Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Day 81 A nice day's skiing

Yes, today was a nice (if a bit cold) day's skiing. That is to say it wasn't awesome or any of the other much over used adjectives, just nice, and that was mostly on the Old Side for a change. All will become apparent in good time.

I thought yesterday was cold but today was way colder. It was -27 on my deck this morning as I was drinking my coffee and on the radio they were saying that it was a wind chill of -32 in the Elk Valley. There was no new snow overnight and the day looked like it might be another bluebird day. As it turned out it started to go hazy almost from the outset and this developed into full cloud cover as the day went on. The problem of course with these conditions was that the light in the areas of diffused white light shadow became very flat although ironically as the cloud cover increase the viz got better due to the reduction in the reflected white light.

Lynda decided to take the morning off and when she turned up at lunch time it had warmed up to -17 as she parked the Jeep in Lot 4. On the way home tonight it was a balmy -13 so it looks like we are on a warming trend which hopefully will bring some precip soon. All day we have a very light dust falling from the sky as the cold temps froze any moisture that was in the air. This couldn't really be described as snow as the total daily accumulation must have been about half a cm but at least it was adding to and not taking away from what was already there.

I went to the Old Side and rejected the idea of pushing out to Snake in the super grippy, dry, cold snow. From the lack of people I saw out there it seems that most agreed with me although I spoke to a buddy later in the day who confirmed that he had gone out to Steep and Deep and it was ok. I just did repeated and varied loops of Bear Cave Chutes, New Lift Line, Linda's, Boom Ridge, Boomerang, Buck Shot, Bear Chutes and of course Kangaroo. The skier traffic had beating the snow in pretty well and all the runs were firm bumps with some soft snow and occasional icy patches in between. As I said really nice skiing and particularly good as bump skiing was just what was needed to keep me warm.

Last run before lunch I headed over to the New Side where it was much colder with some wind chill. What a difference a day makes. Yesterday I had to fight my way through the crowds at the top of  Polar Peak and today there was no one in sight. The reason was the viz which was poor and I had to grope my way down a bumpy Crusty Chute. The run to base was via Stag Leap which was a bit chunky in the trees at the top but ok most of the way down.

After lunch we did a repeat of the morning on the Old Side. Boom Ridge was particularly good as the bumps were firm but taking and edge and had just enough soft snow to be (as I said) really nice skiing. Kangaroo seemed to get better as the day went on although it was it's usual icy self in some places.

With the end of the day looming we headed to New Side and had time for a White Pass loop through Surprise Trees, which were deep soft snow in the top, before heading out to Skydive for the final run. The regular team was back in town so Dan, Lynda, Rod, Kevin and me lined up for the final rip. The Reverse Traverse remained varied but a lot of good shovelling had been done on the bridge at Currie Creek and that is now back to being pretty mellow - Thanks Kevin G. Skydive proved to be ok and with a little more traffic would be up to the standards of the Old Side runs. It was just a bit scratchy in the mid section and at the top of the final roll but otherwise good.

So as I said it was a good day's skiing and although the hill is still technically busy due to the Alberta holidays it didn't seem that way where we skied. More of the same tomorrow, or so they say.

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