Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Day 102 Summer skiing

I thought yesterday was warm but today was way warmer. In fact it reminded me of those summer breaks I took in the 80s and 90s skiing the Hintertux Glacier in mid summer. Things started freezing cold and then got very hot very quick as everything that was not North facing and in the shade turned to mush.

No new snow of course and it was -10 on the way to the hill for yet another bluebird day. Actually as the day wore on some wispy high clouds appeared which are the forerunners of the change in the weather that should start tomorrow. Temps rose and by mid afternoon we had +8 in the valley and nearer +15 in the direct sunshine. Even this late it is still +4 on the deck and not forecast to drop below zero until just before dawn.

Just like yesterday we went to the Old Side and discovered that they had only groomed Bear half way across so we had some good hard bumps all along side the official bump course. We looped this few times and although the Wailers are not the ideal ski for the job had a great time. We spent the rest of the morning on the North facing slopes of Bear Cave Chutes, New Lift Line, Cedar Ridge and King Fir all of which were nice chalky winter snow taking a nice edge. Kangaroo as always was the return route and as yesterday it was hard ice bumps in the upper section and ugly refrozen crud in the lower pitch.

About 11 we decided to head out to Snake Ridge banking on the fact that the sun would be having a softening effect and skied Steep and Deep and Redtree. Steep and Deep was just getting on the soft side of nice but Redtree was more like winter snow although icy and rutted on the exit. I lost a basket off one of my poles (discovered when the pole plant sunk about a metre into the snow) so we went for an early lunch at the awesome Big Bang Bagels via Boomerang which had become easy soft bumps. We took advantage of the break to get the pole repaired and to drop off a couple of layers of clothing before heading out for the afternoon.

We went to the New Side and once again the trees on looker left of Lift Line stayed as excellent winter snow and good skiing and as such was my favoured starting point every time. We went up Polar Peak which as usual was only open on the Coaster side. I did a few Polar loops experimenting with different lines into the top of Crusty Chute before heading on to Low Saddle. There were a couple of rocks starting to show in the top of the saddle which I managed to clip but after a quick right then an immediate drop into Perch Chutes it was soft deep winter snow all the way. The exit through Easter and Freeway were still good North facing chalky snow with bumps.

Next I hit the Fraser Tooth which once again was some of the best snow on the hill. This time I could hold the line tight in the trees all the way down without having to loop out round the odd tree so the snow must have been good. Searching for North facing stuff next time I dropped Cobra Rock and as I was feeling on form I dropped the steep tight tree chutes to the right which I made with only the slightest of slithers in one place. The snow was deep full on winter snow and was so little used there was still some untracked snow. The Diamond Leg Trees on the right were equally good winter snow all the way down to the Gilmar Trail.

I decided that if this was spring/summer skiing I should embrace it at least once so I hit Concussion which had been in the sun. It was a bit like water skiing in places but a lot of fun pushing big wet sloughs on every turn. The Gilmar Gully was still in good shape with a soft layer on top but reasonably firm underneath. The final run was Skydive with just 3 of us today. The bumps at the top were quite soft and the run is just shaded enough for the snow to be good soft winter snow down to the middle of the final pitch where it went to refrozen crud. Overall it was a good run to finish on.

Drinks on the deck of the Griz and wings night at the Pub rounded off a good day. The forecast is for some wet snow/rain turning to snow over the next couple of days. I am worried that things are so much warmer than everyone expected that the precip when it comes will be very wet indeed - a 100% moisture content in fact. What ever it is I will be out in to tomorrow.

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