Friday, April 14, 2017

Day 128 two hills for the price of one

Yes, today we skied on the New Side which was more or less full on winter and the Old Side which was mellow spring skiing. At first I thought it was just a matter of timing and the conditions changed as I moved from one side to the other but talking to buddies after skiing it seems that the conditions didn't change much and it was a case of winter skiing on the New and spring skiing on the Old all day.

There was no new snow overnight and it was +3 as we drove to the hill. Conditions were overcast at the top of the hill covering the New Side and sun/cloud on the Old Side. We went up the New Side and it started to snow (mostly graupel) and was blowing hard with temps at the White Pass load of about zero so everything was frozen rock solid.

Currie Bowl wasn't open so we did a few White Pass loops and found all the groomers slick and icy and rock hard. We did try a couple of forays away from the groomers but what we found was yesterday's chopped up crud which was hard and pretty well unskiable. We decided to cross to the Old Side and found that very shortly after we got below the White Pass load things started to soften and this promised better skiing low down.

We spent the rest of the morning on the Old Side where the snow fall stopped although we did have the odd graupel shower. Temps also rose to plus figs although I am not quite sure what and surfaces below the very top of Bear started to soften ok. We started with loops of Sunny Side and China Wall and then moved on to Dancer and the Dancer gully into Freeway and these were all soft easy smooth skiing. Next we moved on into Cedar Bowl and did a couple of loops of Cruiser and Cedar Centre which were ungroomed and although the top couple of turns were rather crusty the rest was great soft skiing untracked in places.

All exits were through Kangroo which was soft on a firm base and very easy bump skiing all the way down. We also exited through Boomerang which had hardly been tracked and by the time we got to it the snow had become a sort of deep soft sugar which skied way better than we expected - almost like real powder. For the final exit before lunch we dropped Boom Ridge which had softened to the point that it was ok bump skiing but the ski out along Cedar Trail was mushy and slow.

After a late lunch we decided to try the New Side and found that just like before it was snowing hard with a graupel storm and it was still only one degree or so above zero. Puff had not exactly softened but the new snow did at least make it skiable if a bit sketchy. I went out to Concussion as Currie Bowl was now open and found that it was untracked but some really ugly breakable crust. I moved around the chutes to fine better skiing surfaces and about half way down things did soften enough to be ok  ungroomed skiing.

Next loop White Pass Chair stopped three times, once for a long time. I figured that it might get shut down so I went to Skydive straight away. The Reverse Traverse was icy and ugly and in at least three spots covered with rock hard avi debris. When I got to the top of Skydive it was very ugly crust until about half way down the top pitch when it started to improve so that by the Megasauraus Trail it was soft snow on a firm base and excellent skiing all the way down. I came up Timber Chair and sure enough White Pass Chair was down so I ran to base expecting that would be it for the day via Puff, Deep Sea, Summer Road and the lower Lift Line all of which got better and softer as I went down.

At the Timber load I got word that White Pass was back running so I just had time to go up for one final run down Skydive. About this time a particularly heavy graupel shower came through very quickly giving us an accumulation of ice pellets. When we got to Skydive the graupel had changed things for the better. This time the skiing was soft and taking a nice edge on the new snow on top right from the start and just got better and softer all the way down - it is always great to finish with what turns out to be run of the day by a big margin.

As it was a holiday the bar was busy for a Friday and there was great atmosphere. I was pumped as I had just put my entry in for the Slope Soaker on Sunday and everyone was having a good time. Lets see what tomorrow brings.

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