Monday, January 9, 2017

Day 39 Awesome Powder

It snowed overnight and when I checked the official web site while having my morning coffee it said that we had 5 cms of fresh. This seemed a bit odd as there was already more than double that in my drive and before I left for the hill the figure had been upped to 12 cms. On the way to the hill it was snowing really hard (some of the heaviest snowfall I have seen this winter) and although it did not last long I would imagine that by the time things eased up mid morning we probably had about 20 cms of snow out of this cycle.

Temps were -12 on the way to the hill and they rose steadily during the day so that by the end we had -5 up the hill and -4 on the valley floor. The cloud cover was pretty heavy giving some poor viz at the top of the hill and killing off any chance we might have had of getting Polar Peak. We had light flurries all day but nothing that amounted to much and the view is that we have seen most of the precip out of the current cycle.

The snow could not have come at a better time for as I pointed out yesterday the hill really needed it. Furthermore it came on a Monday when the weekend crowds had all gone (sorry guys but there are no friends on a powder day) and was just below the threshold for triggering the 20 cm rule in town so there was hardly anyone on the hill. A big dump of snow and the hill all to ourselves made for a very special day.

As always on a big powder day I went to the New Side. I accept that the skiing out on Snake Ridge was good today but having to ride 3 lifts and do 2 drops, not to mention the skate out on Cedar High Traverse just to get back to your starting position means that you can get almost twice as much awesome skiing on the New Side in the same amount of time. This is my personal view and I am aware that other views are available.

My day could not have started better as I headed out to try Surprise Trees only to find the fence being dropped on Anaconda and no one there. I hit the chute just over the hump and had a fantastic race with my own slough in totally untracked snow. I continued the drop in Bootleg trees with the same effect and found myself standing on the Gilmar Trail looking back at a totally deserted Currie bowl with only my tracks showing. I then went back and hit Surprise Trees left which were totally untracked and when I looped back the fence had dropped on Currie Bowl. I raced out to the Big 3 but noticed that Cougar Glades were totally untracked so I had a super deep powder run through the trees. I cut left into Stag Leap and found only two tracks there so there was an untracked line for me to take. Next loop I hit the top of the Brain which was (you guessed it) super deep and totally untracked. I then cut into Window chutes and found my first tracked run of the day - not a bad start.

The rest of the day was so good I just looped the New Side with no break for lunch. I left the Saddles alone as they were rather scrapped and in any event the light was not that good. I spent my time in Spinal Tap (3 times) Touque chutes (twice) Lone Fir, Easter Meadow (the tight chute beyond Lone Fir) Decline, Nameless Trees, The Brain to name but a few. Everything was soft and deep and there were still many untracked lines to be found even at the end of the day. Special mention must go to Triple Trees which I hit late afternoon from the top and were spectacularly deep. The final pitch still had some dead fall that you needed to skip over but that apart it was very mellow.

Final run of course was Skydive which amazingly enough I managed to rip in one despite having skied 7 hours straight with no food. We had a good crowd on Skydive including Lynda who had skied all day (she did have lunch) and earlier actually managed the hike up to Lone Fir for the first time since she got her new hip - the wonders of modern science.

In the Griz Bar there was also a good crowd but as I had rather spectacularly fallen off the waggon last night I was back on the OJ and soda as designated driver. Discussion revolved around whether of not we had more snow to come out of this cycle, opinions varied but as the Patrol have not called an AC start tomorrow the odds are probably against more snow. The Outlook is for it to get cold and stay sunny until next Sunday when there should be another big dump coming our way - sorry weekenders, that's just how it's working out this year. Here's hoping.

A special mention for the two pine martens that I saw in Cougar Glades and who let me get very close. I have never seen two together before and it really made my day.

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