Saturday, February 25, 2017

Day 80 good and getting better

They were reporting 3 cms of new snow on the hill in 24 hours which I guess was the skiff that we saw during the day yesterday. On the way to the hill it was -5 and driving back tonight it was -4 and snowing. During the day temps up the mountain were about -8 and at the base it got up to -2 at the warmest part of the day. The effect on the snow was to keep it in much the same state as yesterday on the lower hill. On the upper hill the new snow seemed to have frozen the existing base so things were a bit more scratchy but still ok.

The weather was kind of weird as it was hazy sunshine at times with cloud and mist blowing in but also light flurries - all this was happening at the same time which as I said made for some very weird conditions. The other surprising thing was the crowds, or rather the lack of them. As has been the case all through this holiday week the parking lots were busy in the morning but there were no line ups on the hill and no skier traffic, at least in the places that I ski. Even the day lodge had places to sit at lunch time so maybe the holiday week is winding down a day early - I fully expect tomorrow to be much quieter and Monday to be back to the usual handful of regulars on the hill.

We went to the Old Side and generally poked around Sun Up, Bear Cave Chutes, Kangaroo, Cedar Ridge, Boom Ridge, Linda's and Boomerang skiing most of them more than once. The conditions were pretty much the same wherever we went with soft tracked powder on top improved by the new snow and generally very mellow skiing. The exception of course was Kangaroo which was hard bumps in both sections but with good coverage and skiing very much as you would expect Kangaroo to ski - a bit demanding but taking an edge.

We decided to give the New Side a try and found Lift Line a little more scratchy in the top than of late. It was colder on the New Side with a fresh wind but that added the possibility of wind sift to the new snow. We had a loop through White Pass and found the Gun Bowl and Pillow Talk really nice and soft. As Linda was having a half day before going to the gym we finished before lunch on Skydive which had a few scratchy turns in the top and then just got better the further down you went.

After lunch I went up Polar Peak where it was blowing to the point that the chair was having to slow from time to time. The drop down Grand Papa bear was a bit disappointing as the wind had blown most of the snow out of the chute but the next drop through Papa bear showed us where it had blown to with awesome wind sift all the way down - the only downside was very flat light. We ran to base through Cougar Glades which had lots of soft lines and exited through the left side chutes which were a bit technical in places but a lot of fun.

Next loop we went back up Polar where the sift in Papa was even better than before and then ran all the way down through The Brain which was full of untracked lines as long as you were careful to avoid the dead fall lower down. Next loop was yet another Papa Bear off Polar and then I had decided to try Lone Fir. When I got there I changed my mind and dropped Easter Meadow (only in Fernie would they call their tightest steepest chute a meadow) which was deep and lightly tracked but a little scratchy in the final chute. The fan underneath was awesome deep snow and then I cut across to Spinal Tap which skied ok in soft snow in the upper parts and a firm base taking an edge in the lower creek bed.

Last run was of course Skydive which skied just as well as it had just before lunch and five of us got there to enjoy it. As there was no line up we went to the Griz Bar and had a good evening arguing about the day's skiing. Best news was that the snow which had started late in the day continued with stormy winds and as I type it is still puking down outside. We already have enough accumulation to make tomorrow good and if this keeps up to the forecast 12 cms we could be in for an awesome day - better get an early night.

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