late lunch which I ran to exactly as before with the only difference being that there was signs of wear in High Saddle where it was apparent that side slippers has set out to destroy the good skiing that the rest of us had been enjoying.

In the afternoon I was back up Polar for the short afternoon session and surprise surprise I did exactly what I had been doing all morning and it was just as good particularly after the flurry clouds passed and we went back to ok viz. Late afternoon I ran to base but this time tried Lone Fir particularly as there was a large group who looked like side slippers to me entering High Saddle as I passed. Lone Fir was great with only two tracks in front of me so lots of untracked snow and the fan (two years since I was buried) the best deep soft snow of the day right down to where the traverse lines cut in from Lizard Bowl.

I just had time for a ripper loop in White Pass on groomers to burn off time before I headed out for last run which of course was Skydive. I was alone on Skydive which suited me and there only appeared to be three tracks in front of me. It was ok soft snow on a hard base, a bit like Easter Bowl. It didn't really soften much on the way down but was ok skiing if not the best on the hill.

Of course we had Paddy's Day celebrations in the Griz although I refuse to drink green beer - when they do that in Ireland then maybe I will start. A nice quiet night in and with no new snow in the forecast we have a lot to think about as to what tomorrow's conditions may be - watch this space.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Day 97 good skiing but you had to look hard for it

As the heading implies there was some really good skiing around today but there was also some skiing that really sucked so you had to poke around very carefully to find the good stuff. If you were prepared to make the effort it really was worth while. All of this excludes the groomers which my buddies who ski them tell me were in very good condition and if your aim in life is to ski groomers then today would have been a great day's skiing - my objectives are rather different.

Overnight the hill claimed 2 cms of fresh which didn't seem right to me as we had about 3 cms of grauple before we left yesterday and it continued to come down after last chair. My best guess is that we had about 5 cms of new ice pellets as snow and for the most part they did a good job at repairing the hill to a limited extent. It was cold overnight and -4 as we arrived at the hill meaning that all the under surfaces were still rock hard. In the morning the sun came out and we had some warm temps well into plus figs on the south facing slopes where the new snow started sun balling quite quickly. Around mid day things became over cast and temps settled to about +2 at the base, zero at Timber Top and -4 at the Polar Load. Things stayed that way for the rest of the day with light flattening out in the afternoon and as a result the snow stayed in ok shape although it was rather sun damaged on the south facing slopes after the morning.

We went to the New Side and I saw that Lift Line was untracked so I dropped it. This was my only real mistake of the day as it was rock hard ugly bumps and chicken heads under the new snow and was a very challenging run down and not one that was repeated - you could see why I got first tracks. After that we had a few White Pass loops which involved putting first tracks in various parts of the Gun Bowl and the I bowl.

Next we tried Knot Chutes where we got second tracks and I then headed out to Surprise Trees where I put first tracks on soft snow which was on a scratchy base and which was sun balling even at that hour of the day. After a couple more Knot Chutes (Lynda's first of the season) and runs down the I bowl we went out to Anaconda where she got second tracks in 1 and I got first tracks in 2 which were new snow on a scratchy base on top but improved to real soft snow lower down. We ran to base through Diamond Back which had been groomed but still had some soft snow on crust along side the main run.

It was almost lunch time but next time up we found Polar Peak open and the skiing in the Polar Chutes was soft, deep and very mellow in a double black diamond sort of way. We looped Papa Bear several times enjoying the soft and for the most part untracked lines back to the chair. As we had to run to base we tried Mama Bear which was even softer and deeper than Papa and then we dropped into Corner Pocket which was a bit more scratchy than yesterday but the fan underneath was soft deep and untracked. Cutting into Easter it was bit firm under the new snow and the ski out on Freeway was very mellow if you like icy groomers.

We were back up Polar for more Papa loops and then out to Baby Bear which skied softer and deeper than all the other chutes.We were due a late lunch we so ran down Corner Pocket and found the fans underneath just as before as was the exit through Easter and Freeway.

After lunch I was back up Polar for a few more loops in the soft snow before a call of nature dragged me to base via the Currie Powder groomer - I needed to get down fast. The Polar chutes were holding up really well. Back up I bumped into a buddy and after a Papa loop we dropped Corner Pocket once again which was still very good below the chute. I have set out my plan for using shock cord to keep that stupid rope from getting in our way in chute. I do hope someone takes note or better still gets rid of the rope altogether - if you need that to get through you shouldn't be there in the first place.

The Currie head wall had been open and we considered it. The problem was that it was only open beyond Plumb Line which meant that my best line in Wimp Chutes was closed. Apparently this was because of the danger of spinal injuries (3 so far this year) with the cat track cut much higher this year if someone drops it in the chute. My problem is that Plumb Line is very near the edge of my abilities (probably from the wrong side) which really means the only line open to me is Up Right which I have skied several times but involves an awful lot of effort to get two really steep turns and then some short pitch skiing which isn't really any steeper than Barely Legal in my opinion. We decided not to go.

After a few more loops we did another Baby Bear, Corner Pocket, Easter Bowl drop which was as before very good indeed and even the day's traffic had left lots of untracked lines available. In a stunning break from tradition we didn't ski Skydive as last run. We looking into High Saddle on the way past and it was so tempting. As Oscar Wilde said "the only way to rid one self of temptation is to yield to it" so we dropped in. High Saddle skied about as mellow as I can remember with a good soft surface in the chute and plenty of room to make the 8 or 10 edge to edge jumps required to get through. In truth you just accessed the same fans as you did from Corner Pocket but as they were so good (just like all day) this was no hardship. Once again the Easter/Freeway ski out was pretty good.

Beers with buddies and a quiet night in has ended a good day. On the way back from the hill valley temps had reached +3 but they are calling for a cooling tonight and possibly some more precip so who knows.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Day 96 a happy ending

Now all of you perverts who have clicked on this blog because of today's heading thinking that it something other than it is can just tune out now, this is pure snow porn (oh dear, another unfortunate search word) and not what you are looking for. This has to be quick as I am out tonight for dinner with our buddies Steve and Liz who have been out for three weeks and who are heading back to the UK tomorrow.

There was no new snow overnight and on the way to the hill is was zero at the parking lot and obviously way lower up the hill. The result was that today's conditions were just like yesterday's except that the dust of yesterday was a bit more skied in or blown around than it was. During the day temps rose a little so that we just about had plus temps at the base, around +2 which was way lower than forecast and remained below zero on top - with the failure of the thermometer at the White Pass load I had to make extrapolations from the Timber Top and I am guessing that the temps stayed at about -3. During the morning the cloud that had been around cleared and it looked like we were going to get a bluebird afternoon but in the event we got some very full on winter conditions after lunch which was what gave us such a happy ending.

 We went to the Old Side and poked around for a couple of hours but didn't find anything worth while. Here I have to make the point once again that we don't want to ski groomers so we are always looking for ungroomed opportunities which were sadly lacking. If you were a groomer skier today would have been awesome for you with all the groomers crisp. firm and in great shape  - not really my cup of tea. We even skied Kangaroo which was about as ugly and icy as I can remember to the point where I bailed after the first pitch. Steve skied the second pitch and when he eventually appeared he confirmed it was just as bad as the first.

We went to the New Side and uncharacteristically had a hot choccy break in Lost Boys Cafe waiting for things to soften - they didn't. Puff was an icy but ok drop to White Pass load so that was our preferred route all day. We had few loops in White Pass through the Gun Bowl and Quite Right and similar places which were all hard and slick where groomed and hard with death cookies where not.

After yesterday we decided to try Corner Pocket which was getting a bit sketchy in the last few jump turns. The fan was harder and not so good skiing as yesterday but way better than anything else we had seen. The exit through lower Easter and Freeway were actually pretty acceptable. After a few more White Pass loops that were no better than before we ran to a very late lunch through 1-2-3s although like yesterday we only skied 1s (nice soft snow in poor light) and 2s (getting a bit chunky in the last few turns before we bailed on to Down Right) and bailed on 3s.

During lunch we had speculated that the sun may soften Concussion during the afternoon, boy, were we wrong. It started snowing during lunch and didn't let up all afternoon. The snow fell in the form of heavy grauple (ice pellets) which was great fill in snow and very quickly gave a cushion on the scratchy base. It just puked snow all afternoon (at least what little was left of it) and the effect on repairing the hill was amazing.

We had more White Pass loops in now a soft snow covering before try Corner Pocket/Easter bowl which skied way better than before and even the edge to edge jumping in the bottom of the chute proved mellow. Next White Pass loops involved Knot Chutes where the traverse was about as easy as I can remember and the I bowl which was still lumpy but much improved. Pillow Talk became particularly good fun in the lower chutes.

It was time for out last run down Skydive which for most of the day we had not been looking forward to but by last run in the accumulated snow we couldn't wait to get out there. The traverse was the hardest part as the snow had pile up so high it was job to push through the untracked accumulation. For the second time in two days we had first tracks in Skydive a 4 o'clock but unlike yesterday today was due to the fresh new snow. It was still rather crusty and chunky underneath but as long as you kept on speed to keep you on top it was great skiing. The lower section needed a bit of concentration but was still very good skiing and made an end to the day much better than most of the day had been.

Despite there being no precip in the forecast it continued to snow as we drank beers in the Griz. Temps as we drove away from the hill were -1 even in the valley floor and forecast to go down to -5. As I look out onto my deck it is still snowing and the snow is accumulation on the hot tub. I have a feeling that we might be in for a Fernie flurry tonight and a pretty good day tomorrow - let's see.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Day 95 dust on crust

As I have said before the more politically correct term for today's condition is "champagne on ice" referring to the champagne powder on an ice base. Actually a more accurate description would be slabby snow on a cruddy base. I guess my dust on crust description may just be giving things the best of it when all circumstances are considered.

Overnight we were supposed to have had 7 cms of snow although I have to say that I struggled to see anything like that on the New Side. Of course the wind had blown the snow all over the place so maybe that explains the discrepancy. The result of the wind was that the snow was very slabby and ugly with 4 ft square slabs breaking away under your skis any time you found anything that resembled untracked snow. Not the ideal covering for the icy base left over from yesterday.

On the way to the hill it was +2 and at the base it got up to +5 during the day so that the very lower mountain became soft and mushy. Up the mountain things remained cooler with temps around zero so that the surfaces remained rock hard and ugly for the second day running. We had a little direct sunlight around mid afternoon and then it socked it ensuring that the surfaces remained pretty bullet proof. There was a little flurrie activity with no real accumulation.

We went to the New Side and dropped Puff which seemed to have been groomed not so long ago and was hard but ok. We looped White Pass a few times during which we found that the Gun Bowl was just as hard as ever and way more difficult to ski in the very flat light. Runs to White Pass load were through a number of areas (Quite Right, Heartland, High Line, I bowl etc) and we looped them finding, just as we expected some pretty nasty wind slab on top of a very hard ice base. The warning signs produced by patrol were out today just like yesterday, very strongly recommending that skiers stayed on the groomers -fat chance.

I fell in with my buddy Brad and we heard the rumor that it was good under the Saddles and so went straight to Corner Pocket. Once we had managed to get that stupid cling on rope out of the way (why they don't fit a shock cord tidy away like we would do on the boat is beyond me) it skied very well in the chute and then in the fan below it was soft and untracked on a firm smooth base but with viz a bit of a problem - there were some major death cookies that we only saw as the slipped by us !

Next loop we tried Concussion which proved to be a big mistake as it was ugly refrozen crud under a slabby snow covering which was not enough to cushion anything. It was the worst conditions of the day and a real piece of work down to the top of the Gilmar Trail. Last run before lunch we hit Corner Pocket again which was just as good as before even if it was a bit scratchy in the chute and we could only really get into edge to edge jumping after the tires and when once again we had removed the rope.

In the afternoon we returned to the New Side and put in three more loops through Corner Pocket with the snow in the fans staying good with many untracked lines on a firm base which in the context of all the crappy skiing everywhere else on the hill amounted to "awesome". Our exits were either through lower Easter Bowl or Freeway gully or some combination of the two which all skied well on a firm base all afternoon. Just once in the day we dropped from Timber Top using Lift Line and that was enough - it was slabby, crusty, cruddy and hard ice with many death cookies, just like a mini version of Concussion.

We did s few loops back through White Pass as the sun had come out and we were looking for a bit of softening. We tried various combinations of Gun Bowl, Knot Chutes and the I bowl none of which seemed to show much inclination to soften but they skied about as good as any of the sun facing high traffic slopes did today.

After our final loop of Corner Pocket (the first time I have ever dropped that chute 5 times in one day) it was time to consider Skydive which we feared would be just like Lift Line as final run of the day. In the event it sucked far less than we thought it would with the new snow on a crust base which didn't prove to be too breakable. By the lower section it was just good old dust on crust. Interestingly we put first tracks in the run at 4 o'clock which has to be something of a record. After that our beers in the Griz were well deserved.

So in summary the conditions on the hill were pretty dreadful but by careful planning we were able to ski for most of the day on some pretty ok new snow on a firm rain packed base, all of this without having to ski groomers which as all of you know I do not regard as real skiing.

We are promise some more snow tonight but temps are going to stay low on the hill (they were +4 with graupell storms as we left and falling fast) so the base will remain rock hard and ugly death cookies where it has already been skied. It will take a lot of snow to make the hill as whole a good place to ski away from the groomers. Let's hope we get it.

Day 94 bullet proof

I could equally have headed today's blog as "Boiler Plate" or "Sheet Ice" or any number of other things - the point is that after yesterday's warm wet mushy skiing the overnight freeze left us with some unbelievably hard and icy conditions. As a good ski patroller buddy described it to me - Off the groomers it's all frozen chicken heads except where it was skied yesterday where it's frozen pig's heads. Yes, today was ugly frozen conditions with warnings from patrol at the top of all the lifts to stay away from the ungroomed skiing , needles to say we were only partially successful in following these instructions.

The first paragraph of tonight's blog was typed before I headed out for drinks to say goodbye to my Irish buddy Simon who has been out for a few weeks. The rest of this evening's epistle is being typed after those drinks and keen followers may care to contrast and compare the results.

The forecast for the day was warm temps at the base going up to +7 and things staying cooler on top at maybe +2. In the event it never got any warmer than +2 at the base and was well below zero on top all day. It was overcast with maybe a little hazy sun for a short time in the afternoon. We had light flurries all day which never gave us much accumulation but this evening it came on to precip much harder with temps in the valley of +1 and the precip falling as sleet. Up the hill things have to be much more promising.

We went to daylight saving last night so besides losing me an hour's sleep (guaranteed to put me in a bad mood) we were effectively on the hill an hour earlier today. Given the conditions this meant that we had hard frozen bullet proof snow from the outset. Even grooming didn't do much good as everything that had had been groomed last night had just refrozen to some very lumpy ice tracks and only the morning grooming was anything like smooth but still slick and icy.

We went to the Old Side and found everything a hard as rock. Even the groomers were a slick challenge but the ungroomed was tougher and the off piste all but unskiable in hard tracked up ice with death cookies. After some fruitless poking around we went for a quick hot choccy break to wait for things to soften - they never did.

Next we went up White Pass and found everything much as on the Old Side except that Puff was ok although it was hard scratchy ice all the way down. We tried 1-2-3s and found good skiing in 1s, ok becoming marginal in 2s and we didn't even think about 3s. Next loop we hit Currie Powder and found that the County Line was closed presumably for conditions and so we just worked our way down the run in hard icy conditions. Gilmar Trail was just about ok but slick and no sign of softening of any kind. We went for a late lunch.

After lunch we were back up the New Side for Puff again which was still hard and scratchy. We looped White Pass several times dropping through the Gun Bowl as the viz had now improved and found it hard and icy but with some ok bits at the top. Our run to base through 1-2-3s was just as good as this morning with some careful action needed to bail before 3s.

After a few more loops of White Pass where the Gun Bowl was proving rather nice - due mainly to our better skiing of it and not due to any improvement in the rock hard icy conditions, it was time for last run. Because the County Line remained closed by patrol (thanks guys, I would have hated to have had to have skied Skydive) we could not finish with out usual Skydive rip but took Currie Glades as the only skiing away from groomers available to us, it actually skied ok on a rock had base with not too many death cookies.

Good beers after in the Griz where the band had reduced their volume to the point where conversation about the day's skiing was quite possible - a vast improvement. More beers later in the Northern to say goodbye to Simon.

All day everything we tried to ski was bullet hard refrozen ice. Where things had been groomed or the surface was smooth (either due to no skier traffic yesterday or well pounded in crud) it was skiable but as an hard ice surface. Over most of the hill there was an ugly hard icy set of death cookies that you didn't want to even think about. It seems to be snowing tonight but we will need tons of the stuff to make the ungroomed snow anything like skiable.