Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Day 77 better than I expected

So, why were things better than I expected today. Well, avid readers may remember that last run yesterday the lower pitch of Skydive had got decidedly soft as had all of the hill at a similar level. My fear was that in the cooler conditions (it was -6 on the way to the hill today) the lower hill would at best be crusty and at worst refrozen crud. In the event the colder air seemed to have dried out the snow so what we had was rather chunky and quite hard work but by no means a difficult skiing surface. This meant that top to bottom runs overall could be classified as good today despite the fact that we had no new snow over night.

It started as a bluebird day, so much so that the opening of the upper hill was delayed due to heli bombing all the ridge lines which was kind of cool to watch as a curtain raiser to the day. Temps rose quite quickly so that we had slightly plus temps at the base during the day and a couple of degrees below freezing all over the rest of the hill. Things might have been different if it had remained bluebird but it did not. By mid morning the weather had clouded over and stayed that way with the odd sunny break all day keeping the direct sunlight off the hill and making sure that the snow did not soften even lower down. It looks like softening will not be much of an issue tomorow for as we drove away from the hill it was -1 and looks like we will be seeing a temp of -8 overnight even here in the valley.

I had a rather subdued day as I was helping to get Lynda back into the skiing groove. She has been away for about 4 weeks and when you add that to all the family issues she has had to deal with plus a bout of the Fernie Flu it was not surprising that she was having trouble getting her head back into skiing. I am pleased to say that by mid afternoon when she left the hill she was more or less back to normal.

We started on White Pass and did several White Pass loops of Highline, Heartland, Quite Right, Gun Bowl, Pillow Talk etc and found them all good tracked powder and very nice skiing. We then moved on the Currie Bowl where Lynda stuck to Alpha Centauri and Concussion. I hit Concussion which was tracked powder down to the Gilmar Trail and then Gilmar Gully which was hard packed but taking a nice edge.

I then had three loops all the same which is quite unusual for me. High Saddle which was ok all the way down with only one or two icy turns in the middle of the chute. Below the Saddle it was soft deep snow which was only lightly tracked. The exit was through Easter (chunky deep snow) and Freeway which was hard pack - a special mention to the a--hole who dropped an empty beer can in Freeway which I recovered. If you are reading this (if you can read) do us all a favour, pack up your bags, get off the hill and never come back. Last loop before lunch was Alpha Centauri with Lynda and it was still skiing soft all the way down.

After lunch we looped White Pass a few times and then had a final run (for Lynda) down Alpha Centauri which was just as good as before. Left to my own devices I went of Polar Peak which had rather variable viz which came and went but some nice wind sift that had blown in particularly in Papa Bear although Grand Papa was also pretty good. We took a run down Spirit Bear which was a bit varied and encouraged by my runs down High Saddle in the morning we tried our luck in Low Saddle. The chute was pretty sketchy with rocks and ice sheets that we had to slither through before cutting right and getting some good untracked skiing. Easter and Freeway were still in good shape on the exit.

Last run was Skydive which was very mellow down to the final pitch and not all that bad even then in the chunky snow. The lower mountain was so good that I have decided to give the Old Side try tomorrow relying on the fact that the snow will be in good shape no matter how low down we go.

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