Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Day 98 a wet soggy mess

Great not to have to be apologising for a late post tonight as I have got home from the hill early with nothing to do. Keen readers will remember that last night it was pouring with rain. Well, the rain continued all night in the valley and up the hill as well. It continued all day all the way up the hill and is still raining now. Once or twice during the day the precip got a little white at the very top of the hill but for the most part it was good old fashioned rain.

On the way to the hill it was +2 and raining and on the way back it was +3 and still raining. During the day, which I spent in White Pass, I checked the temp at the load and it was a solid +3 every time I looked which explains why we had rain all the way to the top of the hill all day.

Most of the hill was closed and stayed that way all day. This was partly because of the off the scale avalanche danger and partly because ski patrol wanted to preserve areas against the time it is going to freeze (soon we hope) to keep it smooth so very little new snow will make it quite skiable. On the Old Side only the Old Side Triangle was open so I headed to the New Side. Things weren't much better there with Currie Bowl, Polar Peak, Big Bang, Siberia Ridge and Knot Chutes all closed. Initially all we had was the Gun Bowl and Quite Right and beyond open. They then opened the Zig Zag and had a sign line giving a low start to the Idiot Traverse.

At the top of White Pass there was a sign saying that nothing else was open today so that was it. We checked with the Patrol to make sure they were happy with us taking a slightly low Idiot Traverse out to Surprise and they confirmed they were. Later a sign appeared near the start saying that the conditions beyond the sign were "terrible" and that skiers were advised to return to the groomer. This worked great as it kept most people away from the Surprise area and gave us untracked runs in there all day.

The day was simple, we dropped the left shoulder of the Gun Bowl near the fence line each time which was wet mushy snow and got more so as the day went on. I cut the traverse out to Surprise Trees and looped that area from the far chutes to Fiery Hornet and back over and over. The skiing surface was flattened mush with a reasonable under base which meant that it was slow motion stuff but just like wet powder. We dropped to lunch through Triple Trees which skied just like Surprise all the way down and was great fun,

After lunch I went back up and did exactly the same loops as this morning with the snow getting a bit heavier but still skiing soft deep untracked mush all over Surprise Trees. Last run was Triple Trees again which skied just like in the morning but by then in the final pitch some of the deadfall was starting get uncovered and I had a moment of high excitement stacking it while trying to avoid some of the lumber - no harm done except to pride.

The Griz Bar was surprisingly busy considering I only saw about 20 people on the hill all day. As usual during the day I was asked how I could ski all day in these conditions and my answer as always was with my rubber fishing pants, Canadian Tire plastic jacket and heavy duty rubber gloves I stayed warm and dry all day - there is no such thing as bad conditions, only inappropriate clothing.

It's been three days of rain now without a break, it has to stop sometime - please.

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