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.

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