Sunday, March 19, 2017

Day 102 the hill fights back

After yesterday's disastrous rain event and an overnight drop in temps you might well have expected the hill to have thrown in the towel and for the next few days to be pretty crappy. Well, actually today the hill made a fight back and if things were not exactly awesome ( and they certainly weren't that) they were at least ok in places which was way better than I expected as I drove to the hill.

Overnight they had forecast a deep freeze in the valley but on the way to the hill it was +2. When we got there it was around -1 up the hill so with the massive water content in the snow following yesterday's rain we had a pretty solid ice block facing us on all slopes. It was a bluebird day for the most part although we had some high hazy cloud around mid day which cleared in the afternoon. Up the mountain it stayed at around zero all day and a brisk cooling wind kept everything rather iced up. At the base temps got to +3 and it was about that driving away from the hill although when I looked out on the front deck a moment ago it was near to zero.

The effect on the skiing was that everything froze rock hard, and I do mean rock hard. The groomers were icy and very slick, where we had skied off the groomer yesterday was ugly rutted ice and where it had been close yesterday it was had smooth rain dappled ice skiing. We hoped for softening in the sun but for the most part it didn't happen mostly due to the cooling wind. By the end of the afternoon there was some softening but only on the surfaces which were directly south facing and in the sun and even then we are not talking about deep mush, only a surface softening.

We went to the New Side and dropped Puff which was ugly icy and rutted. For a lot of the morning we looped White Pass on hard icy groomers and every time we ventured on the none groomed snow we got a tough shaking up. We ran to base through Down Right in order to see the big slide in 2's of 1-2-3's and it was big with trees and death cookies about the size of my truck,

Late morning we slipped in to the Gun Bowl which we thought would have softened, we were wrong it was hard ugly ice. Next time into Currie we noticed the Reverse Traverse was open and risked going out on the hard but smooth icy surface as no one else seemed to be trying it. We were rewarded to find that the surface in Concussion had softened just on the surface and was taking an edge on a hard ice base. We had a great almost corn snow skiing experience and as a result did two more loops which just got better as things softened and then it was time for lunch.

After lunch I went back to the New Side and tried Puff again only to find it worse than before. I then spent the rest of the afternoon looping all of the Currie chutes from Currie Creek to Alpha Centauri and they were rather varied. In some places it was very soft and in others particularly in the shade it was quite hard and in other places still it had been soft and was setting up as the sun went round. So all in all it was varied but just about on the good side of ok.

Last loop I tried Puff again and found it even icier than the two times before which is hard to believe. I dropped back through the Gun Bowl and it was just starting to soften which says it all considering it had been getting direct sun light all day. Skydive was off the menu as the sign line was down on the far side of Currie Creek as I had discovered on an earlier loop so I dropped Concussion as very nice soft surfaced final run to base.

In summary today was a hard icy day which softened only in the direct sunlight and stayed much harder and icier than you would have expected but overall was ok skiing in places. Tonight they are calling for temps of -10 and no great warm up tomorrow so things could be getting very icy indeed.

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