Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Day 70 here comes the rain

Yesterday's bluebird conditions have now given way to the threatened rain which is falling on my back deck as I am typing this. But lets go back to the beginning and tell my story in some kind of order.

No new snow over night and on the way to the hill the temp was +1. During the day temps rose at the base to +4 and up the hill at the White Pass load I noticed it was +1 mid afternoon. As I drove away it was +3 and that's where it looks like it's going to remain over night. It was overcast to start with and became more cloudy as the day wore on and the wind was pretty gusty off and on. By the end of the day the precip had started a graupel at the top of Skydive but by the base is was light rain and there doesn't seems to be anything that is going to change that any time soon.

We decided to have a New Side day for no particular reason although the Polar Peak chair was closed due to the wind - for a short time around mid day it did go to standby but that was a false alarm and all we really had to play with were New Side loops. As I predicted yesterday all the south facing slopes which had melted in yesterday's sun were set up as hard ugly icy crud and didn't soften that much today in the absence of direct sunlight. The atmospheric warming today did have an effect on the rain crust which started to soften in the afternoon but only at the very lower parts of the hill - where it softened it got very mushy and sticky and quite slow motion skiing.

The Gun bowl was fairly scratchy but we dropped it on the way to Anaconda Glades which skied nice and soft taking an edge and Bootleg Glades which were a bit chopped up and crusty. Next loop we had intended to ski Lone Fir but due to a lack of concentration ended up on Barracuda which was scratchy and icy all the way down to the Gilmar trail. Lone Fir when we got there was great soft chute skiing and the fan below was much improved by a light covering of sift which improve skiing enormously and showed how little snow would be needed to really make things good. The exit through Easter was still crusty at that time.

On a whim we decided to try Siberia Ridge with no great expectation that it would be any good, Actually it skied well down to the choke which was no worse than usual. The rest of the run went from scratchy ice under trees to crust which was ok to ski because of the terrain which assisted the crusty turns. Final run before lunch we got tempted to try Cougar Glades which we have skied past untracked for the past four days on the grounds that the trees would be just too ugly. In the event it skied better than expected although the crusty lines in trees were a bit challenging. The cut into Stag Leap was ok and the lower part of Stag leap was starting to soften and was actually quite mushy by the last couple of turns.

After lunch at the excellent Rusty Edge it was more New Side loops. We hit Touque Chutes (starting to soften ok) and Spinal Tap (crust to mush and back again) which we had intended to do before lunch. I don't think anyone had been in there since I skied it a couple of days ago and given the conditions I am not entirely surprised. Then it was Decline (crusty) and Window Chutes (crusty and mush) although the icy chokes actually skied quite well. The traverse just before the bridge on the way to Skydive is now getting very sketchy and anyone thinking of trying it should be prepared for a bit of a shock.

Final run was Skydive which skied so much better that it has of late. The bumps in top took a nice edge and most of the rest of the run was easy soft skiing. The lower final pitch was slow and heavy and hard work. Bear in mind that by this time the light rain had started low down making the going very sticky the conditions were to be expected.

Another quiet night in to gather ourselves for what could be a rather testing and wet day tomorrow.

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