Saturday, March 26, 2016

Day 107 today was the day when things didn't soften up.

And the reason things didn't soften up is the story of the day. The result of course was that where things had softened over the past couple of days we had hard ugly surfaces and where they hadn't we had some ok well preserved winter conditions.

Today we had expected a bluebird day and full on spring conditions. What we got was no snow overnight and starting temps of +1 at the base so things had frozen solid up the hill overnight. Instead of bluebird we got some cloud cover which hung around until late afternoon and a cold wind so that nothing really softened in the sunlight and the atmospheric warming was minimal. At the Timber load it never got much above +4 for most of the day and was freezing at the top. Very late in the day the sun broke through but it was too late to have any effect on the skiing surfaces and even though it was +8 as we drove away from the hill the lack of direct sunlight meant that all of the south facing slopes up the hill remained ugly and chunky most of the day.

We went to the New Side and found Lift line harder work with an icier base than yesterday, but just about ok. With a couple of variations into Big Bang which similarly was not as good as yesterday that was the way we dropped to the White Pass load all day.

We felt 1-2-3s might be the best bet and sure enough they were good winter snow conditions just like yesterday and only got a little chunky in the last few turns in 3's. We ran to base through Gilmar Trail which was hard as was the whole lower hill but a big improvement on the velcro stop/start snow that we had lower down over the past two days. This was so good we did it again and unsurprisingly it skied just as well the second time particularly as the holiday crowds did not seem interested in trying out that area.

Knot Chutes were closed all day due to ugly icy conditions so next loop I tried the Gun bowl to see if it had softened. It hadn't and was very hard and scratchy all the way down as was Quite Right and the run down under the lift. Call it a lack of imagination but we hit 1-2-3's again which were still excellent but this time exited through Bootleg Glades which were good and soft in the top but rather chunky lower down. Next loop for a change I hit High Saddle having looked in Corner Pocket and seen the tires all exposed by side slippers. It was very mellow edge to edge jumping in the chute and firm packed powder in the fans which gave great skiing. The exit through Easter Bowl was a bit firm in places but over all ok due to the compaction caused by skier traffic.

Polar Peak was open but as the Chutes were closed due to ugly conditions and the only way down was the Coaster as even the Clown Chutes were closed. Just as a last run before a quite late lunch we dropped the Coaster which as always was a bit slick and then had another great run through High Saddle and Easter which were just as good as before.

After lunch I just did three loops of Polar (still the Coaster only) where I did duck the fence and take a few turns in the top of Polaris before cutting back and each time ran to base through High Saddle and Easter which were just as before. I really can't ever remember High Saddle skiing as easy as it did today and even at the end of the day there were only a couple of icy patches to look out for. The fan is packed powder but reasonably soft and given the other options a pretty good line to take.

So it was time for last run. Even as the three of us who were dumb enough to attempt Skydive skied out to it we talked about how bad it would be - if anything we under stated the case. We were aware that there would have been not softening but nothing could really have prepared us for the final pitch. The first couple of sections were not too bad as they had never really melted but the final pitch had been deep tracked mashed potato/elephant snot on the last warm day and now this had frozen to a sort of icy plowed field with ugly death cookies and icy tufts that had no give in them. We got down without incident but it wasn't very elegant.

The holiday crowds filled the plaza and the temporary beer garden so after a quick beer I headed home before heading out for a meal with buddies at the Pub. One thing I won't do is line up to go and spend money on beer particularly when the line up is significant. I dare say that things will get quieter tomorrow but what the weather holds is anyone's guess, there is even talk of another precip cycle.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Day 106 a pretty good friday

So, today is a first for this season in that I am sitting out on my front deck at 18:40 drinking a beer and eating chips (crisps to the European readers) and enjoying the evening sunshine. That should tell you all you need to know about the conditions here late afternoon. On the way to the hill it was + 2 and promised to be overcast which gave us a real problem. Did we go low and wait for atmospheric warming to soften the overnight freeze, or go high and hope that yesterday's upper mountain conditions (zero temps most of the day ) meant that the snow up there would have stayed in reasonable shape. After consulting some patroller buddies we went for the latter option which in the event turned out to be an excellent decision.

During the day the base temps got up to about +9 and it was +8 as we drove away from the hill. I noticed mid afternoon that temps at the White Pass Load were +4 and even further up the mountain things remained warm and even warmer in any direct sunlight. The day gave us some bluebird conditions but from time to time graupel storms which ran all the way to the base came through and at those time the viz dropped to almost zero and the surface was topped up by the graupel which seemed to start melting almost as soon as it had fallen.

We went to the New Side and found great new snow on yesterday's soft base which had not yet started to soften in the warming conditions. We ran several loops through Knot Chutes and the I Bowl which had untracked lines and very soft snow on a firm base lower down. After our White Pass loops we got the word that the Saddles and more particularly the fans underneath the Saddles were in awesome shape as they had been closed for two days and had very deep untracked powder as a result.

We dropped Corner Pocket and were rewarded with a very mellow drop through the chute once that stupid rope had been removed and had awesome deep untracked lines all the way down to Dancer. The Dancer run hadn't been groomed and the snow got chunkier as we dropped down and was quite tough skiing in the last few turns. Next loop Polar Peak had opened but with a huge line up so guessing that the Polar Chute skiing would be no more than ok we dropped Corner Pocket again and found things just as awesome as before but this time the lower section of Dancer was staring to soften.

Next time up the Polar crowds had subsided but we went up and this coincided with a graupel storm with socked in viz which made the ski down the chutes tough work but even in the poor light it was easy to detect that the skiing was nowhere near as good as it was in the Saddles. I looked into Corner Pocket again but saw that the rope was now lying down the chute which meant that the side slippers had been in. I am always annoyed when I hear people bragging about how they have skied the Saddles and then say "of course we side slipped the chutes". Reality check guys, if you side slip the chutes you haven't skied them in any meaningful sense of the word and you should stay out of the chutes until you can ski or ride them properly without ruining them for everyone else. We dropped High Saddle which was skiing beautifully and we had soft edge to edge jumps all the way down and the fan underneath was just as good as before with many untracked lines.

Last run before a very very late lunch was up Polar Peak where the light had improved but a drop down Papa Bear just showed that the skiing was ok but no better. Knowing that the Saddles would be better we dropped High Saddle again and again got awesome skiing in the fans. The lower sections of Dancer were now really soft and very mellow skiing.

After lunch there was very little of the afternoon left so we tried a rerun on Knot Chutes and I bowl which proved to be very soft but ok skiing with the surface sliding out from under us. We decided that Polar would not have improved and was not worth the effort so we hit High Saddle one more time and unsurprisingly it was just as good as before and as far as I was concerned the best skiing on the hill by a big margin. We just had time for a quick loop and tried 1-2-3's which was good winter snow and skied almost as well as the Saddles but not quite. Bootleg Glades were a little more challenging but didn't ski all that badly although a bit chunky before the Gilmar Trail.

Last run we dropped off Timber Top into some permutation of Lift Line/Big Bang which we had been skiing all day and which was soft and steep skiing and as good as it had been all day. Skydive as a finale was a piece of work. We had bumps, soft snow, crust, ice and almost every condition except powder. The strange thing was that the surface was chopped up soft crud in the top which got harder and icier as we went down softening only in the last few turns - how that came about was beyond all of us but it was a very tough end to the day.

Beers as usual while the head wall was heli bombed in fairly spectacular fashion. Tomorrow looks like spring going on Summer skiing - maybe time to dig out the shorts. It's not often we get 5 drops in a daythrough the Saddles at this time of year with everything skiing so well.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Day 105 a little bit of winter returns

Now, let's not get carried away, we didn't get full on winter conditions today or anything like. What we did get was some colder conditions with precip that came down as what could justifiably be described as powder at least higher up and for the early part of the day. Overnight it rained in the valley and when I got up a couple of times during the night (see earlier references to the problems of us old guys making it through the night without a pee) it was raining hard and we had to hope that it was coming down white up the hill. Around 7 in the morning it suddenly started to puke wet snow in the valley which was big improvement on rain and we started to get a bit optimistic about today's skiing.

On the way to the hill temps actually dropped to -1 and the snow was wet and heavy. The official figures showed an overnight fall of 18 cms of powder and whilst I was very skeptical of that description of the snow I have to admit that we certainly got 18 cms and on the upper mountain it qualified as powder. During the day temps rose to +4 at the base and held at about zero on the upper mountain so the snow tended to get heavier down low but stayed in ok shape on top, The weather varied from showers to a bit of sun but was mostly overcast. Those showers did come down as snow all the way to the base but mostly they were very wet low down but fell as full on winter snow or at worst grauple up in White Pass.

We went to the New Side on the basis that we wanted to get high to get the best of the wet snow conditions and this proved to be a pretty good decision - White Pass was open but we were going to have to wait for Currie Bowl. As always in White Pass on these sort of days the viz was poor on top - it seems to me that this is a price we always have to pay for the good snow high up on the New Side. Lift Line was open and great soft skiing. We looped White Pass many times and in many ways and got great lightly tracked skiing in Knot Chutes, Surprise Trees, I bowl, Pillow Talk and all the areas in between. It seemed that the word that we had a full on powder day had not registered with the usual Fernie crowd so it was getting for 11 before the crowds showed up and by then the fence had dropped on Currie Bowl.

The Saddles were closed (all day) so we hit out to the Big 3 where me and Mark got first tracks in Decline and Lynda hit Skydive which only had one track in tight on the right trees so she more or less had first tracks. Sensational soft skiing which just got softer as you went down but as it was untracked it was easy skiing. Next loop we hit Cougar Glades which had many untracked lines to follow and only just got heavy at the Megasaurus ski out onto Stag Leap. Lower Stag was ok but heavy and trashed by the three tracks that were already in there.

Next we tried the Brain which had a lot of untracked areas in the top and was almost totally untracked lower down as people had bailed after the first pitch. This was very mellow skiing although the final cut out into Skydive was very heavy. Last loop before very late lunch was a hike up Lone Fir. This was a little disappointing as the chute was rather scratchy and I wonder if the whole area had been bombed for avi control. The fan underneath was very good and soft as was Easter Bowl left and Freeway down to the cat track. The run to lunch at the ever excellent (both quality and value) Big Bang Bagels was hard work as the lower mountain was very sticky and in my view much tougher than the double black diamond terrain that I had just skied.

After Lunch there wasn't much time and the precip had set in as rain at the base so I headed to White Pass where the precip was snow or ice pellets both of which made for excellent improving skiing. We spent the whole afternoon looping the Gun Bowl, Knot Chutes, Surprise Trees, Pillow Talk etc determined not to run to base in the rain until the end of the day. The conditions generally improved with the new snow and by the time we left things were looking pretty promising for tomorrow.

Last run was, of course, Skydive which was very different from when we were putting first tracks out there in the morning. It was chopped up powder in top becoming chopped up crud mid way down and chopped up mush in the final pitch. We dropped it in one but very cautiously bearing in mind how condition might change but in the event the transitions were all quite mellow and you have plenty of time to adjust to each new condition. In fact the worst pat of the run off the hill was the ski out below on Bambi which was very sticky - how often is Bambi the toughest run of the day !

After a couple of beers it was time to drive home in temps of +2 and mixed precip in the valley - as I said quite encouraging for tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Day 104 a strange day what with weird weather and lift break downs

Yes, today was weird day and as I sit here I am really struggling to pull all the parts of the day together and make some sort of sense of it. The weather started as overcast and looked like it was going to rain but during the day it came up with some very heavy ice pellet storms which were wet at the base and just a good graupel skiing surface up high. Later on it almost became sunny but then clouded over and went back to ice pellets although by the time we left the hill in the evening it was good old fashioned rain at the base a goodness knows what was going on at the top of the hill. Quite a mix.

The temps did not freeze overnight and it was +3 as we reached the hill. This meant that we had good atmospheric softening from the base almost from the start so that things were soft low down. Above mid mountain things had become hard and icy and in the absence of any direct sun  it was along time before these softened even slightly. The biggest improvement to these surfaces came around mid day with the covering of graupel on the hard refrozen base. We had limited skiing as closed areas included Polar Peak. Lift Line/Siberia Ridge, Anaconda, Knot Chutes, Saddles and on the Old Side everything beyond Cedar Centre. We even had the traverse beyond Currie Creek to the Big 3 closed although I suspect this had less to do with conditions which were ok and more to do with someone forgetting to remove the closed signs from the Skydive Traverse.

We had intended to go high on the New Side but as we left the locker room we were told that White Pass chair was down for maintenance so we went to the Old Side. Later in the morning we were given notice that White Pass had restarted and then almost immediately got the news that Timber Chair had broken down so the New Side was still unavailable. It was actually about 14;30 that we actually managed to get on the Timber Chair for some late afternoon skiing. As I said at the the start it was a rather weird day for all sorts of reason.

We went to the Old Side with +3 at the base and minus temps giving a hard base on top. During the day things warmed but whilst it must have got to +6 at the base, it was hovering around zero in White Pass all afternoon. Viz was ok and we tried Sunny Side a couple of times which was hard and icy and the China Wall which was much the same, softening only in the last couple of turns. We spent our whole morning doing loops off Cedar Ridge/New Lift Line (ok but hard under base) Kangaroo (soft and as mellow as I have ever known it) Boom Ridge (skiing a bit like Kangaroo) and Boomerang (also very mellow skiing) and looped these area many times. It was great soft skiing in the atmospheric warming.

Over lunch we had some very big ice pellet storms and went back to the Old Side for a typical morning loop which was getting sticky with the new "snow" coming down on the soft surfaces.. We tried a traverse out to Lower Easter which actually was ok skiing on the new surface as was Freeway, followed by a very sticky ski across to Timber which had just started to load.

We decided to stay up in White Pass as it was threatening rain in the valley and the new snow up there (albeit on a hard icy base) was pretty good. We put first tracks in Gun Bowl under the lift and great first tracks in the Pillow Talk chutes followed by more first tracks in Morgan's Dilemma. Not awesome first tracks but at this time of the season I will take anything I can get. We did a few more untracked loops in the I bowl before cutting first tracks out to Surprise Trees where the base was firm but the grauple surface was skiing well. We just had time for one more loop out to Surprise where we dropped a near chute and found untracked snow with our tracks being more or less the only ones around when we cut back into Surprise itself.

It was time for last run and we headed out to Skydive anticipating a good run on the new snow. We were very disappointed to find the closed signs in place on the traverse and I am pretty confident that they had been forgotten and just left there as I can't think that Skydive would have skied badly today. We had to drop Currie Creek which was pretty good but we missed our turn to cut into the Megasaurus Trail and ski the lower Big 3 and ended up bushwhacking out way into the logging trail to the skiers right of lower Stag Leap which had to be way tougher than anything the Big 3 could throw at us.

Beers and an early night on the promise of snow tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Day 103 some soft skiing eventually

Overnight temps dropped to about -2 in the valley and a bit colder up the mountain. The result was that everything that had softened yesterday (which was everything) came back as bullet proof boiler plate ice. We had no new snow and the forecast was for overcast with some flurries which proved to be totally wrong. We ended up getting some hazy sunshine in the morning which became pure bluebird conditions by the afternoon. The result was that unlike yesterday where everything softened today we just got softening in the direct sunlight and in the shaded slopes or even in the shadow of trees it remained hard and ugly ice skiing.

Temps at the the base rose to +7 during the day and got to +4 at the White Pass load. These were the temps in the shade, in the direct sunlight I guess things got hotter and that's why we got the softening mentioned above. Polar Peak remained closed so the coolest part of the hill would have been White Pass top which I would estimate would have been at plus temps by mid afternoon.

I went to the Old Side (Lynda was taking a day off for Aqua Fitness and Gym to work on her hip muscles) and it was hard and icy. I poked around looking for some soft snow but there was none. The groomers were hard but these didn't interest me and I ran many different lines through the Lizard Bowl on the ungroomed areas between the various runs in Lizard and they were all hard and scratchy. The runs down to the Bear Chair were either through China Wall or Freeway bot of which were hard ungroomed rutted ice.

I took a detour out into lower Easter Bowl to see how it was and the answer was that it was hard ugly icy bumps which pretty much shook the fillings out of my head. I tried another line, this time down New Lift Line which was better than Easter but not much. I was about to quit on the Old Side but I dropped Kangaroo fully expecting it to be awful but got the first sign of softening on the skiers left and had a pretty good run with softening snow on firm ice bumps.

After that I tried a couple of runs down Cedar Ridge which were still hard and icy. Boomerang had just started to soften and skied very well. Boom Ridge was even better with soft bumps coming at you at exactly the right intervals and as a result very easy skiing. Exits were through Kangaroo which just skied better all morning as the day went on. It was late morning when I got tired of looping the Old Side Triangle on soft snow on a firm ice base in all the runs and went for a late lunch.

The strategy was to try the New Side in the afternoon in the hope that the higher elevations there would be softened by the afternoon sun and for the most part this was right. Lift Line and Siberia Ridge was closed due to conditions so we dropped Puff and skied White Pass. Gun Bowl was soft as were all the runs down to the White Pass load. We played in the Knot chutes several ways down and ran to the load through the I bowl all of which was soft and skiing very mellow.

After meeting up with buddies we started looping the Currie Chutes (Concussion, Toms etc) and they were soft and excellent skiing. We looped in several lines and found good soft skiing on a firm base everywhere we went. Towards the end of the day I was back in the Knot Chutes looping in soft snow which was the easiest skiing of the day. After a quick ripper to fill in time it was time to go to Skydive for last run.

I hit out on the Reverse Traverse rather dreading the conditions I was going to find in Skydive as in my view they had to be hard ugly and icy. Imagine my relief to find a closed sign right in the middle of the traverse so I had no choice but to drop Currie Creek and with the ready made excuse that I had no choice - result.

After a pretty good day we had beers on the locals deck in the sunshine. In summary today had started rather bullet proof but by the end there was great spring skiing as long as you stayed away from the shaded areas. Some snow in the forecast and goodness knows we need it.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Day 102 wet but still some ok skiing

Today the seeming never ending run of bluebird days that we have had came to an end and we were back into the overcast conditions with precip mostly in the form of rain. It was not to be wondered at after yesterday's very warm conditions that when the precip came through in the night it came through as rain as the temps simply did't have chance to get down to freezing, or anything like over night.

On the deck this morning it was still +5 and even when we arrived at the hill it was +4. During the day base temps got up to +8 with White Pass top at +4 and with Polar Peak closed we didn't see sub zero temps anywhere on the hill at any time today. Overnight they claimed 1 cm of fresh but as far as I could see we got rain all the way to the top of the hill and the surfaces softened only to the extent that the rain melted them. In summary where the surfaces had been pounded in ice yesterday they skied ok and soft taking an edge, where they had been soft snow yesterday they were heavy ugly elephant snot. the trick was to work out what was where.

When we got to the hill it was raining and continued to do so on and off all morning right up to the top of the hill. By the afternoon things had cleared up and the odd flurries we got did at least come down as ice pellets on top.the result was that skiing surfaces were wet most of the day through rain and the rest of the day through atmospheric warming.

We went to the New Side in the hope that the precip would be coming down as snow on top. We were wrong it was raining all the way to White Pass Top and clearly had been doing so for some time. We poked around White Pass for quite a while in some very socked in conditions and really didn't find any great skiing. We did look at the cat 2 avi on Gun Bowl which slide yesterday just before last chair as a result of the snow sliding off the gun tower roof - good job no one was caught as the death cookies were seriously big..It finally dawned on us that if there was no good snow to be had by going high on the New Side, we might as well go low on the Old Side and least be able to see something. We ran to base through Easter Bowl which was a bit sticky in places but not too bad on the tracked up lower sections. Freeway was actually surprisingly hard with an ice base.

Once on the Old Side we tried the Sunny Side shoulder and China Wall both of which were probably hard and icy yesterday and as such skied very mellow with a soft surface on firm bumps. Cedar Ridge was a mistake as it had too little traffic over the past few days so we had mush on soft snow which amounted to Elelphant Snot. Next loop we tried New Lift Line which was ok but get soft in the rain. Exits were always through Kangaroo which skied about as good as it ever does with a soft surface on some very big old ice bumps. No one seemed to want to try Boomerang which was surprising as it skied very mellow on a firm base every time we went through. Somewhere in there we dropped Boom Ridge which was also some excellent soft skiing on the firm tracked up bumps. We went to a surprisingly late lunch happy that where ever there had been skier traffic things were pretty good and where the snow had been soft it was now just way too soft.

After lunch I went up the New Side and dropped Lift Line which was rather soft in places but ok and therefore normal service was resumed with this being the default route to White Pass load. I did a Knot Chute loop which was very mellow before dropping 1-2-3s which got softer as you went down and was slow motion skiing by the end of 3s. I tried Bootleg Glades and by sticking to the main area in the middle that gets skied most managed to get a reasonable skiing surface. The way down to Gilmar Trail did get very mushy.

Next loop working on the basis that what had been ugly and icy would now be good I went to the Low Saddle and my theory proved correct. I even had a soft snow slough chasing me through the chute and the fans to skiers right were in great shape if a bit slow. The run out through Easter and Freeway were just as good as they had been in the morning. Continuing my theme I tried Gotta Go which was now soft in the choke but I still had to slither one turn to make things work - under the choke things were excellent. Bootleg was just as soft as before and ok skiing.

After a quick White Pass rip it was time for Skydive which I got to very late and skied it on my own. It actually skied ok particularly in the final section which was now soft on a firm base. On the way to base I stopped to watch a practice chair evac on Deer which is always interesting and my prove useful if you ever find yourself stuck on a chair.

After a couple of beers we drove away in temps of +7 which doesn't bode well for the next precip cycle. They are calling for a cooling trend and we have to keep our fingers crossed.

Day 101 the first day of spring

Well of course technically today it the first day of spring and skied very much like it. Actually we have been having spring skiing pretty much since the first of February and I for one could have done with a rather longer winter than the one that we actually had. That having been said it was a very interesting day's skiing in some quite varied conditions.

Overnight things didn't get all that cold and it was only -3 on the way to the hill. It was a bluebird day with a little morning haze and some light afternoon cloud but for the most part it was sunny and hot. Temps at the base rose to +9 and it was +6 late afternoon at the White Pass Load and even up Polar Peak we were getting plus temps. As we drove away from the hill tonight it was +7 and of course everything had been much hotter in the direct sunlight. The effect on the snow was to give us some very quick spring softening which just got softer as the day went on and in truth didn't really appear to be setting up much by last run of the day.

Sorry for the late report but the first two paragraphs were typed before we went out to meet buddies and enjoy a uniquely Canadian delicacy of a barbecued chicken cooked with a half full can of beer stuck up it's ass - I have to say that the end result is way more enjoyable than the description may first suggest.

I was skiing on my own today and went to the New Side with a view to looping the Big 3 as I felt a bit Polar Peaked out after the past few days, needless to say things didn't quite work out as planned.  When I got to the top of White Pass Polar Peak was closed as was Knot Chutes. I ran down 1-2-3s which skied great in the top and bit chunky lower down by way of a warm up. The only run off the hill was via a very slick and hard Diamond Back where I did my good deed for the day by calling in two skiers who were stuck in there way over their heads to dispatch - I understand they were walked out of there by patrol.

Next loop I intended to head out on the Reverse Traverse but found everything closed at the County Line so I just dropped down the edge of Currie Powder. I discovered the reason was that the conditions in Concussion and the surrounding runs were "industrial" to quote a ski patrol buddy and it was that reason that Polar Peak had to remain closed until the lower slopes were a little more user friendly. This was no hardship as at about that time the Gun Bowl and Knot Chutes opened as they were just softening. I had numerous excellent loops through the Knot Chutes all the way from Tight Knot to Jim and Back again always running out through the I Bowl - it was very mellow soft snow in all the chutes.

Just after mid day Polar opened and it was the most mellow skiing in the chutes I can remember. The surface was firm just like yesterday but soft on top (not mushy) and taking and easy edge. I looped Papa Bear, Barely Legal and Grand Papa Bear as usual and found them very mellow. So mellow that I went looking for tougher lines and found a nice line through the rocks directly under the lift in the cut across from Shale Slope to Grand Papa and then hit Barely Legal from the Grand Papa side, both lines I had never skied before. It says it all when you poke around in the Polar Chutes looking for more difficult lines.

I ran to a very late lunch through Mama Bear ( the steep chute between Mama and Papa was hit for the first time in many weeks and was untracked) and then dropped Low Saddle which was a little scratchy but ok even if the ski out underneath was only tracked up crud. The ski out through Easter was firm bumps and Freeway was slick groomed ice.

After lunch I had intended to try a few quick loops of Polar but it was closed for the rest of the day as all of the patrollers had been called to a very serious incident in D2 - some things are more important than keeping a ski run open. I contented myself with looping Knot Chutes which were still very mellow and not to mushy as long as you stuck to the shoulders and gave the troughs of the bowls a miss. Just by way of variation I dropped Gotta Go after crossing the top of the Knot Chutes and found it a bit scratchy but just about ok with some soft areas on the way down - the exit was Diamond Back which was still slick but getting softer.

After a couple more Knot Chute loops it was time for Skydive which was what I had intended to ski in the morning. By the time we skied it the soft snow of yesterday had turned to glue but the base was still slick where it had been skied. The result was that when you turned you were never sure if you would come to a halt or be off on a crazy sleigh ride. This made for some very interesting skiing but nothing that couldn't be handled as long as you paid attention.

The forecasters tell us that we are coming to the end of the bluebird conditions and that we are due precip over night although they are calling the precip in mils and not cms which is never a good sign. We are supposed to be getting a cooling trend and below average temps with precip this week - we can but hope.