Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Day 54 more of the same

Yup, last night we had no new snow and starting temps on the way to the hill were -11. Driving home tonight they were -7 and during the day while they rose a little they stayed well below zero so things stayed hard and icy lower down and in good shape on top. It was a sun/cloud mix today and it gave layered cloud in the valley. From the top of Polar Peak you could see the cloud banks to the west pushing up against the Lizard Range with just the odd peak poking out of the cloud tops looking like islands in a sea of grey. Where the cloud did spill over the ridge line into the Elk Valley we did have patches of fog but this seemed to dissipate quite quickly once it go into the stable air mass (there was almost no wind) in the valley.

We went to the New Side and straight up Polar Peak and found that the surface had become much harder but was still taking an edge. The groomers had pushed a lot of debris in to the top of the chutes to cover the rocks in the entrance which will be great when it is skied in but in the meanwhile we had to negotiate a field of death cookies before we could start skiing. The bumps were very big, particularly in the top but fairly regular in shape and therefore pretty easy to ski. In summary Polar was steep, hard with big bumps and an almost certainty of a long slide if you fell but with no particular vices and so in my opinion rather enjoyable skiing.

We looped the Chutes staying mainly in Shale Slope/Grand Papa Bear, Papa Bear and Crusty the Clown - the place was almost totally deserted. After a while we tracked out to Spirit Bear which is the narrowest and therefore the least skied of the chutes and it was great skiing. The hike up to Lone Fir was well worth it with soft snow in the chute and awesome deep slough on the skiers left of the sign line below. After lower Easter and Freeway it was time to cut across to the Bear Chair and try the Old Side.

We looped Gorby/Steep and Deep (still super soft deep snow in the top of Gorby) and Snake Main which were good soft skiing in the top and crunchy breakable crust lower down which whilst a bit tough was certainly skiable. Returns were through Kangaroo which was hard ugly icy bumps and Boomerang which after a few good turns in the top got very hard and chunky down in the guts. We did one quick run back through Boom Ridge which was icy bumps just to test ourselves and found that we could ski it in one but didn't get too many points for style. Lunch time.

In the afternoon we were back up Polar Peak for more loops just like the morning and unsurprisingly conditions were more or less the same. We ran off through Mama Bear which was not too lumpy and then traversed out and hit the top of The Brain (still good skiing with not many tracks) and then cut into Window Chutes which were very good but crunchy all the way down and did get a bit technical in the final choke. Back up Polar for another Spirit Bear (still very good) and run down Concussion which was firm but took an edge all the way down. A note to the unsuspecting - Gilmar trail is really slick and icy so stay on the left shoulder.

There was just time for quick hike up Mitch Chutes which had lots of soft line before hitting Skydive for the final run. Skydive was as expected good in the top getting worse and scratchier the lower you went. Opinions were divided among the group that skied it as to whether or not it was better or worse than yesterday. In the interests of keeping the peace lets say it was about the same.

No snow forecast overnight and cold temps tomorrow so maybe still more of the same.

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