Monday, February 20, 2017

Day 75 things just keep getting better

We were a bit confused when we woke this morning as the hill was claiming 17 cms of fresh snow in the last 24 hours but looking at our drive we didn't seem to have anything like that much. When we got to the hill we were delighted to find that the hill had got a lot more snow than the town and during the day it continued. The result was another good powder day with the hard ice and crust really getting a good covering.

On the way to the hill it was around zero and at the base day time highs got to around +3 before falling back to zero as we drove away in the evening. Up the hill I noticed it was -2 at the White Pass load even at the warmest part of the day. It was overcast and snowing most of the day and I guess we got at least another 5 cms while the lifts were turning. This was supposed to be the warmest part of the current weather cycle and there was very real danger that the precip would be coming down as rain at the base for at least some of the day. In the event we just about dodged the bullet and although the snow got very wet by mid afternoon it did come down white (just) all over the hill all day. Things are now on a cooling trend and the forecast snow (of which there is a fair bit over the next week) should be more like the usual Fernie powder.

Just like yesterday I went straight to the New Side on the basis that the snow would be best at the highest point in the system. In fact today played out very much like yesterday even down to me skiing through lunch to avoid the crowds for Alberta Family day/week which should be somewhat reduced from now on. Polar Peak wasn't open due to the poor viz and as the day wore on the cloud line descended until it was well below White Pass top and skiing was very white indeed until things lifted a bit towards the end of the day.

Everywhere was good with new snow on yesterdays new snow and a steady accumulation during the day. This is a summary of how my day played out -
Decline - we grabbed first tracks as there were already a couple in Skydive. Great soft untracked powder all the way down getting a little heavy at the base.
Cougar Glades - plenty of untracked lines and for only the second time this year there was enough snow to go past the Megasauraus and pick up the old disused logging trail that spits you out at the base of Stag Leap. Great untracked skiing.
Touque Chutes/Spinal Tap - a bit disappointing due to the number of tracks already in there. The snow was soft and deep.
High Saddle - it was still ok but with a couple of icy jump turns in the mid chute area. Below the chute it was soft deep powder with plenty on untracked lines. The exit through Easter and Freeway was soft snow on a firm base
Lone Fir - I had to cut trail across the top of Cornice Chute and Lone Fir was lightly tracked and soft. The fan below was awesome with really deep untracked lines and the exit through Easter and Freeway was as before.
Triple Trees - like yesterday I had taken the high IT to Gotta Go only to find it still closed, apparently it's still pretty ugly lower down. As a consolation I dropped on to the Idiot Traverse in super deep untracked snow and then hit all 4 sections of Triple Trees (no, I don't understand either) right down to where you drop on to Summer Road under the Timber Chair. It was really great and mostly untracked, the only issue was bit of dead fall in the final pitch but it was way better than the only other time I skied it early season.
The Brain - there were a few tracks in the top section but plenty of untracked lines. Most of the tracks disappeared when I cut right into the lower section which had soft snow on a firm base and was so good I could stay in the trees all the way down to the cat track at the bottom of Skydive.
Nameless Trees - these are the trees to the right of Skydive that you enter as if you are dropping into Stag Leap but stay a bit left. Great mostly untracked skiing which I took all the way down to the clearing and creek bed. The bed was chopped up where the traffic had funneled and after a few turns I cut right with the intention of bailing. When I looked below me the tree skiing just looked so good and untracked that I had to take it and ended up coming out on to Stag Leap almost at the bottom, a new line and very good indeed.
Decline/Window Chutes - as the Window Chutes were about the only part of that whole area I hadn't skied I gave it a go. Decline was getting quite soft and chunky so you could keep your skies in the fall line for much longer than usual on the way down. The trees above Window Chutes were deep and untracked and the chute itself had a few tracks in but skied ok although getting very heavy in the final few turns.
Skydive - of course last run had to be Skydive and for most of the run it was easy tracked powder where you could just let things rip. The final pitch had got very heavy and was quite hard work to push around the wet snow, particularly for last run of the day.

After a few OJ and sodas in the Griz we have come home for a quiet night. The good news is that we should now be on a cooling trend so the risk of the R word is going away. The even better news is that it has been puking snow all evening and doesn't show any signs of stopping so tomorrow could be better still - fingers crossed.

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