Thursday, April 13, 2017

Day 127 I should know better

They were reporting 15 cms of snow overnight on the hill's web site and by now I really should know that at this time of year and in the temps we are having when they say that what they really mean is 15 cms of ugly mushy elephant snot. Unfortunately encouraged by a few recent experiences when the snow has come down pretty wintery I let my enthusiasm cloud my judgement and thought that we might be in for a really good day. With this in mind I ditched the early morning run in the gym and headed for the hill.

The first danger signs were obvious - it was raining and the temp in the valley was +5. Next as we were just about to go up the hill we met our buddy Kevin who was coming down having been caught in a large wet slide on Big Bang and knocked about a bit in the process - he was quitting for the day but it doesn't look like any long term damage was done.

When we got up to the top of Timber Chair we understood the problem as everything was deep, mushy, heavy and wet and very very unstable. The drop down Lift Line was a slow motion adventure. It was still snowing wet snow with the rain line just about at the White Pass load although the rain stopped late morning but came back strongly later in the afternoon with the rain line rising to about half way up White Pass. Viz was a bit strange as it was layers of cloud in White Pass so the viz came and went all morning at various levels . In  the afternoon it went back to good old fashioned upper mountain fog which started about half way up White Pass and socked in everything above that.

I didn't go to the Old Side as I thought everything over there would be even worse than the New. A buddy of mine who went over there confirmed this with the exception of Kangaroo which he said skied just about ok.

On the New Side not much was open as Currie Bowl and Anaconda Glades were closed with signs saying they would stay that way all day. So all we had was the White Pass core mostly ungroomed and all of it covered in thick heavy elephant snot to a depth of about 15 cms. All morning we looped Gun Bowl, I bowl, Surprise Trees, Pillow Talk, Highline. Heartland etc. all of which were much the same and very slow and heavy. There was a particular line just above the White Pass load where the skis just about stopped dead in the mush. Unsurprisingly we went for an early lunch.

After lunch we went back up the New Side and unbelievable as it sounds it was even mushier and slower than the morning. This may have had something to do with the temps which had risen to +5 at the White Pass load and the fact that the rain/snow mix had stopped. With nothing else to do I continued to loop as before but this time tried a few runs through Knot Chutes which were very unstable and sliding out on me all the time. By late afternoon the viz was socked in totally, it was raining again all the way up and the skiing was awful. We looked around and could only see two other people in White Pass so we quit and were off the hill by 3:30, a record for this season.

We had a good time in the bar starting to say goodbye to friends who are leaving for the season and I guess that is the start of a process that will go on for the next few days. All we can hope is that conditions improve from today.

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