Thursday, March 23, 2017

Day 106 what a nice surprise

Today I decided to shift to my summer routine which for those of you who don't know is to go to the gym each morning and run 10 km on the treadmill in order to get ready for the marathons later in the year. This means that I get to the hill about 45 minutes after first lift but I figured that at this time of the year with the skiing winding down it was no great loss - I was wrong.

Overnight they were calling for 5 cms of fresh but with valley temps of +2 and forecast to go higher I figured that at best we would be getting the same as yesterday with some wet snow on the upper mountain. When I got to the hill I noticed the snow line was about two thirds of the way down the hill. When I got up the New Side for my first run I immediately noticed that the few tracks in Lift Line had not balled or pinwheeled like yesterday but looked like tracks in proper winter snow which is what they were. Of course with so few people on the hill (another very quiet day) seeing tracks of any kind was something of a rarity.

It seemed like we had nearer 10 cms of fresh snow and that was full on proper powder. This held good most of the way down the hill and the surface only got a little soft at the very bottom. During the day we had flurries which didn't amount to much but at least fell as snow over the whole hill. Even as temps rose to +4 at the base and +2 at the White Pass load conditions remained remarkably wintery (perhaps it was the cold wind) and it was odd to have two days (yesterday and today) which were so similar of paper but so different in reality. Indeed during the day in certain places things seemed to be setting up which didn't make any sense in the rising temps.

I have been accused of being a bit of a one trick pony on powder days in that I always go to the Big Three and grab as many first tracks as I can. To prove that this is not true (at least not always) I decided to try something different. I went to the Saddles (Corner Pocket, High Saddle and Low Saddle) and just looped them. They were all soft deep and skiing as well as I have ever seen them although that rope in Corner Pocket did get in the way and had to be avoided. Underneath the Saddles the fans were mostly untracked soft deep snow and just awesome skiing. We usually exited via Easter Bowl which first time round was untracked and then down to a very soft Freeway. Once we cut into Spinal Tap which was soft and untracked and only got slightly mushy in the last couple of turns.

Having had enough of the Saddles I hit Gotta Go which only had one track in front of me and was awesome deep snow all the way to the cat track. I exited through Diamond Leg Trees  which were mostly untracked and deep. Next was Cougar Glades which only had one track in front of us that disappeared after two turns and was great untracked skiing all the way down. Final run before a late lunch was The Brain which unsurprisingly was untracked in the parts I was skiing and I was able to take it all the way down to the cat track below Skydive. Even low down the surface was not slushy and it was great tree skiing.

After lunch we didn't have much time so we hit Corner Pocket/Easter Bowl and then Gotta Go/Diamond Leg Trees both of which were skiing just as good as the morning. We needed a quick White Pass loop to fill in so we dropped the Knot Chutes (the High IT was the most mellow it has ever been) and Surprise Trees where there were still plenty of untracked lines to be found.

Just to show how different today was we decided not to do Skydive as the final run. When we had been out to The Brain we felt the top of Skydive was a bit chunky and setting up and buddies who had dropped Decline felt much the same thing. So for the third time in the day we ran out to Gotta Go and had an awesome final run through followed by an equally good drop of Diamond Leg Trees which still had lots of untracked lines.

Every one in the bar tonight was totally pumped to have enjoyed a day as good as most this year at a time when skiing this good was supposed to be over for the season. Given the poor performance of forecasting this year I have no idea what tomorrow will hold but whatever it is I will be out in it, after running 10 clicks of course.

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