Saturday, January 14, 2017

Day 44 Enjoying it while we can

What I mean by enjoying it while we can is that there is a warm up on the way and in the middle of next week even the hill's own forecast is calling for rain. Of course the forecast doesn't actually use the R word but that's what it means.

Perhaps it is time for a refresher course on interpreting information provided by ski hills. Any "information" on a ski hill web site is in fact advertising and as such whilst they would never actually tell a lie, sometimes they are economical with the truth - Fernie is certainly no worse and no better than any ski hill in this respect. The forecast for next week calls for snow Wed/Thurs, but with the snow line up to 1500 meters. Of course another way of saying that is that the rain line is at 1500 meters (over half way up the hill) but I guess that doesn't sound so good. For future reference just bear in mind whenever your read the words snow line think rain line.

No new snow was called for but over night we had 3 cms of dryish fluff and in overcast conditions it continued to snow off and on all day and I would imagine that 3 to 5 cms more accumulated but the time we finished. The base was down at 165 cms and as it has not been warm and the light snow shouldn't have settled I can only assume that the strong winds have scoured the snow plot and carried away some of the base - in any event that depth at the snow plot doesn't have much to do with the snow over the whole hill. Interestingly the base is about 30 cms behind where we were last year at this time and only 20 cms ahead of two years ago which was the worst season for 40 years - not that this proves anything but just saying.

Temps were a lot warmer at -16 on the way to the hill, and -14 on the way back. During the day the temps all over the hill hovered in the low minus teens and the wind was much less than of late. The viz was not great with fog and flat light that was sufficiently bad to prevent Polar Peak being opened.

We went to the Old Side on the basis that with the new snow and warmer temps the skate out along the Cedar High Traverse would be much easier and quicker and we were right. We also felt that as it had been so difficult to get out to Snake Ridge for the past few days on the slow snow and with the wind sift the snow out there would be deep and untracked snow and we were right again. We looped Snake Main, Steep and Deep and 3xGorby Bowls and had some fantastic deep powder skiing. Gorby was open all the way down for the first time this season so the sking just above and below the cliff band (which took a bit navigating) was thigh deep. Loops back were always through Kangaroo and Boomerang/Bear Chutes which were all soft and skied well.

After a late lunch I went to the New Side and took the Nameless Trees slightly to the right and found good untracked snow. I then dropped into the open space and creek bed between Skydive and Stag Leap and had some great tight deep turns between the alders before having to bail out just before the choke. Next was a climb up to Lone Fir which was filling in with the new snow and wind sift and skied well particularly in the fan. I cut into Spinal Tap and found that had filled in ok as well. I just had time for a very soft and deep loop through the top of Triple Trees and a skate back round Trespass Trail to get the last White Pass chair up.

The last rip was down Skydive which was starting to fill in quite nicely - the bottom section is getting particularly mellow if still a little twiggy. There was a line up for the Griz Bar so we just headed home for a quiet Saturday night in. I am just getting notice of between 2 and 4 buddies who intend to come and stay very soon so the quiet nights are likely to be coming to an end.

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