Friday, January 20, 2017

Day 50 I had a good day

Why I specifically place the heading of today's post in the first person is because in my personal (and some might say quite narrow) world of skiing I skied in good conditions most of today. That is not to say that conditions on the hill were good, in fact I would say that ignoring the groomers (which we do) 80% of the skiing was pretty crappy. The moral of this for me is not to whine about the conditions and possibly quit the hill early but to actually ski on the 20% of the hill that is really good and have a good day. Seems rather obvious to me but apparently less so to others.

They were calling about 4 cms of new snow on the hill overnight which I guess was last nights graupel and which only really fell to about half way down the hill. Temps on the way to the hill were -1 and -2 while driving back tonight, and I even noticed it was about -4 on the deck a moment ago - we do seem to be getting the promised cooling trend. On the hill temps at the base may have just about got above zero during the day but not enough to soften the snow very far up the hill. With a sun/cloud mix tending towards the cloud the surfaces were generally colder than yesterday and the conditions reflected it. For 5/10 minutes we did get some ok snow but that was our ration for today.

We went to the New Side concluding that everything on the Old Side was so low it would suck. Currie Bowl was closed so we did a few loops of White Pass where the snow was in a slightly better state than yesterday and the viz was way better. We managed to get all the way across the High IT for the first time this season although we still had to air it over some rocks and the Knot Chutes were skiing ok. Currie opened and we kicked out to Concussion which just like yesterday was about the best way down the hill with soft snow on top and skier trashed crust lower down which skied ok.

On our next loop we tried Decline which was a big mistake. It was actually really nice down to just above the Megasauraus Trail but the rest of the run was breakable crust which the thin covering of new snow did nothing to improve. It was super hard work with every turn having to be jumped and unsurprisingly we were the first (and I suspect possibly the last) tracks in there today.

Then they opened Polar Peak and we were in the right place at the right time to get first tracks. For the rest of the morning we just looped Grand Papa Bear and Papa Bear (only the chute side of the Peak was open) as the rest of the skiers discovered the opening. Actually I predicted (and was proved right) that a bit of skier traffic improved the surface which did have slight crust on it although by late afternoon all the runs showed signs of having had too much of a good thing. We ran to lunch through Baby Bear which was very good and Concussion which was just as good as before.

The afternoon was spent just looping the Polar Chutes, particularly Grand Papa and Papa Bear and just one foray into Barely Legal which showed that we need a bit more snow yet to repair the rock surfaces in the exit chutes. We just had time for a run to base via Mama Bear (still in pretty good shape) and Concussion (holding up surprisingly well) before heading out for the final rip down Skydive.

We all knew in or heart of hearts what it was going to be like given the Decline experience but we hoped that things had changed a little during the day - we were out of luck. It skied ok to just above the Megasauraus Trail and then turned to very ugly breakable crust. So far it was skiing just like yesterday but you may recall that then the lower section softened to spring skiing. Well, today it didn't, it was hard refrozen crud of the worst kind and showed no signs of softening. We all felt that we had earned our beers (and OJ and sodas) after dragging our asses down that.

Time for one more early night to try and shake this cold and to be ready for the early start to beat the weekend crowds tomorrow. Forecasts are holding out the prospect a little precip over the next few days and I will take whatever we can get.

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