Saturday, March 24, 2018

Day 113 An awesome full on powder day

Yes, today was as good as any winter powder day that we have had this season which is all the more amazing as we are in the fourth week in March.

Overnight they called 10 cms of new snow which, with what had fallen the day before, brought the 48 hour total to almost 30 cms. Best of all it puked snow all day and I would imagine we had a minimum of 15 cms accumulate during the day. It was -1 as we drove to the hill and only +2 as we drove away in the evening. Up the hill it stayed well below zero all day and as a result the snow was good winter snow and overall it was a full on winters day. With the snow falling out of a cold air mass even the slightly plus temps at the base didn't have much effect and the worst we got was some ice pellets but nothing that you could even begin to describe as wet snow.

The resulting conditions were predictably awesome. The falling snow added to the already quite deep powder and as the day wore on things just got deeper and what had been tracked up earlier quickly repaired to untracked powder for the next loop. It helped that the hill was not very busy for a Saturday and we only had a brief period of lift lines of which more later. Hardly anyone was dressing for the "Retro" weekend and I take this as a good sign that everyone is waiting for Hotdog Day (the real retro event) which as usual will be the first Wednesday in April.

We went to the New Side and found Lift Line and the surrounding trees deep lightly tracked powder which just got deeper all day with some great wind grooming. Decline was untracked in the top and although a couple of tracks appeared from the trees lower down there was enough untracked snow to give Lynda and me great skiing. We had noticed Stag Leap had no tracks in the top first time round and as this remained the case next time we dropped in. It was awesome and totally untracked and for some reason the snow seemed quite a bit deeper than in Decline - a great top to bottom rip.

At the White Pass load there was suddenly a huge crowd and we had to ride singles. We worked out that this was because the pay for powder groups who had been allowed access to the Old Side ahead of us regular season pass holders had now come over to the New Side to try and take our powder. To make matter worse they had their instructors still with them so they were allowed to cut the lift lines ahead of us - have they no shame. My views on the iniquitous practice of the hill to sell first tracks to the highest bidder are well known and mostly unprintable. My message to the hill is "stop doing it" and my message to the participants is "man up and compete on a level playing field for your powder with the rest of us rather than have it spoon fed to you". Rant over.

Cougar Glades were a bit tracked up in the top but when I cut left a chute in the trees opened up completely untracked and I held a very tight tree line all the way down with first tracks that just kept coming at me. As trees had worked out so well I tried The Brain and was not disappointed. Once again there were a few tracks in the top section but on the right shoulder of the creek lower down there are so many line available that it was deep untracked snow through to the cat track. Last run before lunch and I decided to continue the tree theme and hit Nameless Trees which were mostly untracked and I even managed to beat a group into the clearing above the creek bed which was untracked. It got a bit firm lower down so I bailed onto the lower pitch of Stag Leap and went to lunch.

After lunch it was still puking snow so we tried Touque Chutes which were tracked but were very deep as was out chosen exit through Spinal Tap. Just for change I went out across the High IT in very poor viz and dropped Cobra Rock. It had been snowing so hard I couldn't tell if I was getting first tracks, I suspect not but it was so soft and deep who cares. Diamond Leg Trees also didn't seem to be tracked and were just awesome all the way down.

Next came the run of the day by a big margin - White Rabbit. This had been my go to run a few weeks ago during the big winter snows and I had sort of resigned myself to the fact that it was now a bust for this season. Today's snow changed everything and when I dropped in there was just one track on the right hand chutes which I saw but never had to cross - most of the way I was pushing a wave of chest high snow in front of me. At the dead fall I cut left across the creek bed and never saw another track after that. As I got lower it did get rather firmer and a little crusty but there was enough new snow to make it some very ok skiing. I emerged somewhere near the cat track at the bottom of Fall Out.

We got word that Currie Bowl had closed at the top which was not surprising given the snow that had fallen - we had been expecting it and ski patrol did good job to keep it open for as long as they did. We went out skied Anaconda 2 which looked untracked and was awesome seep powder before dropping Diamond Leg Trees which were also filling in fast. We just had time for a Surprise Trees loop and found that much of Surprise had filled in and was deep untracked snow.

With Skydive inaccessible we had decided to finish with another run through Cobra Rock but when we got there we found that too had been closed. In the event it worked out well as the only interesting run off the hill available was Triple Trees and this was great skiing with just a few filled in tracks between the trees.

There was a line up to get in the bar and as I don't ever line up in order to spend my money we headed home for an early night. It did occur to me that as the hill has no problem giving priority for powder, or in lift lines, or for parking it should be possible to organise priority access to the bar for regular customers but they don't. I guess this isn't a priority for members of management, after all when was the last time you ever saw one of them standing in line to get in the bar, perhaps they have a priority access.

We are due some more snow over night and even if we don't get it (it is actually snowing on my deck as I am typing this) then what we have will give us a pretty good day tomorrow. Another powder day coming up.


  1. Hey Bill and friends. I feel the same regarding the "First Tracks" posse and other direct-to-lift groups.
    If those customers are willing to pay extra to get a few lines between 0800hrs and 0900hrs, fine.
    But... Once the bell rings at 0900hrs, all customers should be on an equal playing field. "First Tracks", "Ski School", "FAST" Racers, "Non-Stop" etc that go to the front of the lift line, are symbolically pissing on the rest of us, with management's blessing.
    A few weeks back, I saw a group of 4 skiers who were supposedly taking a lesson. Watching them ski, they were obviously Adv-Exp skiers, with top notch equipment, and skills better than their instructor. Several times, their instructor/guide led them to the front of line at Boom Load. The rest of us minions were waiting 30-45 minutes to load.
    Seems they may have signed up for "lessons", just to get direct-to-lift privs????
    Any "Regulars" feel dissed when that happens?

  2. Johnny, Couldn't agree more. Mountain culture on first tracks is that they go to those who are prepared to work harder, have better Knowledge of just get lucky in the right place at the right time. Going to those with the biggest bank balance has no place in real mountain culture.