Thursday, February 2, 2017

Day 62 Colder and harder

First of all apologies for the late report, I had some buddies round for a hot tub and few drinks (cranberry juice in my case) so I am late starting. That having been said it is not great problem as there are only so many ways to say that it was hard ugly icy skiing just like it has been for the past week. As all of you can see looking at the heading, today was the coldest so far in the current cooling cycle and the skiing was harder both in the sense of the surface becoming more frozen and hard and the conditions just getting more difficult if that can be believed.

No new snow overnight of course and on the way to the hill the temps was -20 on my truck on the way there and -12 on the way back. It was supposed to warm up during the day but I saw no real signs of it with temps at the White Pass load showing - 12 at what should have been the warmest time of the day. Conditions were sunny but not quite bluebird with the odd cloud around and in the defused light there were patches of very flat light away from the direct sunlight. The base is now down at 154 cms which is a good 100 cms lower than we would expect at this time of year.

The resulting conditions were totally predictable. The ungroomed surfaces which had been pretty hard and ugly yesterday became full on ice bumps or hard icy crud. There was no soft snow or sift to be had anywhere and we had to up our game considerably to ski our usual areas in a safe manner.

We went to the Old Side and tried Snake Ridge although I can't think why. It was ugly and crusty in the top and hard bumps covered with death cookies from Gorby Gap and below. As Steep and Deep was in the sun we thought it might be better but we were wrong, it was even crustier with bigger death cookies although to be fair we did improve our technical skiing by holding it together for those two runs. Returns were through Kangaroo which had now become bullet proof ice bumps that wouldn't take an edge particularly in the top section and Boomerang which although very hard was quite smooth and by comparison skied ok.

We went to the New Side and after a quick White Pass loop in the crunch under the lift we went up Polar Peak where we found the bumps bigger and harder than ever and for the first time holding an edge of any kind was a challenge. We did numerous loops through Papa, Grand Papa Mamma Bear and Crusty the Clown all of which needed careful skiing. We ran to lunch through Baby Bear which was a bit smoother than the rest but still very hard then cutting in to Cougar Glades which was very crusty in the trees. Final drop to lunch was through Stag Leap which remains very icy bumps in the final pitch but which for some reason seems to ski ok.

After lunch we just ran up Polar Peak and ran off again as part of our loops either through Spirit Bear of Goldilocks. The loops were through Decline which is still ok in the top but which has got appreciably cruddier in the final pitch and Touque Chutes/Easter bowl which was good to about half way down the hard and frozen.

By the time we got to Skydive for the final run we were feeling totally beaten up by the tough skiing and in no mood for a full on rip. Instead we each chose lines that we wouldn't usually take and skied them at moderate speed trying to find different ways down. It was actually good fun and a pleasant change on day when the hill had given us a good kicking from the outset.

In the bar we recovered a bit and reflected that we were all better skiers after a day like this and in our own rather perverted way we had enjoyed ourselves although I can see how what we did today would have pretty well been some peoples idea of hell. More snow called for at the weekend to coincide with my return to the UK for 5 days to attend Lynd's mum's funeral. If my departure helps everyone else to some good powder I guess I can take on for the team this time.


  1. Will the amounts as forecast for the weekend even be enough? Is it worth a trip to fernie just for sat/sun?

  2. If the amounts come in as forecast there will be some very good skiing. Of course we are dealing with forecasts with all the uncertainty that implies