Friday, March 17, 2017

Day 100 happy Paddy's Day

Yes, we did have a very happy Paddy's Day and not because it was my 100th day skiing this season or because of all of the music, green beer and general paddywhackery but because we had some very good fresh snow on the hill and apparently no one was interested in skiing it.

Overnight they were reporting 10 cms of fresh although most of that was the graupel that fell during the course of yesterday. In normal circumstances this would have been trashed before we left the hill but with so much closed yesterday it meant that most of the hill had 10 cms of fresh graupel which for reasons I explored yesterday skis more like 20 cms of ordinary snow. It was -2 on the way to the hill which meant everything had frozen hard so the new snow was needed to provide a cushion on what was a pretty hard base. During the day things warmed up to +6 at the base and just above zero higher up so the snow was softening low down but for most of the mountain you still needed the graupel cushion.

We didn't get any new snow during the day and for the most part it was a kind of hazy sunshine. In the direct sunlight the surface softened so we had sun balling of the snow and even some pinwheels in places. As the sun moved round and things clouded over a little the softened snow set up a bit but not all that bad and even where it was chopped up it was still ok skiing. As we drove away from the hill it was +4 and at the moment it is showing no signs of cooling down.

We didn't make an early start partly because we could hear a lot of heli bombing going on and figured that it would be a while before everything would be open and partly because I had some grown up stuff to sort out with the insurance regarding the recent roof leak. What with one thing and another it was 9:30 before we got to the hill and had no hope of getting any first tracks, boy were we wrong.

We went to the New Side and tested Lift Line to find out more about the conditions and found the soft deep graupel made a great skiing surface. Currie was open and as we tracked out on the Reverse Traverse they were opening the Saddles. We resisted the temptation and went out the Skydive where we actually had to break trail on the Skydive Traverse and therefore had Skydive (or any other run we wanted) totally untracked all the way down which was very good indeed. Next loop round we went out to Skydive again and were amazed to find only one or two tracks since we had been there before. Even better Decline was totally untracked so we got first tracks all the way down there which were awesome.

Deciding to chance our luck we went out again and this time dropped Cougar Glades where the two tracks ahead of us quickly disappeared and we had untracked lines all the way down and through the left hand exit chutes. We couldn't believe we were still getting first tracks. Next loop we hadn't really formed a plan but as we crossed Currie Creek there was only one track in there so we dropped it and had an awesome rip down in untracked snow. Last run before lunch we decided to try our luck in Stag Leap expecting it to be rather tracked up. We were staggered as we dropped into the trees and found them  untracked. Even when we got to the top of the run there was only one track on the right hand side so we helped ourselves to first tracks all the way down the left.

After a late lunch we went back to the New Side and had the only disappointment of the day. We dropped Touque Chutes which were rather tracked of and Spinal Tap where there was a chunky frozen under surface presumable from a slide when it was closed over he past couple of days. Still ok skiing but not great. Next loop I hit the Brain and couldn't believe that at around three in the afternoon the whole of the top section down to the Megasauraus was still totally untracked and great powder skiing. Even in the lower part I could see tracks off to the right but held the creek bed shoulder and had untracked snow until I bailed on to Skydive just before the bottom.

Last run of course was Skydive and although it was tracked you could still find fresh snow if you stayed hard to the trees on either side. It was good snow until the final pitch when it had softened and the started to set up. All things considered it was more than ok.

So we went to the Griz Bar and joined in the Paddy's Day celebrations. We were all pumped by what had been a day which was much better than expected and made even better by the fact that no one appeared to want to ski the untracked good stuff around the Big Three. They are calling for some pretty dodgy precip over the next 24 hours but personally I will take whatever we get.

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