Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Day 112 from a wintery morning to a soggy afternoon

The rain that started yesterday lunch time continued over night and all through today in the valley - actually I can still hear it coming down on my back deck as I am typing this. The hill reported 15 cms of fresh snow overnight and as I looked across the valley while drinking my morning coffee I noticed that the snow/rain line on Mt Fernie was almost down to the valley floor so this suggested to me that we might have some pretty good wintery conditions on the hill.

My view was confirmed as I drove to the hill and the temp on the truck as I drove up ski hill road was only +1. It was raining at the base but you could see the rain turning to snow only a couple of towers up Timber chair so it was certain that the snow up high would be good. The temp at White Pass load was -1 so the snow was coming down as reasonable winter powder and the 15 cms was indeed great soft winter snow.

During the day the precip continued but the temps rose so that the rain line climbed steadily up the hill and by afternoon it was only just below the White Pass load. The temp at the load had climbed to +2 and it was about +5 at the base and very wet. On the drive home from the hill it was +5 although the forecast is for it to drop below zero tonight - I am not convinced.

As you will have worked out from the New Side references that is where we skied. With a rain line just above the base you didn't have to be a genius to work out that the higher you went the better it would be and the New Side offered the best elevation. For most of the day the viz stayed pretty good although it was overcast and snowing/raining but in the afternoon the cloud base dropped so that anything above the bottom of the Gun Bowl was in thick cloud/mist.

When we arrived in White Pass first thing we were pumped to find that there was at least the 15 cms of good powder snow promised and probably at least another 5 since the early morning measurement. There were a few people around but nothing that you could describe as crowds so there were many untracked powder lines to be had.

Currie Bowl was closed so we just had a couple of loops back through White Pass (Knot Chutes/ Surprise Trees) which were super deep and soft winter snow. As Currie showed no signs of opening we set up laps to base through Gotta Go/Bootleg (three times) Anaconda Glades and Triple Trees. This took up all the morning and gave us some very good untracked powder on top although by late morning it was getting a bit claggy lower down. As far as we were concerned Currie Bowl remained closed all day but I an told that it did open in the morning for 10 minutes during which time it showed some significant signs of instability prompting it's closure for the rest of the day.

By the time we got out after lunch the rain line was well up the hill and the snow even at the top of White Pass was getting a bit soggy. The obvious thing to do was to just loop White Pass staying high for what was left of the short afternoon after a late lunch so we did just that. We did numerous loops linking Knot Chutes (all the way from the Cheese Grater Chute to Simons Crack) with the Surprise Tree area from the near shoulder to the far side of Triple Trees. The skiing was soft and mellow in the wet newly fallen snow although lower down it was rather chunky and wet.

Last run we did one more drop of Gotta Go which was getting a bit scraped out in the choke (not surprising as it was the best skiing available and so nearly every one I know hit it several times) but below it was still soft and deep all the way down to the cat track. Bootleg Glades were very soft and tracked up so that the lower pitch was knee deep mashed potato - if that ever sets up it will be very interesting.

Afterwards in the Griz very few of us gathered to reflect on the day which overall got a big thumbs up for the morning and an "ok" for the afternoon. This is turning into the wettest March anyone can remember and we are all wondering when the current deluge will end - who knows.

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