Friday, September 14, 2018

Fall update

This is Lynda, Bill's wife, writing for those of you that have not heard the sad news that Bill died on Friday 13 July at home in Cornwall from a sudden heart attack. His funeral was held at Penmount Crematorium Truro on 3 August and afterwards at St Mawes sailing club, it was well attended and lots of stories were told. His ashes were scattered at sea from the Working Boat Florence on 1 September in an area we regularly race so he will always be able to tell us where to go.

I am in Fernie at the moment for 2 weeks seeing many friends and I will be back on the hill skiing this winter.

Now cracks a noble heart -
Good night sweet prince.
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
Hamlet Act 5 Scene 2

Posted by Lynda

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Season Summary 2017/18

First of all apologies for the delay in producing this report. Unusually I had to miss the last 4 days of the season as I was shipping out to Ecuador (Cranbrook-Calgary-Denver-Panama City-Guayquil-Galapagos) for 8 days sailing, hiking and snorkelling round the North and West Islands of the Galapagos. The trip was totally awesome but obviously I was off the grid as far as wifi goes and in any event 6 o'clock starts and long days with the wild life didn't really leave any time. I am now back in Quito (capital of Ecuador) for a couple of days before flying up to Coca for 7 days on a boat of a very different kind to cruise on a tributary of the Amazon and will once again be off the grid so this is my brief window of opportunity to make the report.

Usually when making the seasons report I can refer back my daily blogs to refresh my memory but this year is different. After my report on the first day of the season I received a threat by email from RCR to remove my ski pass over what I was writing - I have kept the email. I decided that it was just too high risk to continue with the blog and stopped writing it for 70 days with the intention of not restarting. I was driven to change my mind by a number of factors not the least of which was the numerous requests I received from followers by way of comments, direct emails and face to face meetings to restart as they were missing their daily dose of Fernie skiing. What finally decided me was some information I received from a hill insider who confirmed that although they were getting a lot of grief from my followers they considered it a price worth paying to be shot of the blog which provided a constant check to the hype regarding conditions which could otherwise be published. I decided in the interest of the public good I had to restart and I would just like to reassure everyone that no secret deal was struck (in fact they avoided talking to me at all) and the blog will continue with my personal uncensored views with which anyone may feel free to agree or disagree.

The pre season shaped up for something really sensational. Snow throughout late Oct and most of Nov prompted the hill to announce a bonus pre season weekend and things looked very good. Just before that weekend we had top to bottom rain for several days not only causing the weekend to be cancelled but also bringing into question the regular opening planned for the first weekend in Dec. In the event we opened on time with a very sketchy 90 cm base and a lot of vegetation and woodwork evident away from the groomers.

For the first 20 days or so things were pretty poor although some very cold conditions did help to preserve what we had. Just before Christmas the base was down to 50 cms and the alder problem on most parts of the hill was significant and then it started to snow. It snowed all over the Christmas holidays although it stayed cold and all through January and February with spring only making its first appearance at the end of the first week in March. Around day 110 of the season we passed the 1100 cm total snow fall to date figure and even allowing for the fact that they were counting some snowfall from before the hill opened, when you set that off against to 20 day snow drought early on it meant that in that period we were more or less averaging 10 cms a day. That was more or less the story as we only had a couple of 40/50 cms days and for the most part we just got snow every day in the 5/20 cm range.

We had hoped for something like this what with it being a La Nina winter but what we got exceeded our expectations and resulted in one of the best seasons in the 14 years I have skied all winter at Fernie. Of course it wasn't all a bed of roses. The snow pack was inverted and very unstable leading to significant avalanche closures and days of restricted terrain which whilst understandable was frustrating. Of more annoyance was a 12 day period when we didn't have White Pass lift due to a failed bearing at the top bull wheel. It's all very well for the hill to write glowing reports of what a great job their staff are doing repairing a lift (and they did do a very good job) but this was just the tip of the iceberg of the problems with unreliability and breakdowns in the lift system. This year was the worst I can remember for lift failures and the incidence is such that it can't just be put down to bad luck - there is obviously serious failings in the maintenance of the lift systems that need to be addressed before the start of next season.

A special mention has to be made of Polar Peak which only open to the public for 12 days this season which is the lowest number I can remember since the lift was first installed. Worst still, on the days when it was open it was only the Coaster side that we could ski using the Coaster, the Cat track or the Crusty Chute none of which was particularly good skiing. The caution was understandable for on the one day that the Polar Chutes were open we only had a couple of hours skiing before an avi was triggered in Mamma Bear (nice one Steve) which was a full cat 3 avi taking out 2 trees and burying a skier who was on the Reverse Traverse. All in all Polar Peak was a total bust this year and we have to hope for better next.

During this whole heavy snow period we only had one day of top to bottom rain and that was about the end of the first week in Feb. I remember it well as it was just before my Irish buddies arrived having been reading of what an awesome season we had been having for weeks. It is typical of the season that they arrived to a pretty ugly icy hill but within three days of arriving we were back to awesome deep powder again as the snow just kept coming and the hill repaired itself. My estimate is that we had 70/80 what I would describe as good powder days where we were laying down lines in untracked snow.

From a personal point of view the deep snow (we didn't quite get to a 4 metre base peaking at 395 cms) meant that I could hit runs that would usually be marginal or challenging and found them skiing so mellow I was actually trying to find the hardest lines I could just to make things interesting. The sort of stuff I am thinking of is White Rabbit, all the Saddles, Lone Fir, Easter Meadow, The Fraser Tooth, Seans Chute, The Crutch, Gotta Go, Cobra Rock etc in all of which we tried to find new and tougher lines. The usual stuff like the Big 3, Window Chutes, Steep and Deep, Gorby Bowl, Anaconda, Triple Trees etc were just bunny runs. I even got to skiing in some very seep places that I had never skied before. The Hollywood Rock score of 20 attempts, 16 landings and 4 stacks speaks for itself.

At the end of the first week in March we thought that maybe the groundhogs had got it right in their prediction of an early spring as we had 10 days of very warm temps (sometimes not going down to freezing over night) and super mushy spring skiing. Mid March it switched back to winter and the snow machine switched on again and stayed that way through to the end of the season. Of course the late season snow was not as light as the mid winter snow but we were getting full on days of winter skiing even in the second week of April.

So that's it folks, an officially awesome season skiing that finished up at 131 days for me. Now all that remains is to get back to the UK via the Amazon and get all the boats in the water for a summer of sailing. I should be back in Fernie in September by which time the training for the late Fall marathons should be well under way and I will make my usual Fall report on the up coming ski season at that time. In the meanwhile everyone have a great summer.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Day 131 So long and thanks for all the fish

Those fans of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will recognise tonight's quote as being what the dolphins said just before they left the earth as it was about to be destroyed. Well in my case it is what I say on my last day of skiing this season.

On the way back from the gym today it was +4 and was +3 as I turned into parking lot 2. The hill claimed 2 cms of fresh snow overnight but the they claimed a reduction in the snow base of over 100 cms at 277 cms so I guess we can could take both of those figures with a pinch of salt. In truth the base hadn't reduced and we hadn't had any new snow as far as I could see. It was +8 as we drove away from the hill so it looked like things just got warmer as the day wore on.

The weather today was the biggest mixed bag of the season. We started with some sun which became cloudy the we got snow/grauppel showers late morning. After lunch we came out to find that it was raining on the lower mountain and so we came down to change into water proof gear. Predictably as soon as we changed so did the weather and we ended the day with sun but occasional grauppel showers - it was hard to find a description for today's weather.

We went to The Old Side (that's a joke by the way) and even though it was plus temps the skiing surfaces were quite firm and just down right icy in places. After a while thing started to soften and we got to thinking about getting away from the Groomers on Bear, Arrow, China Wall and Lower Ballet and tried Sun Up which was a hard crusty experience.

Cruiser was good skiing and Lower Cedar Centre had been groomed after a fashion. It was at this stage we tried our first run down Kangaroo and found it better than expected with a softening surface on a hard base. The rest of the morning we spent looping Boom Ridge, Boomerang, Cedar Ridge and Kangaroo which all were variable crust but got better at the surfaces softened.

After an awesome final visit to Big Bang Bagels for lunch we spent the afternoon doing pretty much what we had been doing all morning. The soft snow in Boomerang and Lower Kangaroo were particularly good fun as you could just throw down slow motion GS turns in the mush and let things run. The only new experience was dropping Bear Cave Chutes which were very heavy and untracked but huge fun.

By the end of the day we found ourselves at the top of the Bear in pleasant sunshine and had a gentle swing down to base as our final run of an awesome season. A few friends joined me in the Griz for beers (today was an honorary Sunday) and we had a great final session.

And so that ended an awesome season with 4 days still to go. The full season report will follow in a few days time with some thoughts of my own on the circumstances which interrupted the blog early in the season so watch this space.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Day 130 One more day to go

Yes, tomorrow will be my last day of the season so I have declared it an honorary Sunday and will have a couple of beers to celebrate the occasion so the blog might not be quite up to snuff. A lot of people have expressed surprise that I am not skiing right through to closing day on Sunday and are almost shocked that I won't have a 100% record. I think those people don't really understand why I ski every day, they think I am trying to prove something or get kudos for skiing every day, or set some kind of record. The truth is that I do it because I enjoy it and if I have to miss a few days because I am flying out on Saturday and need a couple of days to get sorted that is no big deal to me and shouldn't be for anyone else.

On the way back from the gym this morning it was -1 which was not good news. It meant that all of yesterdays chopped up mashed potato would have frozen solid and been all but unskiable until it softened. There was no new snow overnight and when we got to the hill it was as anticipated hard and icy even on the groomers. The only new terrain that was opened was the top of Cedar Bowl so that we had Cruiser groomed and lower Cedar Centre which was not.

It was overcast but with the very odd flash of sun and although it threatened precip we stayed dry until the very last runs of the day when we did have some light drizzle. Temps rose giving slow atmospheric warming so that the hard frozen surfaces did not become skiable until much later in the day than yesterday. As we drove away from the hill tonight it was +5 so eventually everything did get soft.

We spent a lot of the morning looping around the Old Side on groomers waiting for things to soften. Those loops included Bear, Arrow, North Ridge, Cruiser and Cedar Trail. The groomers started to soften but still with a hard base so we tried Kangaroo and found it hard and icy in many places but showing some signs of softening so we tried it again and it was a bit better. I did try Boomerang Ridge and found it was still too chunky to be enjoyable skiing so we went for an early lunch via Boomerang which was ok in the high skier traffic areas but pretty tough in the refrozen mashed potato.

Lynda left at lunchtime to go swimming and I anticipated a gentle afternoon trying some of the ungroomed skiing. Unfortunately I bumped into some buddies who were in the mood to rip and so we did mainly with loops in Cedar Bowl dropping Cruiser and then the ungroomed (and mostly untracked) Lower Cedar Centre which by this time had become very soft but with a light crust. We also hit Boom Ridge which was almost isothermic and Boom Bowl which has softened to about ok. Exits were always through Kangaroo which has softened on a hard base and ironically was probably the best skiing off the groomers to be had today.

Late in the day I checked to see that we couldn't side step up into the Big 3 (we couldn't as the Easter sign Line was down) and with that option closed took a final rip from Bear Top to Base and called it a day. It was quiet in the Griz tonight but what we lacked in quantity we made up for in quality.

We had the final wings night at the Pub and said goodbye to good friends for the summer. It was raining hard in town and the final day may not be quite the champagne ending to the season that we had hoped for. As a matter of interest to all those who are muttering about closing when we have a base of 380 cms in 2011 we closed with a base of 452 cms on 15th April with a temp of -2 and 4 cms of powder over night so we have been here before.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Day 129 A short day but a sticky one

It was a late start for skiing today as we had the Jeep booked in for a service - originally the hill was scheduled to close today so that was why we had the vehicle booked in. Now of course we have the Old Side open until next Sunday so real life had to encroach on skiing for a change. What with one thing and another it was 11 o'clock before I got the Jeep back and we got to the hill.

There was only a dusting of snow overnight and by the time we got to the hill it was +5 and warming up fast. During what was left of the morning we had some extended sunny periods but in the afternoon it clouded over and even threatened to rain with a few spots. As we drove away tonight it was +8 and doesn't show any immediate signs of cooling down.

The effect on the skiing surfaces was pretty predictable, the groomers were soft and very sticky when you got low down and away from the groomers it was super deep slow slush. The skiing in the slush was tough on the legs as you had to try and balance while being pulled from side to side as well as suffering severe forward/backwards lurches as the skiing surface changed.

The available skiing was very limited. Lizard High Traverse was closed and you could only get across the bowl at Tower 6. Cedar High Traverse was closed as was the whole of the Upper Cedar Bowl with Alpine Way also closed. The highest you could get into Cedar Bowl was by dropping Cedar Ridge off the top of the Boom chair, which isn't very high at all. This meant we were more or less restricted the Old Side Triangle all day.

We tried a quick Bear lap to test conditions and found things to be as described above. We spent the morning looping Bear, Cedar Ridge, Boom Ridge and Boomerang. We also returned through Kangaroo every time which actually skied not too bad in the upper section and could be almost straight lined in the second pitch as it was so heavy.

After lunch we had no choice but to rerun the morning several times over and if anything found it was getting softer off the groomers and stickier on them. Mid afternoon I went out on the Tower 6 Trail to see if a side step up into the Big 3 might be a possibility for the final run of the day but found that the sign line on Easter Bowl was down all the way down. The ungroomed and mostly untracked snow along side the fence was very heavy but quite good fun.

That was it for the day, 4 o'clock arrived as we got to the top of the Boom Chair so we finished with a last run down a very mushy Boomerang. The Griz bar tonight was a strictly locals affair as was the hill for the most part during the day.

In truth it wasn't a very good day's skiing but at this time of year the wonder is not how good the skiing is but the fact that we are skiing at all. Tomorrow looks like a bit of a repeat but with rain so nothing to get too excited about there.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Day 128 A disappointing day

Over the past few weeks we have had a number of days where we thought it was going to be pretty crappy conditions on the hill but when we got there things actually turned out to be pretty good. Well, in the ying and yang of life today was day when we went to the hill with very high expectations of the conditions but they turned out to be rather disappointing.

Those of you who follow the blog closely will remember that our expectations were raised last night by a heavy snow storm that started in the afternoon yesterday and continued into the night. They were further raised by the snow report today of 22 cms of fresh snow but as I have said so often the numbers without qualitative information do not tell the whole story and are all but useless.

As it was the temp rose overnight so that it was +1 on the way to the hill and raining. As we arrived at the hill it was just turning to snow but it was clear that last nights snow had come down at warm temps and was not going to be powder in any conventional use of the word. The snow was so heavy and unstable that it was 10 o'clock before they allowed us to load the Timber Chair and at that time they were still not loading Bear and Boomerang although I understand that they started to do so shortly afterwards.

We went to the New Side as it was the last day of lift operation there and found Lift Line and Big Bang closed, Currie Bowl Closed and Anaconda Closed, and all stayed closed all day - this gave a very limited New Side opening for it's last day. That having been said the reason was obvious as the snow right to the top was heavy mush which was prone to slide with very heavy sloughs. During the day the temps up top got up to +5 so the snow just became heavier and more prone to slide as the day went on. Viz at the top of White Pass was very poor and remained that way all day except for the last run where things became just about ok. We had precip off and on all day which fell as rain at the base (very sticky lower runs) and wet snow on top which never really amounted to an accumulation.

In terms of runs the day was very boring, We looped White Pass all morning (well, we weren't going to run to base in the rain) alternating Gun Bowl, Surprise Trees, Pillow Talk, the Dilemma, and all points in between. After the first couple of runs which were untracked it was the same everywhere with thick heavy mashed potato snow churned up by the skier traffic making for very hard heavy skiing. In the odd places that there had been a lot of skier traffic and particularly on the traverses it was hard rubbery snow which was a challenge in it's own right. The run to lunch was through Triple Trees which were tough mushy skiing down to the final pitch where it just became too sticky and at one time I had my skis in the fall line in there and they weren't moving !

The afternoon was a complete rerun of the morning with temps getting a little warmer and the snow getting a little softer but with the light improving at the very end of the day. Last run was Triple Trees again but this time I didn't make the same mistake and ducked out of the final section. And so ended a very ugly, heavy day of skiing elephant snot in real ACL tearing conditions - not the best way to say goodbye to the New Side after such an awesome season.

Tomorrow we start the final week with just the Old Side open. Reports from buddies who skied it today suggest that it is pretty crappy but on the other hand it didn't sound any worse than the New Side today. I will be up for a late start tomorrow as the Jeep is in for a service first thing (an example of real life starting to intrude on our winter existence) and I am not sure how things will pan out. Nothing very interesting in the forecast so I don't think I will be very much deprived.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Day 127 Even more snow

I don't often include pictures in the blog but tonight I have made an exception. My buddy Kevin took this at the top of Skydive tonight and I think it shows just what the conditions are like and how the snow just continues to puke down. On a different topic there is good news. The hill have had a change of heart and it now looks like we will be getting a full Old Side opening for the final week and not just the very limited opening advised to me by the Calgary Office of RCR in their email to me of last week.

It didn't get as cold as they were forecasting overnight so it was only -2 as we arrived at the hill and a few degrees colder up the hill. It was overcast all day and at about 2 o'clock (a couple of hours later than forecast) it started snowing and has been snowing hard ever since. The temp did warm in the middle of the day and as we drove home it was -1 in the valley so what we got was once again full on winter conditions.

The ski surfaces had hardened up a bit over night so we had to poke around with mixed success to find some really good skiing although everywhere was well on the right side of ok. The snow came too late to have that much effect but the last couple of runs were greatly improved but more of that later. Light was a problem on the early runs with the top of the hill socked in but this improved during the day before socking back in at the end of the day as the snow developed.

This is the final weekend for the New Side which shuts down tomorrow for the season. With this in mind and as they had mechanical problems on Boomerang we decided to have a New Side day where we just did loops of anything that we thought would be good. The loops were -

Gun Bowl/Anaconda 1/Diamond Leg Trees - it all skied fine although the light was very flat. The top of Anaconda was scratchy but it got quite soft as you went down and Diamond Leg Trees were still soft.
Cougar Glades - on the advice of a buddy I tried Cougar Glades and found them very lightly tracked so there were some great untracked lines. They were crusty in the last few turns of the left hand exit chute.
The Brain - great untracked skiing in the trees as usual in soft snow but scratchy in the final pitch.
Decline/Window Chutes - Decline was soft bumps down to the Megasauraus  Window Chutes were in great shape and even in the choke there was more soft snow than was usual.
Gotta Go/Diamond Leg Trees - The High IT was just about in ok shape and the drop through Gotta Go was deep but not quite as soft as yesterday. In the Trees we worked hard right across a couple of chutes and skied the low trees almost all the way down to the end of Gilmar Trail, it was great untracked tree skiing.
Touque Chutes/Spinal Tap - There was good untracked deep snow as long as you stayed tight on the trees in the chute. Spinal Tap actually skied surprisingly well although it was of course very hard and icy after the dead fall.
Barracuda - I didn't intend to ski Barracuda but on Skydive Traverse I found a guy sitting with only one ski, the other one having disappeared down Barracuda. I dropped in and had a poke around and eventually found the ski which I carried out into the open, stuck it in the ground and pointed at it. Having done this good turn I expect the snow gods to reward me with some great powder lines tomorrow. Barracuda was just about ok but was very hard refrozen lumps underneath and in fact the best bit was Gilmar Gully which skied ok.
Nameless Trees - This was where I had been heading and it was obviously a good plan. There was good soft snow in the trees and the creek bed was in ok shape all the way down to the dead fall where I bailed right on to the final pitch of Stag Leap.
The Fraser Tooth - By now the new snow was starting to have effect and slough management was an issue but by moving about the chutes things stayed in control. Great soft steep tree skiing.
Skydive - Last run of course was Skydive but with only three of us there. By this time the snow was really starting to build up and it skied soft and mellow all the way down.

It was a good Saturday night in the Griz with just the right numbers to make a crowd but not too busy. The snow continued to fall and even as I am typing this at about 8:30 it's still coming down hard. Tomorrow is forecast to warm up in the afternoon so it looks like and early night and an early start for us.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Day 126 January the 96th

That was the joke going round the hill today because the weather is just like a January day although when it was told to me they said January 94th so I guess someone forgot that January and March have 31 days.

On the way back from the gym it was -8 and stayed that way on the drive to the hill but a patroller buddy of mine told me that their starting temp up the hill this morning was -15. That isn't a cold day for April, that's a cold day at any time of the year. Temps came up slowly during the day so that by the time we were driving home this evening is was +1 but we have yet another cold night forecast for tonight.

They were reporting 3 cms overnight but as seems to have happened recently it started to snow as we arrived at the hill and although it didn't last that long I would have thought that we would have got about another 2 cms out of the cycle before it stopped. Actually what we had was very deep valley snow which more or less petered out by the time you got to White Pass top. For a while the sun came out high up and it looked like we might get some sun affected snow but a cold wind kept things ok until it clouded over later morning and then we just had the gentle atmospheric warming after that.

The parking lot was almost empty when we arrived and this was reflected on the hill where there was hardly anyone to be seen. We went to the New Side and had a couple of loops of White Pass with untracked lines in the Gun Bowl and Pillow Talk and the Dilemma totally untracked. The snow had firmed up a bit in the cold temps and the new snow only partially softened it. There had clearly been a major wind event last night and windrows and slabby snow were evident everywhere.

We headed out to the Big 3 and cut first tracks to the top of Skydive. We could have had any of them untracked and chose Decline which was ok but firmer of late and scratchy in the final pitch. I decided to try High Saddle which after getting over a huge windrow in the top was bit trenched for the first couple of turns but settled down to nice edge to edge jumping in the chute. Underneath was awesome deep untracked powder and the exit through Easter was soft bumps. Lynda had hit Concussion and said it was very soft and mellow all the way down.

Next loop was Touque Chutes which true to form were untracked and awesome deep snow. We traversed into Spinal Tap but found it a bit more tracked up than we expected and rather scratchy after the dead fall. Last run before lunch we hit Gotta Go which had soft snow in the chute and was the deepest and softest snow of the day all the way down to the cat track. Diamond Leg Trees were still soft snow and great skiing. Lunch was in the ever excellent Big Bang Bagels.

As we were near the Old Side we decided to go up and give Snake Ridge a try and we were glad we did. We looped Snake twice finding at least some deep untracked snow both times particularly as we worked our way over to KC Chutes the second time round. Kangaroo was good both times if you like hard ugly icy bumps - I do. Boomerang was soft bumps and Bear Chutes was still mostly untracked even that late in the day. We made our final exit to the New Side via Buck Shot which was mostly soft bumps with the odd icy patch to keep you on your toes.

I decided to hike up to Lone Fir and found the chute just as soft and mellow as it has been for weeks and the fan underneath was of course awesome soft snow - Easter remained just as good as the morning. We just had time to take loop of the Fraser Tooth off Timber and found is great soft steep tree skiing. As usual we dropped the thin chute to the skiers right of North East Glades which was full of soft snow - must try and discover if it has a name sometime.

Last run was Skydive which we made in good time as the clock problem at White Pass was address this morning at my suggestion. There were 5 of us making the trip tonight and it skied very nicely with lots of soft snow in the mid section only getting really rattly about half way down the final pitch. The Griz Bar was quiet tonight but there was strong local presence so we had a very good time.

The forecast is for it to get cold and then warm up a bit with quite a lot of precip. What that precip comes down as depends on when exactly it arrives so we are all crossing our fingers.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Day 125 The season winds down

Today definitely had the feel of things winding down although that may just have been that it was Hot Dog Boxing Day and everyone had a massive hang over. This was a pity as the conditions remained good winter powder and with the lack of serious skier traffic over the past 24 hours there was deep untracked snow to be had if you knew where to look for it.

Our own season end plans have now been finalised and we have decided to make next Wednesday our personal final day of the season in anticipation of flying down to the Galapagos on the Saturday. The New Side closes after this Sunday and the official web site confirms that for the final week all we are getting are the Elk, Bear and Deer Chairs. Strangely the site says that the terrain that will be open will be decided on a day to day basis based on conditions and then goes on to say what terrain will be open - no, I don't get it either. It seems we will get Lizard Bowl and as much of Cedar as is possible to ski and run back to base via Cedar Trail, in other words very limited. My season will be 131 days and the fact that I will miss 4 days of very limited skiing will not cause me to lose any sleep.

There was only 2 cms of snow overnight but as I have already said the significant snow fall of the past few days was largely untracked due to the lack of skier traffic on the hill. It was overcast and -3 as we arrived at the hill which gave some pretty poor flat light to start with which improved as the morning wore on. It was -2 in the valley as we drove away tonight and Lynda (who decided to take the day off) said that it never got any warmer in town all day than zero. So overall we had yet another good winter day where the snow stayed in great shape from top to bottom.

The Cedar High Traverse was open so having heard good reports yesterday I headed out towards Snake Ridge. I actually had to cut the low traverse off the cat track which was quite a piece of work and a good cardio work out. I went all the way to the fence and dropped in the Gorby Bowl only to be carried away by a big slab on the Curved Ball shoulder and carried a good 100 ft down the hill in the slough. Steep and Deep was rather sun affected and scratchy and I definitely got the feeling that the juice hadn't been worth the squeeze.

On the way out to Steep and Deep I had skied past Snake Ridge which looked pretty good and I felt I might have broken the first rule of powder skiing - never ski past good powder looking for better.  I had got it wrong as Snake was just awesome deep powder with many untracked lines to be had. Even the lower part about which I had been warned skied soft and mellow with only a few hard chunks to deal with. I looped Snake 4 times as it was so good which made for a very late lunch. Every exit was via Kangaroo which was hard and icy in places but with some soft snow to be had - I hit it 5 times. The loops were always completed through Boomerang or Bear Chutes both of which were soft with many untracked lines and great skiing. Last run before lunch we dropped off the Goat Trail into Buck Shot which also appeared untracked and was ok with one or two icy bumps.

After lunch and with not a whole lot of time available we went to the New Side and hit Gotta Go which had been so good yesterday and was in much the same shape today. It was soft and deep in the chute and below the snow was untracked and awesome. Diamond Leg Trees were also lightly tracked with some good lines. Next loop which involved a hike into Mitchy's (soft and deep) we hiked up to Easter Meadow which was pretty well untouched and the fan underneath was super deep. We tracked across to Spinal Tap which had a few tracks but was so deep with the folded in snow in the creek bed that it was very mellow.

We decided that the Fraser Tooth would be a good bet and we were right. The only problem was slough management in what seemed to be mostly untracked steep tree skiing. For a change we exited by going to Lower Sib Ridge and then continuing into the trees for about 100 metres. This placed us in some very mellow untracked trees off to skiers left of White Rabbit, to reflect all of the above we have named this area Baby Bunny.

We were a bit tight on time but looking at the clock at the top of White Pass we figured we had time to drop Cobra Rock and push back round Trespass Trail in time to catch the last chair up for Skydive. We missed the chair by less than a minute and it emerged that the problem was that the clock at the top of White Pass (that we had seen) and the one at the bottom (by which they close the lift) differed by over 5 minutes which was very annoying. Come on guys, getting the clocks to agree on the same time (whether it's right of not) is not exactly rocket science. We ran to base through Black Cloud which was still pretty good soft snow skiing.

There was a surprisingly active crowd in the Griz tonight considering how much was drunk yesterday although we all dispersed quite early with lots of talk of getting early nights. I need to have one of those if I am going to get to the gym tomorrow and then hit the hill for what I suspect will be another good winters day of skiing.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Day 124 Happy Hot Dog Day

Actually tonight isn't as bad as I thought it would be as the conditions we so good that we got distracted with the powder skiing and didn't have time to get into the serious alcohol abuse until quite late in the day.

We had 16 cms of fresh snow over night and on the way to the hill it was -8 so that we had a full on winter powder day with the snow on top of what we have had over the past few days. At first it looked like we might be getting a warm sunny day but through the morning it clouded over and by lunch time we had full on winter conditions with reasonably heavy snow fall. The snow stayed all day and as there was no one on the hill as we were all hot dogging I imagine we will be getting some really good skiing first thing tomorrow. Temps got up to around zero but are now falling back towards another winter's day tomorrow.

We took a bit of time to get going as we had to be in our retro Hot Dog gear which took a bit of sorting. My old Killy red one piece made it's annual guest appearance and as usual I was impressed by how good one pieces are and how much better ski gear was made back in the day compared with now. Usually on Hot Dog Day I start in the Lost Boys Café drinking beer to make the political point that the hill is prepared to serve alcohol if you are prepared to pay for it but conditions today were so good it was a case of screw political points - let's ski.

The High IT was open for the first time in several days so I tracked across to Gotta Go and had an awesome deep powder runs down to the cat track before taking an untracked Diamond Leg Trees all the way down to the Gilmar Trail. Stag Leap had been the best of the Big 3 for some days so we went out and found it rather tracked up but ok although slightly sun affected which was strange as we weren't getting any sun.

I thought Cobra Rock would be good but found it was closed which didn't make any sense but rules are rules - I discovered later that someone had forgotten to flip the sign (not for the first time up there this season) and I could  have skied it. I dropped Anaconda 1 which was untracked and awesome and Diamond Leg Trees were still pretty good. Next loop we went to Decline which was deep and untracked in the top and the Window Chutes which were just awesome and only a bit scratchy in the choke.

We then had a short break as my buddy Brad forced me to go to the tailgate of his truck and drink some beer. After that we went out to Touque Chutes where the snow was super deep and face shots all the way down before cutting in to Spinal Tap which was soft and deep and only became scratchy in the last few turns after the deadfall. Last run before a very late lunch was Skydive which skied as soft deep winter powder with many untracked lines all the way down.

After lunch we had very little time so I had to go to the Old Side and dig around in certain areas to see if anyone by chance had left any beer there, as luck would have it they had so we headed up Wallaby to join in with the Hot Dog party. I didn't feel the need to hit the jump as in honour of Hot dog day I had hit Hollywood Rock earlier and landed it bringing my season total to 19 attempts, 15 landing, 4 stacks which is about the best I have ever achieved.

We watched the fun then headed back via Boomerang which I have to say was just awesome GS turns in soft bumps. The Griz bar was a ticket only affair and that worked out really well as it was the regular crowd just enjoying and 80's disco and stacks of beer and we all had a totally awesome time.

Tomorrow looks like another full on winter's day on top of what we had today so in away I am glad I only had a bit too much to drink tonight. Bring it on.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Day 123 Hot Dog Eve, another good powder day

It was cold overnight again so that as we arrived at the hill it was -8 at the base and colder up the hill. the official site said only 1 cm overnight but as we arrived at the hill it started snowing which is something that seems to have happened quite a lot lately. It snowed all morning probably giving us a good 5 cms of new snow or possibly more. The odd thing was that for some reason the snow seemed to ski much deeper than the actual snowfall, more like 25 cms. Perhaps it was some reaction with the new snow and the 17cms we had over the past 48 hours but we were skiing on what felt like deep powder all day and on the upper mountain we were not touching bottom although on the lower parts it was still rather dust on crust. Temps stayed low all day and even as we drove away this evening it was zero in the valley.

A blog follower met us in the locker room as he had emailed me to ski with Lynda and me today and he picked a pretty good day to do it - good call Shawn. First we had to go to the Old Side to undertake a traditional pre Hot Dog Day action which we did as early as we could. While we were there we skied Linda's which was soft and untracked down to the last couple of turns. We then ran to the New Side through Boomerang and Buck Shot which both seemed untracked soft bumps and again only got scratchy in the bottom.

I guess what with one thing and another it was about half way through the morning before we made our first drop of Lift Line where we found the bumps soft and newly covered although the light was very flat. Flat light was a persistent problem all morning although things did improve in the afternoon. Stag Leap had been the best of the Big 3 yesterday so we started there and were not disappointed, it was soft and mellow skiing even down to the last turns. We went back to try Decline and found it untracked although the snow was filling in so fast that maybe we were not the first ones to go there. It was much better than yesterday especially in the lower parts which were now skiing well although you did touch base from time to time.

Last run before lunch we hiked up to Lone Fir and had the run of the day in the chute which was full of soft snow and skiing very easily. The fan was just awesome soft snow and we tracked across to Spinal Tap which was also soft and deep, getting scratchy only for the last few turns.

After lunch we went back up the New Side and tried the Brain which was untracked in the top section and on the right should above the creek bed and so was great tree skiing. Next, for a change we headed out on Sib Ridge and ran down the Fraser Tooth which also appeared untracked and where the only real problem was avoiding your own slough.

We dropped the Gun Bowl which was a lot less scratchy than yesterday and ran out to Anaconda where chute 2 was untracked and deep. Diamond Leg Trees didn't show much sign of skier traffic either and was very mellow even through the dead fall. By this time the light had improved to the point where a saddle seemed appropriate so we looked in at Low Saddle and although it was a bit rocky and lumpy in the top it skied ok after that and the Perch Chutes were just sensational untracked powder. Easter Bowl was soft bumps all the way down to Freeway.

We just had time for a quick White Pass loop and so hit Surprise Trees which were surprisingly good particularly under the trees away from the direct sunlight. Even at the end of the day there appeared to be many untracked lines to be had. Last run of course was Skydive with just 3 of us. It was bumpy in the top but for most of the run it was soft deep powder so that you could just throw down GS turns in the deep snow. Half way down the final pitch it got a bit harder and icy but by that stage you could just smash through anything.

It was a good wings night with buddies at the Pub and while we sat there we watched the snow just puke down and give a good covering on our trucks by the time we left. Tomorrow could be a powder day to match today which was a very good day indeed.

Tomorrow is Hot Dog Day when we all dress in retro gear and ski around the hill pulling off stupid tricks. Part of the tradition is getting unbelievably drunk (I have declared the day an honorary Sunday so I will be drinking) so it may be that the blog will not appear until late tomorrow if at all -  apologies in advance.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Day 122 A full on powder day in April

First of all apologies for last night's report. When you only drink one day a week you tolerance of alcohol reduces fairly significantly and the result last night was me struggling to stay awake and put together some vaguely coherent remarks.

Now for a reminder, tomorrow is Hot Dog Eve, Hot Dog Day is Wednesday when we celebrate the dreadful 1984 movie Hot Dog (a mixture of skiing and soft pornography) by dressing in retro gear and getting unbelievably drunk. Tomorrow by tradition all good boys and girls go up the hill and hide gifts for Father Hot Dog to find on his rounds - the gift is usually cans of beer. If Father Hot Dog doesn't find the cans then the boys and girls drink the beer themselves on Hot Dog Day - it's a tradition. Naturally I couldn't condone people taking beer up the hill in contravention of the rules (and I would never do it myself) but if they did then they should be sure and do it early tomorrow as the security guards usually start searching you around midday.

Overnight the hill reported 16 cms of fresh snow and on the way to the hill it was -8 which is a near perfect temp for powder snow. Unfortunately the base remained very hard and icy and with the snow not having much moisture we were always going through to base although away from the south facing slopes the base was not too bad. The day started overcast with some very flat light which was challenging as the snow had come with a major wind event last night and there were some big windrows that were easy to hit with everything looking white. Later in the day the clouds cleared and we had a bluebird day but the cold arctic air mass and wind meant that nothing really softened and as we drove away from the hill tonight it was -2 even after an afternoon of direct sunshine.

We went to the New Side and found pretty well everything was closed so we had to make do with loops of the Gun Bowl and Surprise Trees. It is perhaps a bit unkind to describe 16 cms of snow as "dust on crust" but on those south facing slopes that was very much what it felt like. We kept looping and were rewarded when we found the fence dropped on Anaconda and we got untracked lines in the chutes which being north facing were much softer. Diamond Leg Trees were also untracked and it was easy to see why opening up the hill was such a problem as our sloughs causing us some real problems as we dropped.

Next time we found that the fence had dropped on Currie Bowl and the low traverse was open out to the Big 3 with a warning sign that the south facing skiing was ugly - what was I saying two days ago? We skied Decline, Stag Leap and Skydive and then went to lunch. We actually got first tracks in Decline which was great soft snow although very scratchy just at the end. Stag Leap seemed to be more consistent all the way down whilst Skydive was the best of the lot with snow in the mid section deep enough for you not to bottom out.

After lunch we went back to the New Side and found that the Reverse Traverse and the Saddles had opened. High Saddle was rather scraped out in the chute but snow underneath it was soft and deep with many untracked lines. Easter was ok soft snow and easy bumps all the way down and so became our favoured exit route for all of our afternoon skiing. Next was Low Saddle which had huge windrows and some rocky bumps in the top but after that was very mellow soft snow and the Perch Chutes were deep and untracked down the Easter.

I decided to hike up to Lone Fir to see what it was like and the drop off the cornice on Cornice Chute was much bigger than yesterday due to the wind. Lone Fir was easy soft snow and the fan underneath was awesome down the Easter. I still needed exercise so I hiked up to Easter Meadow and it didn't look like anyone had been up there since my previous Lone Fir lap. The chute was bit harder than of late but was still great skiing and the fan below was just as awesome as the Lone Fir fan.

Last run of course was Skydive (again) and just like in the morning the snow in the mid section was deep enough and heavy enough to support us and give great powder skiing. The final pitch got a bit rattily but was better than it might have been as long as you just crashed through it. The crowds had gone and there were just a few of us regulars on the deck of the Griz to talk about what a great day it had been for April skiing.

The hill have now stopped their weather forecast for the season so we are back to the Weather Network which seems to suggest that tomorrow could be cold with maybe some light snow - we will see.

Day 121 Back to winter

First of all apologises for the late report,. Sunday is my one day of the week for drinking and I cashed that in very much in spades at the Rusty Edge tonight before spending the evening with my buddies Rob and Katie and their boys all of which has led to a very late start. It also my explain the rather brief and incoherent nature of tonight's report.

No new snow overnight but there was snow promised to in the form of showers this morning, light snow this afternoon and snow tonight. In truth what we got was flurries that started on the first chair going up and continued most of the day. It was -8 as we arrived at the hill and -3 as we drove away which tended to show that over the whole day nothing much happened in terms of the usual warming.

We skied the Old Side and had great skiing in Bear Cave Chutes, Cedar Ridge an King Fir which were all firm underneath and getting better in the new snow, I had three laps of Kangaroo which was hard and icy and just about as ugly as I can remember.

We went to the New Side and found that just like yesterday the Reverse Traverse was closed due to icy conditions which was strange as I seriously doubt that it could have been any worse than the second section of Kangaroo. We skied Anaconda and Diamond Leg Trees before lunch which were good soft skiing.

After lunch, and just like yesterday we did New Side loops of Anaconda/.Diamond Leg trees alternated with the Fraser Tooth both of which were soft snow where slough management was becoming a problem as the day wore on in the new snow. That was it for the whole day.

It is -5 and still snowing now so tomorrow could be pretty good.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Day 120 A record month - almost

I have just got the figures in for hits on the blog for the month of March and it shows three years steady growth for my second highest recorded monthly figure of all time which isn't bad considering the number of people who have only just recently realised that the blog is back in business. Of course nothing matches March 2015 which was during the worst snow year for the last 40 years and I was swamped by enquiries as to what was going on with conditions on the hill. For some reason people didn't trust the official reports which is hardly surprising as you may recall that the cam at the Bear load was reangled so that it looked up the mountain and didn't show the conditions around the load which were awful. So thanks for the support.

By way of public service I think I need to draw to everyone's attention the planned closing of the hill. Much has been made on the Facebook page of the hill that they are now staying open all the way through to closing day on the 15th. What has not been made clear is that the New Side closes next Sunday (the 8th) and for the final week we will only be getting the Deer, Elk and Bear chairs with maybe the Boom but don't hold your breath. A full Old Side opening is planned for the final weekend. This information is available on the official site although you have to scratch around to find it (look under lift operating hours) so in the spirit of helpfulness and cooperation for which I am so well known I thought I would just make sure everyone understands what's on offer.

Yet again the promised overnight snow failed to materialise and we got 1 cm according to the official site. The cool down did happen with the temp as we pulled into Lot 2 just before 9 a chilly -9. The forecast was for it to be "partially cloudy" with snow showers this afternoon so it will come to no surprise to anyone that it was a bluebird day without a cloud in the sky all day. Despite the direct sunlight everything stayed cool and it was still zero as we drove away from the hill and several degrees cooler at the top. Even Gun Bowl which was hit by direct sunlight all day only became soft for the last two runs of the day and even then it was only just softening.

As pretty well everywhere softened yesterday I forecast the hill would be hard and icy all over today if we didn't get any fresh snow. I'm afraid I can't confirm this as so much of the New Side was closed all day (the whole of the Reverse Traverse and the High IT) that I was only able to experience a limited area. I have fairly strong feelings on condition closures and today did nothing to make me feel more well disposed towards them. I always accept avi closures as someone with far more knowledge than me makes a judgement call. With a conditions closure someone is making an assessment of my skiing ability and quite frankly no one knows this better than me. In the old days a warning sign would be posted and we would then make our own decisions but now it seems to be that if the conditions are not such that they can be skied by a low intermediate family on vacation then the area concerned is closed which is just crazy.

We had a few runs back in White Pass which confirmed that the sun affected surfaces were hard and icy and the other slopes were firm and tough but quite skiable which is what we expected. We ran out expecting to ski the Reverse Traverse but found it closed due to the conditions in Concussion. Now the dogs in the street knew that the conditions in Concussion would be as ugly as a bears ass but there was whole lot of North facing stuff out there that may have skied at least ok and we should have been allowed to find this out for ourselves. I ran down through a firm Currie Glades and hit Diamond Leg Trees which were a bit scratchy but had soft snow.

The rest of the morning we spent dropping the Gun Bowl (hard ugly and icy) Anaconda ( ok firm snow in all the chutes) and Bootleg Glades or Diamond Leg Trees both of which were ok soft snow on a scratchy base. At lunch Lynda decided to head for the gym because as she said "there are only so many ways you can ski Anaconda Glades".

In the afternoon I kept looking across from White Pass top to see if the Reverse Traverse was going to be opened but no such luck. I continued with my Anaconda/ Diamond Leg/ Bootleg loops interspersed with Fraser Tooth loops off the top of Timber all of which were way tougher and firmer than of late but ok skiing if you applied yourself. With Skydive cut off we did one last Anaconda drop (having skied chutes 1-5 and back again) and went to the Griz Bar. It is quite possible that Skydive would have proved to be ugly and icy but if that had been the case we would have just sucked it up and skied it - that's what skiing is all about.

They are calling for even colder temps tonight than last night and with these clear skies I don't doubt that for a minute. They are also calling for snow in the next 24 hour just like they (incorrectly) have for the past three days. To be fair the last set of systems were approaching from the East which make forecasting very difficult while the next one is coming from the West where prediction does seem to be a bit easier - we will see.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Day 119 A weather report

The weather today was so strange and varied that pretty well all of tonight's blog may be taken up describing the weather and the effect it had on the ski conditions.

Despite promises from the weather forecasters of a major snow event over night we woke to find no new snow and a temp on the deck of +3. It was overcast and on the way to the hill the temp had risen to +4 and we were getting some light rain. By the time we were riding the first lift the precip had changed to some very hard graupel showers in which the ice pellets were the size of small ball bearings and really hurt when they hit you.

Throughout the morning the showers continued on and off giving a fairly good covering of about 3 or 4 cms of graulpel which of course was good skiing surface on top of what was already there. The rain line didn't get that far up the hill although the lower mountain groomers were very sticky as the surface softened with a high moisture content. Yesterday the south facing slopes had softened but as things hadn't frozen hard over night they were still just about ok as a skiing surface. The North facing slopes had just about held as winter conditions and so were still smooth flat winter snow.

Around lunch time things cleared up and we had significant sun in the afternoon although this was intersperse with a the odd bit of cloud cover which also gave a few showers of graupel. The most significant effect was on the temperature which got up to +10 at the White Pass load, the warnest temp so far this season. With things that hot the snow started to soften everywhere, even on the North facing slopes. While this didn't cause a problem today and in fact gave us spring skiing everywhere the danger is that if we get the forecast overnight freeze (they are calling for -13) the whole hill is going to be very hard and chunky tomorrow.

Right at the end of the day the arctic air mass that had been forecast moved in with ridge line winds and some blowing snow. When Lynda drove away from the hill after lunch it was +8 and as we drove away this evening it was -3, and that change happened in about an hour at the end of the day. As you would expect everything set up in the cold weather but there was still some soft snow to be found so maybe we will be able to find some good skiing tomorrow if we look hard enough.

We went to the New Side and had a few loops in White Pass to enjoy the untracked graupel which as always skied much better than it's thin depth would suggest. Eventually we went out to Decline where we had first tracks in the new snow which was nice skiing in the top and only got a bit too soft in the last few turns. Next was Touque Chutes which was also untracked and very good skiing indeed. We exited through Spinal Tap which skied well with a couple of tracks in front of us and the icy creek bed at the bottom actually improved what otherwise would be soft mush.

We had to try Skydive which had a few tracks in but skied just like Decline including the too soft stuff at the bottom. Last run before lunch we tried Cougar Glades which was good soft snow although it got a bit sun bally in the final exit.

After lunch I tried High Saddle which skied pretty easily and the snow below was taking a nice edge. The exit through Easter was mellow soft bump skiing. Gotta Go has become a go to run for me and once again it was soft and lightly tracked through the chute. Diamond Leg Trees seemed to be untracked but as I have been skiing then every day that just can't be the case but the snow was soft and good. High Saddle had been so good that I just did a straight repeat of the run and if anything it was even more mellow than the time before.

I decided to hike up to Lone Fir and it was while I was doing this that the cooling started so that the chute was setting up as I dropped in but it skied ok as did Easter on the way out below. Last run of course was Skydive and today there were 9 of us which is a good crowd. The Reverse Traverse had set up on the way and was very scratchy making us wonder what Skydive would be like. We needn't have worried as it was bumpy in the top and ok soft skiing for the first pitch. After that it got progressively more frozen but still skiing ok if a bit scratchy all the way down to the final turn.

So what will tomorrow hold ? The drop in temp forecast seems to be right as it is -4 and falling on my deck now. Unfortunately there does not seem to be much sign of the heavy snowfall that is supposed to hit us tonight. If the snow comes it should provide a sufficient cushion on the base to give us good skiing, if it doesn't we will be faced with a very hard refrozen hill with good skiing difficult to find. Only time will tell.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Day 118 Still pretty ok

As I said last night we keep going to the hill expecting this great run of winter skiing to come to an end and everyday we find that the conditions are still ok. Well, with warm temps yesterday afternoon and a starting temp this morning of -7 with no new snow we had every reason to suppose that today the hill would be pretty ugly but once again conditions were well on the right side of ok as long as you went to the right place.

The forecasters got it dead right in that it was a bluebird start but about mid day it started to cloud over until we had 100% cloud cover by the end of the day. It was quite windy and the cold wind did have the effect of keeping the south facing areas even in the direct sunlight in a not too soft a state although they did get soft. The north facing slopes stayed in good winter conditions with smooth soft snow even in the afternoon temps which got up to +7 in the valley as we drove away.

We saw that the Cedar High Traverse was open for the first time in a few days so we headed up the Old Side to take the trip out to Snake Ridge. We actually cut first tracks out to Steep and Deep but found it a bit crusty from yesterday's sun so we turned left on the shoulder into Redtree which was much better soft wind sift down to the last few turns which were very crusty. After that we just had a few loops on the North facing parts of Cedar Ridge and King Fir which were great winter snow and were smooth and soft taking a nice edge. First lap I exited all the way down Kangaroo which was very icy but after that I bailed after the first pitch - the second pitch was that bad.

We went to the New Side and found that Lift Line to Mitchy Chutes were awesome flat winter skiing and we took them every time on the way down to White Pass Load. High Saddle looked ok so we dropped in and found soft snow all the way through the chute and good winter snow below that. Easter bowl was flat and taking a nice edge but a little firmer than yesterday. Last run before lunch we hiked up Lone Fir and found the chute full of soft snow and as easy to ski as I can remember. We exited through Easter.

After lunch at the excellent Big Bang Bagels (great food and great value) we went back to the New Side planning an afternoon very similar to yesterday's majoring on the North facing slopes. Low Saddle had a couple of rocks to hop round in the top but was easy skiing after that and Perch Chutes seemed untouched all the way down to Easter. Gotta Go was calling and now I have found a route round the choke through the trees on the right it is steep but very mellow and the snow underneath very soft, deep and lightly tracked. Diamond Leg Trees didn't seem to have been touched since we skied it yesterday and was great soft deep skiing.

Next we hiked Easter Meadow which was only lightly tracked and the chute into Easter which is normally very tight was full of soft snow. Easter itself remained in great condition. To vary things we headed out to Cobra Rock and found the High IT just getting a bit mushy. Cobra Rock skied just like Gotta Go and our run down was just the same and just as good including Diamond Leg Trees.

We just had time for a White Pass rip in under 3 minutes before getting the last chair up to ski Skydive. Today the numbers were back to 5 of us and the run skied well with bumps in the top, the rest of the run skiing very soft and even the final few turns were not as crunchy as yesterday. We had a good time in the bar with Sid the Squid and Air Bentley (there guys told you that you would get a mention) before heading home. The forecast seems to be calling for significant amounts of snow over the next few days during the holiday - I guess it just goes to show that God is a Calgarian.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Day 117 Flat smooth soft untracked powder

Actually I could just leave tonight's report at the heading as that is what we got today everywhere we went.

The start was delayed today as after the gym I had to go and see the dentist about my toothache. I have to say that they did a great job and after an x-ray and two fillings I was back at the house at 10 o'clock to pick Lynda up and head for the hill. The temp on the way to the hill was +2 and as forecast we had a sun/cloud mix all day but with the sun part winning out most of the time. We fully expected a mushy spring warm up but for whatever reason that didn't happen much and the wind seemed to keep even the south facing skiing surfaces in ok condition right through to the end of the day. This was surprising as driving home the valley temp was +7 although I imagine it was about 5 degrees cooler up top.

We decided to go to the New Side which may not have been the best plan as a buddy who arrived about the same time as us went to the Old Side and got a couple of awesome untracked Steep and Deep loops although it was only the Hut Traverse that was open so it involved a fair bit of side stepping. The official report only gave 1 cm in the last 24 hours and all of that overnight so I guess we just imagined the snow that puked down all of yesterday. In all seriousness the issue was the wind which obviously blew the new snow off the snow plot before it could be measured - Island Lake Cat Skiing were showing about 17 cms and that seems about on the mark to me. The other great effect of the wind was to wind groom pretty well all of the hill so everywhere was soft smooth jersey cream powder and filled in so well that it was as flat as a pancake.

The hill wasn't busy with mainly Non Stop groups and vacation skiers not many of whom were interested in skiing the places that interested me. The whole Big Bang area from Mitchy Chutes to Lift line was one big flat soft powder bowl and we dropped that every time on our way to the White Pass load. We started our New Side loops by dropping High Saddle which had been closed for a couple of days. The chute was about as mellow as I can remember and full of soft snow but below the chute it was soft deep snow with untracked areas all the way down to Easter which was similarly soft smooth wind grooming.

High Saddle had been so good that we did a straight repeat which is something I only rarely do. Next was Low Saddle which had a couple of technical turns in top and then was easy soft snow. Perch Chutes were untracked and Easter was just as good as before. Last run before lunch we hike Lone Fir which only had about half a dozen tracks in it so we came down in a series of GS turns which we just continued into the awesomely deep fan underneath. We tracked across to Spinal Tap which only had a couple of tracks and was soft down to the last few turns which were a bit crunchy.

After lunch the New Side loops continued and I hit Gotta Go and then Cobra Rock which were both very lightly tracked and exited each time through Diamond Leg Trees which were also very lightly tracked. The problem with today was that everything was so easy in these conditions even when you took what were usually tough lines. With this in mind I hike up to Lone Fir and went one chute on to Easter Meadow which skied the easiest I can ever remember and the fan below into Easter was just like the Lone Fir fan.

I decided to try a quick loop into White Rabbit and was not disappointed. After the Sib Ridge choke that had so much snow in it I could take the skiers left side I cut right into the trees. It was totally untracked although I did occasionally see a track off to my right. It was awesome powder down to the deadfall band where it started to get a little crusty so I moved right to shorten up the run and came out at the bottom of Fall Out - run of the day.

Last run was Skydive and I made the final chair with a minute to spare. For the first time in months I was on my own in Skydive but that didn't matter as it was just like everywhere else smooth soft powder with not too many tracks. It got a bit crunchy in the final few turns but that was price well worth paying.

We sat out on the deck at the Griz and enjoyed the evening sunshine although it was rather nippy. When we got home we enjoyed what will probably be our final hot tub of the season as the guys are shutting it down at the end of the month. It seems every day we go to the hill not expecting much and every day we have a pleasant surprise - let's hope this continues tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Day 116 If you don't go you don't know

I have said so often that you should never rely on conditions in the valley and it is always worth going to the hill just to see what it's like. Today was perfect example of this where indifferent conditions in the valley persuaded quite a number of people to stay at home and as a result they missed out on an excellent days skiing in wild winter weather.

The snow we were promised last night never materialised and the snow report showed no new snow overnight. It was +1 driving back from the gym and +2 as we drove to the hill. We had light precipitation in the form of rain/sleet in the valley and you could see that the top of the hill was well socked in. I guess you couldn't blame people for thinking that it wasn't going to be a very good days skiing.

As we drove up to the hill the precip changed to icy snow and graupel. Further up the mountain it was full on winter snow although rather icy and stayed that way all day. The precip at the base did get wet by mid afternoon but just about stayed white all day and you didn't have to go very far up the hill for it to turn to winter snow. The temp at the base hung around the +2 mark most of the day only getting warmer late in the day to about +4 in the valley. Up the hill the temps stayed just below zero but the main feature was the wind that was howling particularly at Timber Top and was blowing the new snow into smooth creamy wind groomed powder which made for the best ever skiing surface. The result of the wind and the new snow all day was that we got untracked snow everywhere we went even though we knew that several of the runs had already been skied, sometimes by us.

Because if the conditions there were very few people on the hill and the Non Stop groups and the vacation skiers were not really interesting in the places we were going so all in all it was a very quiet day. I was trying my new DPS Wailer Alchemists which are a carbon fibre structure, perhaps with a couple of gold bars thrown in if the price is anything to go by. They actually skied more or less the same as my old Wailers which is great as I loved those skis with the only difference being they seemed a little stiffer in the tails. That's me set with my one pair of skis for the next two years.

We decided to go for New Side loops on the basis that if it did turn wet down low we could always shorten up the loops later. As it was we never needed to change out plans and the day was just one New Side loop after another. Our initial drop from Timber was Lift Line which set the tone by having all the bumps filled in by windsift and the run being creamy powder all the way. A ski patrol buddy saw us at the White Pass load and advised Alpha Centauri/Concussion "even though it is not on your regular beat". It was a good call and was smooth untracked powder all the way down.

The order of service for the rest of the morning was to get to Timber Top and then get off it as quick as possible because the wind made it just a wild winter storm up there. We then headed out in Currie on the low traverse where the wind was also howling and viz was very poor in the blowing snow - each loop our tracks had been filled in from the time before. We did Decline, Stag Leap, Cougar Glades, Skydive and The Brain. There is no point in reporting these runs individually as they were all the same soft deep flat untracked powder. By the end of the morning the final couple of turns were a little heavy but still skiing well. Somewhere in there I took a hock of Hollywood Rock (bringing my success rate this season to 14/18) just to show the new skis what is expected of them.

After lunch we went back up and hit Decline/Window chutes which were just as described above and slough management was the main problem in the chute. For a change we hit out along the High IT in almost no viz and dropped Gotta Go and Cobra Rock both of which were soft smooth and deep and exited both time through Diamond Leg Trees which were just as good as the rest of the hill.

Skydive was not an option for last run as Currie Bowl had been closed. We went out a dropped an untracked Tight Knot which was full of soft snow and totally awesome. We then traversed to the top of Triple Trees and had untracked lines all the way down through all the sections, even below the Timber Chair. Not our usual finish but still a great way to end the day.

There was good crowd in the bar and we met up with buddies in the pub for wings night so it was a good evening as well. The moral of today was no matter how scabby it looks in the valley go and try the hill, it might just be awesome - in fact it was. Tomorrow will be a late start as I have been having trouble with a tooth and I am at the dentists at 9 to get it fixed which I will be able to do between the gym and going to the hill. The outlook promises some more winter weather and I say bring it on.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Day 115 Another great day of winter skiing

On the way to the gym this morning for my daily 10 km run (ok I won't mention it again) it was -2 and stayed that way as we drove to the hill after my morning coffee. I was worried because it did look like we were in for a sunny morning and at this time of year it doesn't take long for the sun to work it's destructive magic on a skiing surface. I needn't have worried as it clouded over soon after we got to the hill and stayed that way all day.

Actually we had light flurries from mid morning onwards which didn't really give any accumulation but by the end of the day what we had qualified as light snow and some minor accumulation was taking place. Temps stayed wonderfully cool all day and a patroller buddy said that the daytime high up the mountain was -3. Even the valley temp was zero as we drove away from the hill and the snow was proper winter snow from top to bottom all day. The other feature of the weather was the wind that was particularly strong on the New Side and had the effect of sifting the snow around and providing some surprisingly deep pockets of wind groomed snow in places.

We went to the Old Side to check things out as we hadn't been there for a few days. I don't know if Bear Cave Chutes had been closed yesterday but I dropped into deep untracked powder and although it was only a few turns it was very good. After that we looped Cedar Ridge from the Boom Top entrance to King Fir and back and it was all excellent tracked powder.

We got word that Snake Ridge had opened but only from the Hut Traverse so we could access that from the Boom Top without having to run back to Bear. We did  3 Snake Ridge loops which involved some serious side stepping to get out there on the traverse. It was hard work (on top of the gym this morning) but worth it as there were very deep untracked lines to be had over the whole Snake area. We had 7 exits through Kangaroo this morning and it was skiing well after we discovered that the best snow was on the hard right protected by the trees from yesterday morning's sun. We went for a fairly late lunch.

After lunch we went up the New Side and found that the traverse just below the Reverse Traverse was open and the ski down on Currie Powder was an easy groomed run. Obviously we hadn't had enough climbing so we went up to Lone Fir and found the chute to be soft deep and mellow. The fan was super deep and with Lizard closed there were no tracks coming in from that side to spoil the fun. Easter bowl was soft easy bumps.

Next I hit the Fraser Tooth and as expected it was soft and deep and some of the best and steepest tree skiing on the hill if you stayed in the fall line. Next loop I tried Gotta Go and for the first time dropped into the early tight chute which skied well. I avoided the choke by dropping into the trees to the right (The Fangs ?) and found a soft snow bye pass of the choke although it was steep and tight. Diamond Leg Trees were predictably soft and deep. I just had time for a loop through Cobra Rock which was lightly tracked and every bit as good as I expected although there had been a bit of side slipping traffic in the steep chutes to the right. Diamond Leg Trees were just as good as before.

As I was tight for time I didn't drop Hollywood Rock last run as I had done yesterday but forgot to mention it in last night's blog - current score in my favour 13/17 with 4 stacks when it was really big. Last run of course was Skydive but tonight with only Kyle and me to enjoy it. That was everyone else's loss as it skied very soft and mellow all the way down and even after a long tough day like today we could really rip it.

I only had time for a quick juice in the Griz tonight as I was due at Straight Line to get my new skis mounted. They did a great job and I now am the proud owner of a new pair of the DPS Wailer Alchemists (they don't seem much different from my old skis which is great as I just love them) and a pair of Marker Jester bindings which everyone tells me are indestructible, we will see.

Forecasters are calling for some good amounts of snow tonight and another cool day tomorrow so we can hope that winter will continue for a while yet.

Day 114 A day of two halves

The two halves we had today were the morning where we got sun and it looked like spring skiing and this afternoon where we had yet another day of full on winter conditions.

Overnight we had 23 cms of fresh snow so a very good powder day looked like it was on the cards. It was -5 as we drove to the hill confirming that the snow was good winter powder. The forecast was for a sun/cloud mix in the morning with snow showers in the afternoon. As it turned out the emphasis in the morning was very much on the sun but at lunch time it clouded over and we had heavy snow all afternoon. As we drove away from the hill tonight it was -1 which brought to an end a full on winters day.

Unsurprisingly the deep overnight powder was just awesome skiing. During the morning the sun started to have some effect on the south facing surfaces and we got worried that the fantastic overnight powder would be destroyed by lunch time. Luckily the lunch/afternoon snow not only stopped the deterioration but actually repaired the skiing surface so that by the end of the day things were pretty well back in the state that they were in the morning with maybe a few more tracks.

We went to the New Side in the knowledge that most areas were still on yellow and found that Currie Bowl was closed but all of the White Pass area was open, out to and including Surprise Trees. Polar Peak Chair was not running but that was due to yet another mechanical failure and nothing to do with current conditions. With nothing else to do we spent the morning looping the Knot Chutes all the way from Tight to Jim and then dropping Surprise Trees. These were all deep powder and great skiing.

Late morning Currie Bowl open with a good old Currie 500 start and I was in the first wave down Currie Powder to the low traverse and then Skydive. Lynda was in the first wave into Decline and when we compared notes we found that we had both had awesome untracked skiing. Next I tried Cougar Glades and had to cut very hard left into tight trees before I found untracked snow but it was worth it all the way down and I even grabbed first tracks into the old logging trail that spat me out in the base of Stag Leap.

With the sun starting to take effect we went to the north facing slopes and had Touque Chutes which as always were super deep and only lightly tracked and Spinal Tap which was much the same. Last run before a late lunch was Cobra Rock which was very deep in the right hand chutes and then Diamond Leg Trees which was tracked but deep.

We came out after lunch in a full on winter snow storm which continued to a greater or lesser extent all afternoon. We went out to Stag Leap where the snow was building on top of what was already there and had a great powder rip. After White Rabbit had been so good yesterday I went back and although there were a few more tracks the snow line on my jacket by the time I emerged was half way up my chest.

I decided to try the Brain and although there were a few tracks in there the huge number of lines to the right of the creek bed meant that I had untracked skiing most of the way down in awesome deep powder. We just had time for a quick loop of Tight Knot which was as good as the first run of the day and Surprise Trees where I skied untracked lines that I know I had already skied earlier in the day.

Last run was Skydive with just 4 of us today but it skied beautifully with soft bumps in the top and then powder all the way down. A great way to finish a great day and indeed a great winters weekend skiing. As Sunday is my drinking day we had beers in the bar with everyone pumped at such a good weekends skiing this late in the season. Looking forward to tomorrow.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Day 113 An awesome full on powder day

Yes, today was as good as any winter powder day that we have had this season which is all the more amazing as we are in the fourth week in March.

Overnight they called 10 cms of new snow which, with what had fallen the day before, brought the 48 hour total to almost 30 cms. Best of all it puked snow all day and I would imagine we had a minimum of 15 cms accumulate during the day. It was -1 as we drove to the hill and only +2 as we drove away in the evening. Up the hill it stayed well below zero all day and as a result the snow was good winter snow and overall it was a full on winters day. With the snow falling out of a cold air mass even the slightly plus temps at the base didn't have much effect and the worst we got was some ice pellets but nothing that you could even begin to describe as wet snow.

The resulting conditions were predictably awesome. The falling snow added to the already quite deep powder and as the day wore on things just got deeper and what had been tracked up earlier quickly repaired to untracked powder for the next loop. It helped that the hill was not very busy for a Saturday and we only had a brief period of lift lines of which more later. Hardly anyone was dressing for the "Retro" weekend and I take this as a good sign that everyone is waiting for Hotdog Day (the real retro event) which as usual will be the first Wednesday in April.

We went to the New Side and found Lift Line and the surrounding trees deep lightly tracked powder which just got deeper all day with some great wind grooming. Decline was untracked in the top and although a couple of tracks appeared from the trees lower down there was enough untracked snow to give Lynda and me great skiing. We had noticed Stag Leap had no tracks in the top first time round and as this remained the case next time we dropped in. It was awesome and totally untracked and for some reason the snow seemed quite a bit deeper than in Decline - a great top to bottom rip.

At the White Pass load there was suddenly a huge crowd and we had to ride singles. We worked out that this was because the pay for powder groups who had been allowed access to the Old Side ahead of us regular season pass holders had now come over to the New Side to try and take our powder. To make matter worse they had their instructors still with them so they were allowed to cut the lift lines ahead of us - have they no shame. My views on the iniquitous practice of the hill to sell first tracks to the highest bidder are well known and mostly unprintable. My message to the hill is "stop doing it" and my message to the participants is "man up and compete on a level playing field for your powder with the rest of us rather than have it spoon fed to you". Rant over.

Cougar Glades were a bit tracked up in the top but when I cut left a chute in the trees opened up completely untracked and I held a very tight tree line all the way down with first tracks that just kept coming at me. As trees had worked out so well I tried The Brain and was not disappointed. Once again there were a few tracks in the top section but on the right shoulder of the creek lower down there are so many line available that it was deep untracked snow through to the cat track. Last run before lunch and I decided to continue the tree theme and hit Nameless Trees which were mostly untracked and I even managed to beat a group into the clearing above the creek bed which was untracked. It got a bit firm lower down so I bailed onto the lower pitch of Stag Leap and went to lunch.

After lunch it was still puking snow so we tried Touque Chutes which were tracked but were very deep as was out chosen exit through Spinal Tap. Just for change I went out across the High IT in very poor viz and dropped Cobra Rock. It had been snowing so hard I couldn't tell if I was getting first tracks, I suspect not but it was so soft and deep who cares. Diamond Leg Trees also didn't seem to be tracked and were just awesome all the way down.

Next came the run of the day by a big margin - White Rabbit. This had been my go to run a few weeks ago during the big winter snows and I had sort of resigned myself to the fact that it was now a bust for this season. Today's snow changed everything and when I dropped in there was just one track on the right hand chutes which I saw but never had to cross - most of the way I was pushing a wave of chest high snow in front of me. At the dead fall I cut left across the creek bed and never saw another track after that. As I got lower it did get rather firmer and a little crusty but there was enough new snow to make it some very ok skiing. I emerged somewhere near the cat track at the bottom of Fall Out.

We got word that Currie Bowl had closed at the top which was not surprising given the snow that had fallen - we had been expecting it and ski patrol did good job to keep it open for as long as they did. We went out skied Anaconda 2 which looked untracked and was awesome seep powder before dropping Diamond Leg Trees which were also filling in fast. We just had time for a Surprise Trees loop and found that much of Surprise had filled in and was deep untracked snow.

With Skydive inaccessible we had decided to finish with another run through Cobra Rock but when we got there we found that too had been closed. In the event it worked out well as the only interesting run off the hill available was Triple Trees and this was great skiing with just a few filled in tracks between the trees.

There was a line up to get in the bar and as I don't ever line up in order to spend my money we headed home for an early night. It did occur to me that as the hill has no problem giving priority for powder, or in lift lines, or for parking it should be possible to organise priority access to the bar for regular customers but they don't. I guess this isn't a priority for members of management, after all when was the last time you ever saw one of them standing in line to get in the bar, perhaps they have a priority access.

We are due some more snow over night and even if we don't get it (it is actually snowing on my deck as I am typing this) then what we have will give us a pretty good day tomorrow. Another powder day coming up.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Day 112 A bit slabby but very good

The snow today was bit slabby in many places and this had us puzzled. There hadn't been any great wind event last night or any other reason that we could see. In the last 24 hours we had 17 cms with 10 of them coming over night so we were expecting powder (which we got) but the slabbiness was a surprise. The puzzle was solved for me late in the day when I rode the chair with a buddy who had worked all night on the hill so of all people he should know. Apparently the snow came down very wet all night even at the top of the hill so after it had settled the surface set up slightly to give a light crust which led to the slabby feel although not enough to detract from the fact that we had new powder. Lower down of course it was worse because the snow had been that much wetter but nothing like the ugly rain crust that might have got.

On the way to the gym at 6:30 it was +1 although everything was frozen hard so I suspect it may have been colder during the night. A quick 10 clicks later I was heading to the hill and it was still +1. During the morning we had a sun/cloud mix with a few periods of sunshine before it clouded over in the afternoon in preparation for the significant snowfall which apparently is on the way tonight. Temps rose steadily and while we drove away tonight I noticed that the valley temp was up to +3. The effect on the skiing surface was that the south facing slopes softened, but not much during the morning and started to set up a bit in the afternoon. North facing slopes stayed in good condition all day but still with that slightly slabby feel in places.

We went to the New Side on the assumption that the snow would be better the higher we could get which was more or less true. The hill was a bit busier than a normal weekday but nothing to get exited about - we only had to share a chair a couple of times during the day. The first drop into Lift Line off the top shoulder slabbed out on me and set the tone for the morning.

We went into Knot Chutes and found it chunky but ok in the Fraid Knot. We heading out intending to hit Surprise Trees but found Anaconda untracked so Lynda had 0.5 and I had 1 both of which were awesome soft deep powder. Diamond Leg Trees were also untracked powder and we only got any crunch at all when we got to the hump above Gilmar Trail. After that we had to try the Big 3 and found Decline totally untracked. It was awesome soft powder which just got crusty in the final pitch although by the bottom it was pretty hard crust.

We didn't think we would be able to get first tracks in our third run of the day but we did. I hit the High IT out to Cobra Rock following two tracks. These turned out to be the Patrollers who had flipped the signs so Cobra Rock was untracked and I hit the steep tight right hand chutes which were awesome.

We decided to try the Saddles only to find that the Reverse Traverse was closed at the County Line. We followed the sign line all the way down hoping that there would be a lower opening but there wasn't. The snow on the Currie Powder side of the fence was very chunky and setting up. I learned later that they were getting worried about the slabby snow in Concussion but after a bit of cutting and with the temps cooling the area was reopened later. Last run before lunch with limited terrain available we took the High IT to Gotta Go and hopped over into Google Earth which was deep and untracked all the way down. The exit for lunch was through Diamond Leg Trees which still had untracked lines.

After lunch we resumed our plans and headed out to High Saddle along the newly opened Reverse Traverse. The Saddle was in ok shape and negotiated with about 8 edge to edge jumps in the chute and after that it was deep untracked lines in powder. Easter bowl was soft powder bumps and great fun. Next we hiked up Lone Fir which had a few tracks in but was mellow soft snow in the chute and awesome deep powder in the fan. We cut across and hit Spinal Tap which was soft and easy in the top and rather crunchy below the dead fall but the focussed traffic in the tight creek bed meant that it skied ok.

Lynda decided on an early day so I linked up with a buddy and we hiked up to Easter Meadow which only had a couple of tracks in and was excellent steep tight skiing. This time it was back to Easter for the exit which was just as good as ever. I just had time for a quick loop through Low Saddle which was still a bit technical in the top but easy skiing after that and soft and untracked in the Perch Chutes.

Last run of course was Skydive with 4 of us. In the upper section we were surprised to find it so lightly tracked that we were finding soft untracked lines even at the end of the day. Lower down it got a bit crunchy but better than it has been of late. I had to leave the bar early to check up on the new skis being delivered to Straight Line and we have fixed to have them mounted on Monday evening so watch for a new ski report on Tuesday.

So in summary we got powder and although it was slightly slabby on top and crusty below it gave a great day's skiing considering we are in the 4th week of March. They are calling for more snow tonight and more still tomorrow with temps going back to good winter conditions - I hope so.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Day 111 A surprisingly good day

Although they had called for snow overnight none materialised and we were faced with another no new snow day - or so we thought. The temp on the way to the hill was +1 and conditions were very overcast. As we arrived at the hill it was starting to rain and after we had kitted up and headed off to the Old Side it had actually turned into very wet snow at the base.

We anticipated that the precip would turn to rain at the base as the day warmed up so we decided to hit the Old Side early and move on to the New Side later. Almost as soon as we got up the Old Side the snow got much heavier and after a while it was a full on winter storm. We toured around all the usual places and found that the snow was accumulating up top but starting to get very wet indeed low down. Following our plan we headed over to the New Side at mid morning and found that it really was winter conditions up in White Pass.

Once again the trees to the lookers left of Lift Line deserve a special mention. They were full of soft deep snow all day and the only problem was one of slough management in the chutes between the trees which was quite an issue all day.

The temp up in White Pass was around zero and stayed that way all day although the wet winter conditions made it feel a lot colder. At the base temps rose slowly but only to +3 so even at it's worst the rain line only got to about the top of the Deer Chair. The top of White Pass was socked in as badly as I can ever remember and the viz was so bad that you could only see about one chair in front of you as you went up. The snow accumulated fast and before long we were skiing on at least 5 cms of good fresh snow.

We decided to go out and try one of the Big 3 but the Reverse Traverse was very socked in. First time round I nearly fell over for no other reason than I could see no visual reference points of any kind under the Polar Chutes and couldn't determine what was up and down or even if I was moving. We arrived at the top of The Big 3 and found it totally untracked and so dropped Decline which was just awesome in the top. Lower down things got a little heavier but it was still good winter skiing that early in the day.

Next time up the snow had stopped and the viz improved but we stuck with our original plan. This time when we arrived at the top of Skydive there were a couple of new tracks in Touque Chutes but Skydive was untracked. It was great soft skiing down to the final pitch where everything softened and it showed signs of snowballing lower down. We just had time for a drop down Stag Leap which was also untracked before lunch. Stag Leap skied pretty well like the other two runs but was slightly harder on the base in the mid section and the snowballing started slightly higher up. Overall the Big 3 all skied as soft deep heavy powder most of the way down which was much better than we had expected when we headed for the hill.

The afternoon was, to some extent a re run of the morning in that the snow started again and the viz socked back in at the top. The rain line moved further up the hill meaning that at first the very bottom of the hill was very sticky indeed but by the end of the day the sticky line had moved up and the very bottom became ok mush as it became more soaked. Once again just before the end of the day the precip tapered off and the viz improved a bit.

We stuck with the programme and dropped Touque Chutes which had filled in and were deep snow before cutting in to Spinal Tap which skied very nicely and only got a bit scrapy in the final couple of turns. I ran into some buddies and we tried Decline where we got first tracks which was not bad considering that we had already had them in the morning. Stag Leap skied just like the morning as well, or maybe even better with even more snow and no new tracks.

Just for variety I dropped a very white Gun Bowl and headed out to Anaconda which was great and the only problem was more slough management. The Helter Skelter on the near side of the Bootleg Glades was untracked and great skiing. Final run with everything socked in tonight was back to Skydive. There were 7 of us on Skydive tonight and we all had a great rip although the last few turns did get rather slow and mushy.

So on a day that didn't promise much we got some great skiing thanks to a fair bit of new snow falling during the day and hardly anyone being around to ski it. Temps are forecast to fall over night and with precip in the offing we could be in for a good powder day tomorrow.