Thursday, April 6, 2017

Day 120 a very quiet day

Things are always rather subdued on Hot Dog Boxing Day and today was no exception. Parking lot 2 was very full of cars but closer examination revealed that most of them had been left overnight and a steady flow of taxis bringing yesterday's revellers up the hill meant the number of parked cars actually went down during the day and not up.

There was no new snow overnight and the temp as we made our leisurely start was +4. It was overcast with some slight dampness in the air and the whole impression was one of rather a dull and grey day. We were advised to stay low to take advantage of the rising warming line and we had already decided to make our start on the Old Side.

As we dropped in to Bear Cave Chutes we were surprised at how soft the snow was and progress was very slow in the deep mushy snow. It didn't take us long to work out what was happening. Where the snow had been soft and deep over the past few days the warm temps had turned the snow to elephant snot. Where it had been icy and scratchy the surface had softened so it was taking a nice edge and provided great spring skiing. So we had a complete reversal of the previous few days and we had to avoid what had been the soft untracked snow and make for the high traffic icy areas.

We spent most of the morning poking around the Old Side and found an awful lot of deep mush but found the best skiing to be Kangaroo which was great soft bumps but a few cracks in the final pitch and Boom Ridge which was so good we dropped it three times. While we were doing all this it started to rain quite hard and temps suggested to us (correctly) that this rain was going all the way to the top. We went for an early lunch which gave us a chance to put on an extra layer of plastic and rubber water proof gear.

In the afternoon we went to the New Side and found the skiing surface conditions much the same as on the Old Side - this being demonstrated by the mushy heavy conditions in Lift Line. We played around in White Pass for a while and found that the only good skiing off the groomers was either in the Gun Bowl or the I bowl. The rain intensified so that we were getting a good soaking and the cloud came down so the viz became really socked in.

Incredible though it may sound Polar Peak was open and so with the deteriorating viz we decided to give it a try before things got too bad. The skiing surface in the Polar Chutes was just about ok if a bit crunchy but in the poor light you couldn't really do anything but ski defensively. We completed our loop through Concussion where the viz was much better and the skiing just about ok.

After a few more White Pass loops we decided on an early finish and so hit Skydive. In the anticipated exact reversal of the last time we skied it the lightly tracked upper part was soft and ugly and the lower section which was previously hard and icy was really good skiing with a firm base taking a nice soft edge. It was in fact so good that we went back for one more loop making our last run at more like the usual time. Having  already hit Skydive I tried something different and dropped Low Saddle. It wasn't great, the surface in the chute just about held although some big death cookies did let go but in the fan it was ugly soft mush and I bailed at the bottom on to Dancer.

It was still raining when we left and the forecast is for more rain to come. With this in mind I dropped in at the Work Warehouse to get some more and better waterproof gear. I think the next few days could be testing.

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