Thursday, March 30, 2017

Day 113 another tough day

Overnight the hill was reporting 22 cms of new snow in the last 24 hours and 15 in the last 12. As the temp on my front deck this morning was +4 and the rain line was so far up the hill that I couldn't see it from the deck I was fairly confident that any new snow would be heavy , wet and limited to the very top of the hill. I was right and in the circumstances heading off to the gym for 10 kms on the treadmill turned out to be a pretty good idea.

When I got to the hill quite a lot was closed and the obvious plan was to go high on the New Side. We found as expected a lot of very deep wet heavy snow at the top of Timber Chair with the top of lift line still closed from yesterday. We looped White Pass and found that the snow at the very top was just about ok but became very heavy after a couple of turns.

Next time as we arrived at the top of White Pass they were dropping the fence to open Currie Bowl but with lots of warnings about the amount of slide debris we would see. The warnings didn't really prepare us as even in the poor viz there were more and longer slides under Polar Chutes and all the way across the Currie Chutes than I had ever seen. Fortunately the warming temps (it got to +8 at the base and +5 at the White Pass load) meant that the debris was not quite as hard and ugly as it might have been.

It was a good old fashioned Currie 500 as we all raced out across the debris strewn Reverse Traverse to try and get to some fresh snow. We arrived at the top of Skydive to find one track in front of us that dipped in and out of the trees on the left so we had the run to ourselves. In the three pitches it went from soft to very soft to unbelievably soft so that by the bottom it was very hard work and slow motion skiing.

For the rest of the morning we dropped Decline (which was softer than Skydive) and Stag Leap which was softer still. All of this was very slow skiing and where it had been skied it was knee deep mashed potatoes and very hard on the legs. The final run before lunch was a hike up to Easter Bowl top. Fortunately Easter is so wide that there were still untracked areas which could be skied ok but as soon as you got into tracked snow it was hard going.

After lunch I did consider going to the Old Side but rejected it. On balance this seems to have been a good decision as when I met my buddy Dan later in the day he had given it a try and said what little that was actually open totally sucked with the exception of Kangaroo which was ok. I went back to the New Side.

First run after lunch was Decline into Window Chutes which went from soft to softer in Decline and actually skied ok in the chute itself. Next was Gotta Go which was tracked but quite soft in the choke. Amazingly below the choke things felt like they were setting up and the avi debris to the skiers left had been re-enforced but some big overnight death cookies which were about the size of my truck. As conditions were so sketchy I finished the drop by taking Diamond Back which actually skied ok as variable bumps.

Ever a glutton for punishment I side stepped up to Lone Fir where by the look of things only a handful of skiers had been previously. Things were really starting to set up in the chute and it was about as challenging as I can remember and had to be hard edge to edge jumps to get through. Below most of the traffic had stayed left by the closed sign line into Lizard Bowl so I moved slightly right and had untracked lines which skied ok with a slight crust starting to form as the conditions continued to set up more firmly.

After a quick ripper through White Pass to kill time it was Skydive foe last run. The top pitch was light crust on very deep snow in which you could almost sink up to your knees whenever you broke through. It's not often that lack of tracks in Skydive at the end of the day is a problem but today was one of those occasions. The mid section was more like normal soft snow and the bottom section was almost normal slow spring skiing.

All in all it was a very hard day in a mixture of deep soft snow and setting up crud. On the way home the temp was +9 so tomorrow could be just as tough as today.

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