Friday, March 24, 2017

Day 107 an Old Side day

Yes, it's not often I spend the whole day on the Old Side but today the skiing there was so good that I stayed there right through to the end even though it meant missing the 4 o'clock Skydive rip for the second day running.

Today started more as I had anticipated yesterday would with no new snow overnight and a temp on my deck first thing of -4. By the time I got back from the gym (just for the record the second day of running 10 kms on the treadmill was way more painful than the first) the temps were up to -2 and stayed at that as we drove to the hill. It was overcast and stayed that way all day. Flurries were forecast for the afternoon but they never really materialised so it was just after skiing that the precip started as rain at the base but with the temp as we drove away from the hill +2 it was obvious that up the hill it would be turning to snow quite low down.

We decided to go to the Old Side on the basis that the whole hill would be frozen and with no direct sunlight the hill would soften from the bottom up and the Old Side would give the best skiing. As it turns out this was a totally correct decision for totally the wrong reasons. When we got to the top of Bear we found that the snow at the very top was still soft from yesterday as it had not thawed during the day so the overnight freeze just preserved it. Lower down where there had been skier traffic it was refrozen crud but in the unskied areas it was smooth enough to be ok firm skiing just about taking an edge. The skill was to navigate between the skied areas and find untracked hard snow.

We looped around the Old Side and found that Bear was icy, Boomerang was mostly cruddy but Boom Ridge was nice and smooth as long as you stayed hard skiers left. We did a Cedar Ridge loop which was ok but the drop down Kangaroo was hard icy ugly bumps. About that time we bumped into a buddy and debated what Steep and Deep might be like as the Cedar High Traverse had been closed yesterday. No one was risking going out beyond Snake Ridge but we took the risk and were rewarded. Steep and Deep was more or less untracked but in any event it is such a huge area there were complete faces that remained untracked for most of the day.

That was us for the morning, we just kept looping Steep and Deep and putting tracks down along side our earlier tracks, I don't think anyone else went out there all morning. Exits were through Kangaroo which got progressively softer as the day went on and Boomerang which strangely seemed to stay cruddy in the skied stuff and ok in the unskied all day. The top of Steep and Deep stayed soft powder snow and as the day progressed the harder lower surfaces softened to give awesome skiing taking a nice edge.

After lunch went straight back to the Snake Ridge loops. Every time in the morning we had skied across the top of Snake Main which appeared to be untracked on the left side but we had resisted the temptation to drop it. As Oscar Wilde said "the only way to rid oneself of temptation is to yield to it" so first thing after lunch in we went. It was totally awesome untracked powder skiing all the way down to the Gorby Gap which was also untracked and a very nice softening surface in the rising temp. I noticed that at the Boom load it got to about +2 in the afternoon so I guess it stayed at about zero at the top all day.

Next loop we went back to Steep and Deep and took slightly different lines and found more untracked snow all the way down into the left hand exit chutes. We then chose to stay on the Old Side for the final loop as there was no way that anything could be better on the New and this turned out to be an excellent call. We tried Gorby Bowl and found the upper bowl totally untracked and deep snow. The left/right shuffle through the waterfall was also untracked as was the chute underneath which was by that time soft snow. Once again we were skiing untracked snow at the end of the day.

All exits were through Kangaroo which just got softer all the time and was so mellow by the end of the day that we were taking it in a series of GS turns all the way down which isn't something you can do in the Roo that often. Boomerang stayed quite chunky but did improve a bit by the end of the afternoon. End of the day found us at the top of Boom Chair so we dropped Boom Ridge which was still great soft skiing on the hard skiers left and then hit the trees on the right just above Cedar Trail which were good tree skiing with a couple of hops over deadfall.

I had to curtail our drinks (OJ and soda) in the Griz as a heel binding on the skis failed just as I took them off at the end of the day so I had to get them to Straight Line to be fixed. As always Straight Line fixed everything before they closed so I am back in business for tomorrow. While at the shop we looked at the Griz cam on line and found that there had already been a 7 cm accumulation so it was certainly accumulating up top even if it was coming down as sleet in town. Tomorrow is my rest day from training and it seems to me that an early morning powder start might be in order.

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