Friday, March 23, 2018

Day 112 A bit slabby but very good

The snow today was bit slabby in many places and this had us puzzled. There hadn't been any great wind event last night or any other reason that we could see. In the last 24 hours we had 17 cms with 10 of them coming over night so we were expecting powder (which we got) but the slabbiness was a surprise. The puzzle was solved for me late in the day when I rode the chair with a buddy who had worked all night on the hill so of all people he should know. Apparently the snow came down very wet all night even at the top of the hill so after it had settled the surface set up slightly to give a light crust which led to the slabby feel although not enough to detract from the fact that we had new powder. Lower down of course it was worse because the snow had been that much wetter but nothing like the ugly rain crust that might have got.

On the way to the gym at 6:30 it was +1 although everything was frozen hard so I suspect it may have been colder during the night. A quick 10 clicks later I was heading to the hill and it was still +1. During the morning we had a sun/cloud mix with a few periods of sunshine before it clouded over in the afternoon in preparation for the significant snowfall which apparently is on the way tonight. Temps rose steadily and while we drove away tonight I noticed that the valley temp was up to +3. The effect on the skiing surface was that the south facing slopes softened, but not much during the morning and started to set up a bit in the afternoon. North facing slopes stayed in good condition all day but still with that slightly slabby feel in places.

We went to the New Side on the assumption that the snow would be better the higher we could get which was more or less true. The hill was a bit busier than a normal weekday but nothing to get exited about - we only had to share a chair a couple of times during the day. The first drop into Lift Line off the top shoulder slabbed out on me and set the tone for the morning.

We went into Knot Chutes and found it chunky but ok in the Fraid Knot. We heading out intending to hit Surprise Trees but found Anaconda untracked so Lynda had 0.5 and I had 1 both of which were awesome soft deep powder. Diamond Leg Trees were also untracked powder and we only got any crunch at all when we got to the hump above Gilmar Trail. After that we had to try the Big 3 and found Decline totally untracked. It was awesome soft powder which just got crusty in the final pitch although by the bottom it was pretty hard crust.

We didn't think we would be able to get first tracks in our third run of the day but we did. I hit the High IT out to Cobra Rock following two tracks. These turned out to be the Patrollers who had flipped the signs so Cobra Rock was untracked and I hit the steep tight right hand chutes which were awesome.

We decided to try the Saddles only to find that the Reverse Traverse was closed at the County Line. We followed the sign line all the way down hoping that there would be a lower opening but there wasn't. The snow on the Currie Powder side of the fence was very chunky and setting up. I learned later that they were getting worried about the slabby snow in Concussion but after a bit of cutting and with the temps cooling the area was reopened later. Last run before lunch with limited terrain available we took the High IT to Gotta Go and hopped over into Google Earth which was deep and untracked all the way down. The exit for lunch was through Diamond Leg Trees which still had untracked lines.

After lunch we resumed our plans and headed out to High Saddle along the newly opened Reverse Traverse. The Saddle was in ok shape and negotiated with about 8 edge to edge jumps in the chute and after that it was deep untracked lines in powder. Easter bowl was soft powder bumps and great fun. Next we hiked up Lone Fir which had a few tracks in but was mellow soft snow in the chute and awesome deep powder in the fan. We cut across and hit Spinal Tap which was soft and easy in the top and rather crunchy below the dead fall but the focussed traffic in the tight creek bed meant that it skied ok.

Lynda decided on an early day so I linked up with a buddy and we hiked up to Easter Meadow which only had a couple of tracks in and was excellent steep tight skiing. This time it was back to Easter for the exit which was just as good as ever. I just had time for a quick loop through Low Saddle which was still a bit technical in the top but easy skiing after that and soft and untracked in the Perch Chutes.

Last run of course was Skydive with 4 of us. In the upper section we were surprised to find it so lightly tracked that we were finding soft untracked lines even at the end of the day. Lower down it got a bit crunchy but better than it has been of late. I had to leave the bar early to check up on the new skis being delivered to Straight Line and we have fixed to have them mounted on Monday evening so watch for a new ski report on Tuesday.

So in summary we got powder and although it was slightly slabby on top and crusty below it gave a great day's skiing considering we are in the 4th week of March. They are calling for more snow tonight and more still tomorrow with temps going back to good winter conditions - I hope so.

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