Saturday, February 11, 2017

Day 66 Another short day

Today's short day was courtesy of my strata company. For a few years now we have been having trouble with ice damming in the roof during freeze/thaw cycles leading to water leaking into the bedroom. Last year I had enough and after threatening to stop my strata payments the company did a big job on the roof, stripping back the tiles and raising the ice dam by over a meter. Today I discovered that they might as well have saved their effort as the carpet in the bedroom was wet and water was leaking in.

All this meant that the morning was spent getting a dryer in place and yet more unsatisfactory discussions with the strata manager as to what was needed to be done. While I was waiting for things to get done I took the opportunity of getting a whole load of other jobs done from buying a new lap top charger in The Source to booking the truck in for a repair to the damaged wing mirror. What with one thing and another I didn't get to the hill until 1 which hopefully will be my last short day this season.

There had been no new snow overnight but I got the impression that the crust line had moved a little down the hill and I can only assume that this was due to some sift with the fairly strong winds, particularly high up on Polar Peak. Temps at the base were a degree or two above zero but up the hill I noticed it was -4 at the White Pass load (I spent all afternoon on the New Side) and it was overcast with fairly flat light all over. On the way back from the hill things had cooled and it was -2 on the truck as I swung into my garage.

Puff skied pretty well with soft bumps and as did my warm up back through White Pass via Gun bowl and Quite Right which were all nice soft skiing things were ok skiing. Silver Lining is a run I don't usually do but I found it was full of soft bumps which is something we don't see often in Fernie. I tended to drop to the White Pass through this every time just for the sheer novelty.

Polar Peak was open and I looped it several times each time dropping to base after a couple of loops of the Peak. Papa Bear was the best run with soft bumps and some wind sift but with some hard wind pack. The lower part of Papa Bear was super soft wind sift and almost worth the adjective of awesome. Just once I tried Grand Papa Bear which had some very strange wind affected snow but could just about be skied on some streaks of wind pack but was an interesting challenge.

The completions of the loops to base were through Barracuda ( rain crust all the way down) and Concussion (rain crust but broken up by skier traffic) and always Gilmar Trail which was ok if you danced your way down on the left side.

Final loop of course was Skydive which is worth a book in it's own right. It was never going to be sensible to try one of the Big 3 as they were almost certain to be rain crust. As we went across the traverse the tracks dropped away so that by the end we stood at the top of Skydive with only a handful of tracks heading off in any direction. Visually it looked like a perfect powder day with hardly any tracks but as soon as you started skiing you discovered just why there were no tracks. We had a run of the ugliest rain crust I can ever remember with no part being soft or easy. Luckily I quite enjoy rain crust having learnt the technique for dealing with it about 30 years ago and it's stuck with me every since.

As it was Saturday we headed down town to the Kodiak Bar for a drink and then back to spend a good hour shoveling the back deck to get to the hot top hence the slightly late blog. Time for dinner and then get our reward for all that shoveling with a long soak.

Day 65 a short report

And the reason that today's report is short is because my skiing day was very short, in fact just about an hour. Keen followers may remember that last Saturday I headed back to the UK for Lynda's mum's funeral with the intention of flying back on Thursday and skiing all day today. Things went according to plan right up to the moment I landed in Calgary from London yesterday afternoon. The final hop to Cranbrook was delayed 4 times and then finally cancelled due to the poor weather. I had to overnight at the Marriott in the airport and couldn't get a flight until around midday today. The result was that I got to the hill at 3 o'clock just in time to have a couple of runs up in White Pass.

I do not intend to make any comments on what has been happening while I was away as I only ever comment from first hand experience. There has been significant snowfall (118 cms in the past 7 days) and the base is now a much healthier 256 cms. Against that back ground then by definition there has been some very good skiing but the surfaces have been badly wind affected and much of the hill closed for avi risks so it hasn't been all beer and skittles.

I noticed three big changes from when I left - a much bigger snow base, much warmer temps (it was +3 over most of the hill) and a significant rain event which has left a rain crust to well above the White Pass load. Of course I only went to the New Side and Currie Bowl was closed so I have only seen part of the hill but such things as rain crust will be the same no matter where you ski.

In indifferent viz and the odd snow flurry I hit Puff which was soft on top and rather crusty lower down before heading up White Pass. The Gun bowl was nice and soft so I tracked out to Surprise Trees which were really ugly rain crust where the snow had been washed off the trees. I just had time for a couple of White Pass loops which were soft on top turning to rain crust and then it was time to finish. I thought the Knot Chutes may have improved but not really. The traverse in was still very rocky and the Tight Knot was a tricky slabby surface and wind affected. We dropped Lower Surprise with no great expectation that it would be much good and it wasn't. It was rain crust all the way but luckily some earlier traffic had bumped up the surface so you could at least use the terrain to get air to get your skis round in the crust.

All in all a disappointing return after all the reports of awesome skiing. The hill either needs a few cms of fresh to cover the crust or a big warm up to soften it. I don't really mind which. All my jobs except one have now been done and I am ready to resume skiing. The one outstanding job is shovelling the back deck which is about 6 ft deep in snow and the hot tub not visible. That's going to be a couple of hours work so not something for the first night back. Holiday weekend crowds tomorrow so must make an early start.