Saturday, January 7, 2017

Day 37 A warm up of sorts

Let's not get carried away things did get a little warmer in some places but in other places things were just as cold as ever. The forecasts were for overcast conditions and temps a bit warmer than of late so it should come as no surprise to anyone that the day dawned clear bluebird (and with a bit of haze stayed that way all day) and the temp on the truck driving to the hill was -26.

During the day a pattern emerged so that things stayed very cold low down (mid morning it was -22 at the Boomerang load) and even driving away tonight it was -16. Higher up it was -14 at the White Pass load, -12 at the Polar Peak load and -10 on the top of Polar Peak. As we had sun and no wind Polar Peak was significantly the warmest place to be today which isn't something you can often say.

Not realising the inversion we went to the Old Side and stayed quite low for most of the morning. We had considered pushing out to Snake Ridge on the Cedar High Traverse but in the cold temps the snow was very grippy and on balance we decided against it - no one in my immediate circle of buddies tried it so I have no idea whether of not this was a good call.

We looped around Bear Cave Chutes, Cedar Ridge (many ways), Linda's run and Boom Ridge. They were all fairly mixed conditions with some soft, some chunky and quite a lot firm bumps taking an edge, particularly Boom Ridge which was actually great bump skiing. Kangaroo was starting to get a bit sketchy but was ok skiing as long as you took the left hand chute onto the cat track half way down.

Just before lunch we headed over to the New Side and discovered the inversion and just how warm things were up Polar Peak. The Clown Chutes were closed but the Coaster and more importantly the Polar Chutes were open. The surface looked a bit variable so we decided to play it safe and take Papa Bear which was soft and deep in most places but with a hard band of wind pack which just about half way down. It was so good we did it one more time before running to lunch down Decline which seemed almost as if the snow had a refrozen surface which given the conditions was of course impossible - the effect was some quite tough chunky snow most of the way down.

After lunch I went back up Polar Peak and we tried a few different lines but discovered that Papa Bear was far and away the best way down and that Grand Papa Bear was ok in the top but really ugly and icy from about half way down. We then hiked up and dropped Lone Fir which remains in excellent condition and the soft snow in the fan was awesome. Next loop was Polar Peak and Cougar Glades which were soft but tracked and the left exit which was twiggy had lots of untracked lines.

This just gave us time for a White Pass ripper and then Skydive as usual. For whatever reason Skydive was in way better shape than Decline so it was a great way to end the day. Only a short time in the Griz as Lynda and I are just trying to shift the end of a cold that has been around for a day or two and need just one more early night to get us straight. We are still waiting on the new snow due to start tomorrow but which now has a rather down graded estimate of the eventual amount - I remain optimistic.

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