Saturday, April 8, 2017

Day 121 be careful of what you wish for

After a rather damp day yesterday I dropped in at Marks Work Warehouse on the way home and upgraded my waterproof gear with a heavy duty plastic jacket to match my green fishing pants and some rubber over gloves with plenty of room for a warm pair of fleece gloves underneath. At least part of me was hoping for a chance to try them out today but there was no way I could have anticipated the deluge that hit us and which tested (successfully) the new water proof gear.

Today was a gym day so it was another 10 km on the treadmill before heading out to the hill. They were calling no new snow overnight but when we got to the hill with a temp of +2 it was raining hard and the top was covered in cloud. The first chair up was very wet and things only started to turn to snow at about the White Pass load and even then it was very wet snow and very poor viz. Things stayed that way most of the morning before the snow/rain stopped just before lunch and the viz improved.

As has been the case so often over the past few days we had a choice of staying low and getting good viz but also staying in the rain or going high into the wet snow and suffering the poor viz - we chose the latter. We made a number of White Pass loops which comprised the Gun Bowl which was flat white light and Surprise Trees which was ok wet snow on a crunchy base. The temp at White Pass load hung in at around zero for some time before climbing to about +1 in the afternoon.

We decided to try a run to base through Concussion which skied surprisingly well but with the wet snow one skier was enough to trash a whole slope and we left things looking pretty messy. The lower part of Concussion had some avi debris and death cookies to avoid but Gilmar Trail and below skied surprisingly well and not as sticky as anticipated.

We went back into White Pass and had several more loops as the light improved and found good lines in Knot Chutes and Pillow Talk although the latter was really trashed after just one run. As a final run before lunch we headed out to Skydive and found just one set of tracks ahead of us on the traverse which disappeared into Touque Chutes leaving us Skydive untracked just before 1 o'clock. Skydive started very heavy and mushy but just got better as you went down so that by the final pitch it was a nice firm base taking an easy edge in the soft top surface.

After lunch the rain came back with a vengeance and it poured until about 3 when the sun made and attempt to come out before the rain returned and finally developed into thunder showers at the end of the day - up top the precip came down as very wet snow.

We looped White Pass again finding the best snow in the Knot Chutes before dropping Corner Pocket which was ok in the chute and very good soft snow in the fan although in the lower parts this turned to heavy wet mush and we had to bail into Dancer which was still pretty sticky. On our next loop we tried Barracuda which was a rather irregular soft skiing surface on a firm base but which actually skied about ok. The exit was on Gilmar Trail and through the Meadow which had all by then in the changing conditions become very grippy and ugly stop/start skiing.

I just had time for another White Pass loop and once again the Knot Chutes proved to be good. the lower parts of White Pass were getting very mushy and grippy and were real ACL ripping conditions. Last run was Skydive which skied just like the morning, getting better all the way down so that the final pitch was pretty well run of the day.

In summary today was wet tricky conditions but if you dressed for it (which I did) it was an ok day although rather hard on the legs.

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