Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Day 41 Back to the Freezer

I thought that our days of Arctic conditions were over an we would be moving to a more normal Fernie winter, I was wrong. This morning it dawned pure bluebird without a cloud in the sky and stayed that way all day. On the way to the hill it was -30 but with a wind chill warning of temps down to -40, although fortunately there didn't appear to be any wind I could detect. Around the middle of the day I noticed that the Boom load was reading -22 and on the drive home it was -26 so a cold day in the valley. Up the hill things were a bit better in the direct sun light and with an inversion so that things got as warm as -12 at the Polar load which is still not exactly toastie  but way better than the valley temps.

There was no new snow overnight and with the Elk chair down the obvious thing to was to go to the New Side. The other obvious thing to do was to avoid the groomers like the plague although a few people seemed to disagree. On the groomers you do the least work to keep warm and ski the fastest to increase the wind chill so it seems obvious to me that on one of the coldest days of the year you avoid them and go somewhere that is hard work and slow skiing.

After poking around White Pass for a bit in chunky tracked up snow I dropped Decline which was predictably tougher than it had been as the very cold temps hardened up the recent snow despite it's low moisture content. Following my own advice I cut the first boot pack of the day up Knot Chutes, not because I thought the skiing would be particularly good (actually it was soft and untracked in the first chute all the way down to the Cheese Grater) but because the boot pack would warm me up - it certainly did.

Polar opened and I took several runs in the chutes and found pretty well what I expected. Crusty was good, Papa Bear was ok if a bit hard packed half way down, Shale Slope was actually very good in the top and the hard pack was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be, Mamma Bear was great firm but taking a nice edge skiing getting softer as you went down and Grand Papa Bear was variable in the top, ok in the chute as long as you stayed left and then totally sucked on windswept ice for the rest of the run. The view from the top of Polar was just spectacular and I can only repeat that I think it's the best 360 degree view anywhere I have ever skied.

In the sun Polar was probably the warmest place on the hill but in keeping with my plan after the last drop of Mamma Bear I traversed and then hiked into Lone Fir which was still in good shape in the chute and the fan underneath was sensational untracked skiing due to wind sift. The hike up was also nice and warming.

After that it was trip to Bear Chair and then out on the Cedar High Traverse which was running slowly in the cold conditions and provided another warming work out. The objective was Gorby Bowl which I hit on the Curve Ball shoulder and had deep untracked snow between tight alders for quite a long way down before cutting out into Steep and Deep which was tracked and chunky but ok. The return for lunch through Kangaroo and Boomerang was firm bump skiing but taking an ok edge.

After lunch it was back up the New Side for more of the same with Polar still the warmest place on the hill. A loop through Touque Chutes/Secret Chutes showed there was still some soft snow to be found in places if you knew where to look. After a quick Surprise Trees it was time for the final Skydive rip which went ok and convinced me that maybe this cold and runny nose is on the way out and at least some of my energy is starting to flow back and I should be back to normal soon - good news for me even if others may not be so convinced.

They are not calling for such cold temps tonight but then they weren't calling for them last night either. One way or another I will be back on the hill tomorrow enjoying whatever conditions nature decides to throw at us.

No comments:

Post a Comment