Friday, January 6, 2017

Day 36 Can such a small snowfall really have this much effect ?

We woke up this morning to a reported 1 cm of snow although that would have been the early measure so that by the time the day was properly under way I would imagine we had 3 cms. It snowed very lightly off and on during the day and I expect the final number will be 5 cms in the last 24 hours.Obviously we had no real expectation that this snow would have any great effect on the hill partly because of the small amount and partly because of the low moisture content at these low temps but we were wrong, it appeared to have a very beneficial effect in many places.

On the way to the hill it was -18 and driving away tonight -14. During the day I noticed temps getting up to around -12 but towards the end of the day at White Pass top a strong wing sprung up and I would imagine wind chill temps were a good 10 degrees below the figure shown on the mercury. Polar Peak remained shut although late in the day the wind sift did seem to be doing some kind of repair job in the Polar Chutes. The base was down to 175 cms and conditions were mostly overcast in light flurries with the odd sunny burst.

We arrived to discover that Timber Chair had broken down so our decision was made for us and we headed to the Old Side. After a quick loosener down Bear which had a nice dust on crust covering we headed out on the Cedar High Traverse which was running pretty slow today in the dry fresh snow.

Snake Ridge was the first pleasant surprise where we found the new snow appeared to have rejuvenated the existing snow and effectively gave us much deeper soft snow all the way down Snake Main than we expected. So good that we then looped Gorby into Steep and Deep and then Steep and Deep left (always exiting in the newly cleared right chute) where we found the surprisingly deep snow continued and there was almost a complete absence of tracks. Returns were through Kangaroo and Boomerang both of which benefitted from this deep new snow effect and were good. We went to the New Side via Boom Ridge which was firm bumps taking a nice edge.

We just had time for a quick New Side loop where Lynda did Concussion and I did Decline both of which were much softer than anticipated. We the went for a relatively late lunch.

Encouraged by the improvement I had seen I spent the afternoon looping the New Side in a few runs that I had abandoned a couple of days ago until we got some new snow. Touque Chutes were very soft and the cut to Spinal Tap was easy but the creek bed got rather technical low down but overall was ok. Lone Fir was well worth the hike up with the chute still in ok shape with the fan now very soft on top with the new snow and the ski out through Easter and Freeway was great easy skiing. Decline into Window Chute was also much improved with the top part of Decline very mellow and the Window Chute was ok, even in the chokes where there was at least a covering.

Final run of course was Skydive and we had a strong team up there today for the final blast. The mid section after the ice bumps at the top was just fast GS turns in soft snow although the bottom section remained very interesting in the twigs, stumps and rocks. The most full on run of the season so far.

It was good crowd in the Griz tonight and everyone seemed to be getting excited about the forecast snow. If the little we had today can have this good effect what will a proper Fernie dump do if as forecast we get it some time on Sunday? We will hang around and find out.

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