Thursday, March 2, 2017

Day 85 we are on the edge

Yes, things are very tight here when it comes to precip and temperature. There is no doubt that there is a lot of precip in the forecast and equally no doubt that there will be a short warming trend followed by a long cooling trend. The question is how warm and whether or not the precip will come as rain or snow. The Weather Network and the Mountain Forecast are all calling for it to just about stay cold enough for snow but the local radio stations are saying rain, my own view is that it is too close to call. If todays temps are anything to go by then our danger point will be tomorrow afternoon/evening, and if we can get past that we should be good for the rest of the cycle.

On the way to the hill this morning it was -2 and driving back tonight it was +1 driving away. During the day it was overcast with mountain fog which came quite low down by early afternoon but by the close was up around White Pass top. The temps up the hill remained just about a minus temps and it snowed off and on all day. Although the snow came down quite wet at the base it was unmistakably snow. Towards the end of the afternoon the snow started to fall much harder and gave a great skiing surface with a sort of filled in powder feel with tracks getting covered fast. The covering was helped by a strengthening wind which by the end of the day was blowing a lot of sift around particularly under the Polar Chutes.

It hadn't snowed much, if at all overnight so we had to make the best of yesterday's left overs of which there were plenty. As I arrived I got notice that both the Saddles and Snake Ridge had opened and I was faced with a terrible dilemma as to which to go for - trying to do both would just have meant too much time moving around the hill and not enough skiing. I went for Snake and was not disappointed which is not to say that the Saddles might have been equally good.

I did five loops out to Snake Ridge during the morning taking advantage of the fact that much of the area had been closed yesterday and the rest had been abandoned by skiers when Timber Chair was repaired and so was nicely filled in. The lines I chose were Curved Ball into Steep and Deep with a right hand chute exit - many untracked areas were available all the way down and even where tracked it was deep. Snake Main into KC Chutes - fast GS turns in lightly tracked deep powder followed by great easy chute skiing in deep snow. Gorby Bowl - as always mostly untracked because no one is sure of the exit which actually was ok with a left right shuffle through the waterfall. Steep and Deep left side - mostly untracked because of the steep exit over what are normally cliffs, this time just steep rolling deep snow. Snake Main and Gorby Gap - yes, I finished with the classic line which was still untracked by staying tight right on the ridge. All five exits were through Kangroo which was firm bumps but very mellow and Boomerang which was easy soft snow where you could swing GS turns all the way down. The final run to lunch was down Boom Ridge which was hardly tracked on the left side and a great way to finish the morning.

After a late lunch we went to the New Side and found plenty of deep snow being seriously improved by the new snow and the wind sift. I was told that Polar Peak had been open but by the time I got there it was closed due to a combination of poor viz and wind. It panned out as -
High Saddle/Spinal Tap - easy soft snow for edge to jumping in the chute and then soft deep snow below. Spinal Tap was tracked but the snow had run down into the creek bed and was very deep all the way down.
Cougar Glades - filling in really well and so deep I rolled through the Megasauraus Trail  without even noticing before I dropped into the left hand exit chutes which are now well covered.
Triple Trees - tracked but lots of deep lines and much fewer tracks as you went down section by section.

Last run of course was Skydive which was a little firm in the bumps at the top and then you could just pull the trigger for a full on powder rip.

So now we are all looking out of the window checking to see how the precip is coming down, white so far. By tomorrow evening we will know how things worked out so watch this space.

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