Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Day 109 First day of spring

As today was the first day of spring I felt the need to start to get into Summer mode so at 6:30 I was in the gym on the treadmill pushing out a 10 km run before heading to the hill. Before anyone points out that I used to do 11 kms an hour back in December I put my hands up, I am working my way back into it slowly. Lynda decided to have the day off skiing and swim a mile at the Aquatic Centre just for a change.

Overnight they were reporting zero snow fall in the last 24 hours on the official site which is strange because I could have sworn that we were skiing in snow showers (some quite hard) yesterday afternoon. The official site of course could not be wrong so I guess I must have imagined it.

I still got to the hill for 9 and it was +1 most of the way there. The forecast was for a sun/cloud mix but for the morning it was pretty well solid cloud although we did get a few sunny patches in the afternoon. We had brief snow showers off and on all day (I will have to check the official site tomorrow to see if I imagined those) although they probably only gave a couple of cms of accumulation all told. Temps up the mountain stayed low (I would imagine zero and below from the White Pass load upwards) and with no direct sunlight nothing on the upper mountain softened. By late afternoon the valley temp was +5 with atmospheric warming so we did get some softening on the lower hill but nothing like some of the spring mush that we have seen of late.

The hill had a strange quiet "dog day" feel to it today with hardly anyone skiing in the areas where we were. The snow that we didn't get yesterday seemed to have been sifted around nicely in the wind which continued during the day - the net result was about and extra 5 cms on top of what we already had which made for some good skiing on the North facing slopes. There was still not enough snow to give enough cover on the South facing stuff which remained crunchy although not as bad as yesterday. The top of White Pass was socked in although the cloud lifted a bit later in the day and unsurprisingly neither Polar Peak nor Knot Chutes were open.

I went out to High Saddle which was ok but rather trenched and in all honesty I didn't ski it that well. Under the chute the snow seemed soft deep and untracked but there was enough reflected white light bouncing around that it was very flat light in there making the viz rather poor. The exit through Easter was good soft new snow on the North facing slope which skied very nicely all day and was my only exit route every time. Next I hit Low Saddle which was rocky in the top but after two turns was very mellow. The Perch Chutes down to Easter were very nice soft untracked snow.

Despite having put in some leg work in the gym I side stepped up to Lone Fire and found the chute just as mellow as it has been for days with easy soft skiing all the way through. The fan was soft and smooth all the way into Easter. Wanting more of a challenge I moved one chute across and dropped Easter Meadow - I always think it is a joke by Ski Patrol that they call one of the steepest tightest chutes on the hill a meadow. With all the snow we have this was soft and wide open way down past the fan and in to Easter.

Last run before lunch I was tempted into Sean's Chute for only the third time in my life. It was ok except that there was rock in the middle and one turn below a tree stump. I did move left onto what I thought was some nice untracked snow only to find my uphill ski breaking through a thin snow bridge and dangling in an 8 ft or so crevice. It took a couple of tight turns to get things back together but overall it was a lot of fun. Perch Chutes and Easter were just as good as ever.

After lunch I decided to do a rerun of the morning (minus Sean's) to see if things had changed. In High Saddle the light had improved so it was better but still trenched. Underneath you could now see the skiing surface and sure enough there was a huge area of deep untracked snow to be had. Low Saddle skied just the same as this morning. Lone Fir had a bit more traffic but was still soft and as mellow as I can remember with go anywhere skiing all the way through. I don't think Easter Meadow had been touched since I skied it in the morning so unsurprisingly it was just as good.

On my final ride up Timber I noticed a buddy in Lift Line and it looked like he had just hit Hollywood Rock. Well, I couldn't ignore that so I hit the rock myself for the 16th time this year and bought my success rate to 12/16 so far this year. I later discovered that my buddy had not hit the rock (which was actually very rocky on the take off requiring a big pre jump) so I needn't have made the effort although to be fair his son who was with him had.

Last run was Skydive which I took steadily as my legs were getting tired after all the hiking up to Lone Fir and the earlier efforts in the gym. I made it down in one but with not much left to spare in the tank. It was a nice evening with buddies in the bar and of course wings night down the pub to follow.

The forecast is for quite a lot of precip over the next few days in one form or another. I have the prayer mat out in anticipation.

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