Saturday, March 18, 2017

Day 101 hero to zero

Yesterday I was eulogising (look it up) about the ability of the hill to repair itself so quickly after a disastrous weather event like last weeks rain. Unfortunately as we saw today the hill has an equal and opposite ability to go from pretty good skiing like yesterday to the horrible wet soggy mess that we had today.

Last night the temp on the deck was +1 and we had a rain snow mix falling so things looked like they might not be too bad. By morning the temp had risen to +3 and it was raining hard. When we arrived at the hill it was confirmed that it was raining all the way to the top, ridge line winds were forecast, viz in White Pass was very poor and very little was open. I don't think anyone was too enthusiastic as parking lot 2 was pretty deserted even for a week day and this was a Saturday. As a matter of record the base has dropped to a soggy 290 cms having only briefly been over 3 meters.

We went to the New Side and found only the White Pass core open and poor viz on top. Yesterday's powdery graupel had been turned to pure elephant snot by the heavy rain and we looped the Gun Bowl and various runs below all of which were soggy, heavy and slow. I never got out as far as Surprise Trees as the I Bowl was bad enough and I didn't really think the juice would be worth the squeeze.

After quite a few slow motion slushy White Pass loops we decided to try our luck on the Old Side. On the way there I had a pleasant surprise in that I dropped into Triple Trees off the Summer Road and found them untracked and nowhere near as slushy as I expected, perhaps it was the snow dropping off the trees that gave a rather firmer base. The Old Side was even more closed down than the New Side and all we had was The Bear, North Ridge, Emily's and Kangaroo. North Ridge and Emily's were just about holding up as slushy trashed up groomers but Kangaroo was run of the day with soft slow motion bumps and we looped them several times before lunch.

After lunch it was raining even harder so I went to the Old Side again which was where the best skiing of the morning had been in my opinion. I had worked out that I could do a loop by drooping North Ridge, then cutting left under the last closed sign into King Fir and dropping all the way to Haul Back. Kangaroo completed the loop back to Boomerang and that seemed to be the only good skiing to be had on the hill. Even then the snow in King Fir was very heavy, slow and slushy and I am sure that as I skied out one time I hear big avi let go in the top of Cedar Bowl. Five loops and it was all over with a run down Bear to base and the rain getting even harder.

Driving away from the hill tonight it was +6 and raining hard. Rather worryingly almost all the forecasts agree that temps tonight will fall to something like -5 with no new snow. If they are right then we could be in for some very challenging conditions tomorrow.

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