Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Day 34 F-f-f-f-f-f-freezing

Well, the weather forecasters said that yesterday (Tuesday) would be the coldest day of the current Arctic airmass cycle - they were wrong. Today was another bluebird day but on the way to the hill the temp showing on the truck was -32. The Weather Network had a severe wind chill warning for the Elk Valley calling for wind affected temps down to -40. On the way back tonight it was -29 and during the day it got up to about -22 at the White Pass load. They were calling for an inversion but to be honest it was only a degree or two warmer on top than in the valley and any warmth felt was most probably due to the direct sunlight.

There was no new snow over night and Polar Peak didn't open so apart from being even colder than yesterday things were just the same with the exception that the tracked up snow and traverses became even harder and tougher to ski. Unsurprisingly the hill was quiet and I didn't get there myself until 9:30 which was about the time things warmed up enough to start to load Timber chair.

Once again I decided to just do New Side loops as no skiing was going to be that good today. A buddy of mine did go to the Old Side and did the very grippy push out to Snake Ridge and reported that the skiing on Steep and Deep was really good with some deep untracked lines and there was no one there. Perhaps I might give this a try tomorrow.

On the New Side, Lift Line and the Reverse Traverse had both become very ribby with some tough hard icy underlying conditions and the skis being pushed everywhere but where you wanted them to go. The pattern for the day was a run back off White Pass top to the load just to stay in the sun and the warmer air then a loop from White Pass top to the base - this continued all morning and after a fairly short lunch break all afternoon.

It's not worth listing all the runs but perhaps it is worth mentioning some of the places which gave surprising good and soft skiing. Surprise Trees far left still had many untracked lines but you had to be careful of the alders which got thicker the lower you went. Currie Creek was run of the day and I did it twice. I think that by the time skiers get to the creek they are on a mission to head to the Big 3 or Easter and tend to ignore it. The result was very deep soft snow which was only lightly tracked although the final ski out was bit technical. Cougar Glades still had many untracked areas and the lower left hand exit chute also had deep snow between the dead fall and bushes. Touque Chutes were soft and deep after a couple of turns at the top and this time I took them all the way down into the trees to the skiers right of Easter and found many untracked lines before being spat out just above Freeway. Decline remained in good shape with lots of soft snow on the final pitch.

Last run of course was Skydive which was bumpy in the top and hard for the next two turns but becoming very soft for the remainder of the run although still lots of stuff to deal with on the final pitch. The entertainment was provided by Lynda doing a cartwheel on the top pitch but landing it on her skis and carrying on - it would have got maximum points in free riding competition.

A good gathering in the Griz to discuss the day and everyone getting pumped about the snow cycle that looks like it will hit us this weekend and all the following week. Before that we have to get through a couple more days of these Arctic temps but as I always say "There is no such thing as bad conditions, only inappropriate clothing and inadequate skill levels". Tomorrow is another day.

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