Thursday, January 12, 2017

Day 42 Stagnant Airmass

Yes, stagnant airmass were the words used today by the forecasters on the radio to describe today's conditions. As near as I can make out this means that things were the same as yesterday which was more or less true.

On the way to the hill the temp on the truck showed -31 which was even colder than yesterday and driving away tonight it was -22 and didn't get much warmer during the day. Things got a little warmer on the mercury further up the hill but this was cancelled out plus some by the ridge line winds which gave a severe wind chill which at one time closed White Pass chair and eliminated any chance of getting Polar Peak open. There was no new snow but conditions were overcast giving some light mountain flurries during the day but with no accumulation. The cloud seemed to be hanging about the hill (I guess that's what they mean by stagnant) and looking out into the valley it appeared that we were an island of grey in a sea of blue. So it was another very cold day on hard chunky snow with nothing fresh to be found.

I am always surprised by how many people cut short their ski days, or worse still don't ski at all because of the cold. I have news for them, they have invented stuff called "warm clothes" and if you put these on and cover your head, feet and face you can ski all day while staying nice and warm. I am no hero and if I was getting cold I certainly wouldn't be skiing all day but by just wrapping up and covering up I can still ski through to 4 o'clock without any discomfort. The most common complaint is "my goggles keep on freezing up" which can easily be cured by making sure that your face covering does not push your breath up into your goggles. Strangely the same people go out day after day with the same equipment and suffer the same problem and wonder why - a working definition of madness is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results, but if they can't work that out I guess nothing I say will have any effect.

It was a day of break downs and closures. We arrived at the hill and found the heating in the day lodge not working and even by lunch time the eating area was far from warm. Elk  Chair was down for the second day running and showed no signs of having been repaired by this evening. Both Timber Chair and White Pass Chair were not loading first thing so the only skiing was to take the Deer Chair and ski across the connector to the Bear and Boom Chairs. Timber and White Pass opened after about half an hour although White Pass was shut down again late morning for a couple of hours due to the wind (chill not strength) at the top.

I flitted from the Old Side to the New Side and back all morning. Anaconda Glades were nice and full of wind sift as were Bootleg Glades. The reverse traverse was just brutal in the wind although in the afternoon patrol did a great job of shovelling everything super flat around the Currie Creek area. Decline was chunky on top  but soft lower down and Currie Creek and Alpha Centauri skied well in the new wind sift. On the Old Side Steep and Deep had some good untracked lines, as did Linda's. Boomerang and Kangaroo were hard and bumpy but then that's to be expected.

In the afternoon we did more New Side loops and found Anaconda, Cougar Glades and all the Currie Chutes particularly nice in the wind sift although it was brutally cold and the light was pretty flat. Last rip down Skydive was just as always, hard bumps in the top, soft in the mid section and twiggy in the bottom.

Home for yet another  quiet night in as it's just too cold to go out for anything but a hot tub. They promise a warm up tomorrow - maybe.


  1. We have warm gear here too and ski in the cold. With the exception of my feet. How do you keep your feet warm on those frigid days?

  2. Two secrets to warm feet. First get properly custom fitted foam filled boots. You don't have to clamp your feet in real tight in these so with better circulation your feet feel warmer. Secondly I use neoprene boot gloves which don't exactly get you warm but do at least prevent you from getting cold. Of course you can get electric built in boot heaters if it's a real problem and I understand these work very well but they are around 400 bucks a time.