Monday, February 13, 2017

Day 67 Breakable Crust Bill

First of all sorry for the late report but today I have a genuine reason, I had to run to Cranbrook Airport after skiing to pick up one of my Irish buddies who was flying in tonight. Of course there also was a little delay while I had a look at the work done so far to repair the leak in roof which has involved pulling sections of the wall out to see what is happening.

The title tonight relates to the fact that I think I deserve a nick name. We see this all the time in skiing (such as Mogul Mike, Powder Matt etc) where people give themselves names to reflect what they think defines their skiing. Well, after today I think I ought to be called Breakable Crust Bill, it has a nice ring to it.

There was no new snow overnight and on the way to the hill temps were -2. It was overcast at first but became more sunny as the day went on and by close it was almost bluebird. There was a strong wind all day higher up which kept Polar Peak closed and even blew a bit of sift around low down. It remained at just sub zero temps up the mountain all day and on the deck as I am typing this it is -1. Interestingly on the drive over to Cranbrook it got down to -6 but as soon as you came through the tunnel and into the Elk Valley it was up to +1, not sure what that means but there it is.

We went to the Old Side to check things out and as anticipated it was hard breakable rain crust everywhere off the groomers. I did 5 loops out into Cedar Bowl trying a lot of different lines ranging from Cedar Ridge to the fence line by Snake Ridge (closed) all of which were very challenging crust and in many places it was untracked. All returns were through Kangaroo which was breaking up a bit by the fifth time through and actually was not skiing too badly and Boomerang which was hard crust all the way down through the guts. I even found time for a couple of loops back on Boom Ridge which was just as crusty as every where else although the bumps did help to get a bit of air for breaking through the crust.

After a late lunch I went up the New Side to see if the crust up there was any different and actually the skiing was a bit better over all. With Polar closed it was New Side loops, the first being High Saddle which was a few good turns in the top and bottom and a deep trench that you had to rail ride in the middle. The skiing underneath wasn't bad at all and didn't get crusty until quite low down. I cut into Spinal Tap and had first tracks (ok it was rain crust but first tracks are first tracks) all the way down the creek bed and on to the final shoulder. Next loop was Decline which was just ugly crust all the way down. Next I hiked Lone Fir where the side step up was bit technical around Shaun's Chute but the snow in the chute itself was soft and deep. The fan was disappointingly crusty as was Easter Bowl on the way out.

A special mention has to go to Lift Line which was closed most of the day due to the junior free ski competition in Big Bang so that when it opened late afternoon it was soft untracked snow particularly in the top. The final run was Skydive which just like last night was rain crust all the way down although I thought I detected about 4 turns at the top of the final pitch which skied something like normal skiing. No one joined me perhaps unsurprisingly so I had the run all to myself and I suspect no one had been in there since we skied it in the same conditions last night.

Reviewing this post I realise that a reader could be mistaken and think that I had a bad day because of all the crust - quite the opposite. Skiing crust is a skill I developed on old skinny skis many years ago so on the new equipment if it isn't exactly easy it certainly isn't hard. I would estimate that 99% of skiers quite simply can't ski crust so they avoid it like the plague. They can't understand how the 1% of us who can ski it pretty easily get so much enjoyment out of these conditions but we do. Before all the amateur shrinks come up with a whole range of opinions as to why I ski this stuff when clearly no one could enjoy it let me simplify things for you, I ski this stuff because it's fun and I enjoy it - simples.

Tomorrows report will be late as well because I am back to Cranbrook for another pick up but this time it is Lynda. Can't wait for her to get back so expect another late one tomorrow.

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