Friday, February 23, 2018

Day 84 Getting a bit fed up with this

What I am actually getting fed up with is the lack of new snow, the unseasonably cold temps and the resulting steady deterioration of the skiing conditions. Now, I know that 6 days without snow would not be considered much of a snow drought in most places but this is Fernie and we do set the bar rather higher here. In any event I am starting to feel a bit beaten up going to the hill every day only to encounter tougher skiing conditions than the day before which in truth are leaving me feeling rather sore.

Of course we had no new snow over night and the warm up that was promised yesterday failed to materialise so the temp on the deck as we had our morning coffee was -23. It looked like it could have been a blue bird day but as the morning wore on it clouded over and became rather socked in at the higher elevations although the temp was rising. By early afternoon the wind had come up and we were getting a lot of blowing wind sift in very poor viz. Before the end of the day we had a full on winter storm on our hands with the snow coming down hard and the temp on the drive home -7. Unfortunately the snow seems to have tapered off at the moment but I am optimistic that we are now entering the next snow cycle.

We went to the Old Side and decided to bite the bullet and push out to Snake Ridge. This was no easy task as the cat track out there is now cut with a lot of uphill in it and the snow in these cold conditions was super dry and grippy - if you were pushing you were moving but when you stopped pushing you stopped moving. After a long slog I arrived at the top of Gorby Bowl and hit the Curved Ball shoulder into Steep and Deep and exited that on the skiers right chute. This was the best snow I have skied in days being soft deep chopped up powder but worth the effort, not so sure.

After that we did a series of Old Side loops through Cedar Ridge, Boomerang, Boom Ridge, Linda's, Bear Cave Chutes, New Lift Line and Bear Chutes. The were all rather tough chunky dry snow on a firm base with bumps and icy patches, in fact the kind of tough skiing that makes for such hard work. Every loop was returned through Kangaroo which we hit 4 times and was it's usual tough icy bumpy self. On every occasion in Kangaroo we seemed to encounter a group of people who wished that they weren't there but I thought the Roo was skiing just as well as ever.

After lunch we headed to the New Side and found that Lift Line had some nice sift blown in at the top but it was best to cut right into Big Bang half way down to avoid the icy scrapy section at the bottom. When we got to the top of White Pass the Polar Chair was turning but not loading and soon it shut down altogether so no Polar today. There seemed to be evidence of a big blast up in the Grand Papa Bear chute so maybe we will get something there tomorrow.

We did a series of loops in the wind affected and later fresh snow conditions which were all dogged by the very poor viz which really got worse as the afternoon wore on. The loops were -
Concussion - ok skiing if you picked the sift in between the wind exposed chunks. The gully on skiers left of Gilmar was a lot of fun and the viz was pretty good considering. You could hold the creek bed all the way down and it was great skiing.
Stag Leap - the bridge was a bit improved from yesterday and the conditions in the trees at the top rather scratchy. After that it was ok mixed conditions all the way down the run with some soft snow.
Decline - rather like Stag it was a mixed bag with some nice easy skiing and some hard icy bumps particularly in the mid section.
Lone Fir/Spinal Tap - the light in the chute was a little flat but it skied ok and a the fan underneath was great as always but a bit firmer than usual. We traversed across to Spinal Tap and found the snow chunky but ok and the creek bed good all the way down.

We just got back up in time for the final Skydive rip and by this time we had a full on winter storm. There were only three of us tonight but we had a good non stop drop of Skydive to finish the day. As I am sitting here have light snow on the deck and have to keep our fingers crossed that it holds up.

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