Saturday, April 1, 2017

Day 115 the worst day's skiing of the season

Yes, I can say that today was the worst day we have had this year so far by a big margin - I even left the hill early half way through the afternoon, it was that bad.

Of course it didn't seem that things were going to be that bad when we woke up this morning and read the day's weather forecast. Although there had been no new snow overnight we were promised double digit plus temps at the base and reasonably warm conditions on top with an overall assessment of "partially cloudy". It seemed that even if things had firmed up they would soon soften and we would be able to ski in ok conditions. I can only assume that forecast was the forecasters idea of an April fool's joke as what we had was nothing like what they called for and the resulting conditions sucked.

Things started going wrong on the way to the hill with valley temps of only +2 and the sky heavily overcast. Almost as soon as we arrived at the hill it started raining hard at the base and was still raining when we drove away mid afternoon. The rain line was just about at the White Pass load where it changed to wet icy snow which with some strong ridge line winds was whipped into our faces causing a lot of stinging. The temp at the White Pass load was -1 but may have got to zero later in the day. The effect on the skiing surfaces was for the groomers to be slick and icy and rock hard. Off the groomers yesterday's super soft mush had refrozen to ugly hard ice death cookies and had become solid mashed potatoes or a ploughed field - either way it was pretty near to unskiable. Just to make things really fun the cloud came down to about half way up White Pass so the viz was just about as bad as I can remember it.

So there you have it, you could have your choice. Either ski low and get soft snow (even so, a buddy of mine said the only ok thing on the Old Side was Kanagroo) but get soaked to the ski in the rain, or stay high and ski rock hard groomers or even harder ugly refrozen crud in poor viz. As I said, it was the worst day's skiing I can remember for a very long time.

We went to the New Side and just looped the White Pass core mainly on the groomers but did cut out into the Gun Bowl and the trees along side the runs all of which had been skied yesterday and were ugly. I guess if there was anywhere that hadn't been skied yesterday it might have been an ok smooth surface but as the whole of the New Side was open yesterday and chewed up in super hot conditions we couldn't find anything that was even ok.

We ran to base with the intention of going out on the Reverse Traverse in search of some smooth snow but found it closed. Probably a good idea as when we looked back up Concussion from lower down Currie Powder it was full of big ugly death cookies and there was no reason to suppose it was any better all the way across the Currie Chutes.

We went back up to White Pass and if anything the conditions were ever more ugly and viz was getting steadily worse. This time we ran to base through Currie Trees which were a bit smoother than most ungroomed areas and the trees helped with the viz. At that stage we were cold, wet and the conditions sucked and showed no signs of getting better - we quit for the day.

The funny thing about Fernie is how everyone knows your business. I only dropped by Extra Foods (or whatever it's called now) and four people stopped me to ask me why I wasn't on the hill - as I said that's Fernie. We did drop into the place on Highway 3 where they are doing chainsaw wood carving and put a deposit on bear that Lynda had been eyeing up for the front deck. At 10 bucks an inch these seem like great value to me.

So let's see what tomorrow brings, it has to be better than today.

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