Friday, March 30, 2018

Day 119 A weather report

The weather today was so strange and varied that pretty well all of tonight's blog may be taken up describing the weather and the effect it had on the ski conditions.

Despite promises from the weather forecasters of a major snow event over night we woke to find no new snow and a temp on the deck of +3. It was overcast and on the way to the hill the temp had risen to +4 and we were getting some light rain. By the time we were riding the first lift the precip had changed to some very hard graupel showers in which the ice pellets were the size of small ball bearings and really hurt when they hit you.

Throughout the morning the showers continued on and off giving a fairly good covering of about 3 or 4 cms of graulpel which of course was good skiing surface on top of what was already there. The rain line didn't get that far up the hill although the lower mountain groomers were very sticky as the surface softened with a high moisture content. Yesterday the south facing slopes had softened but as things hadn't frozen hard over night they were still just about ok as a skiing surface. The North facing slopes had just about held as winter conditions and so were still smooth flat winter snow.

Around lunch time things cleared up and we had significant sun in the afternoon although this was intersperse with a the odd bit of cloud cover which also gave a few showers of graupel. The most significant effect was on the temperature which got up to +10 at the White Pass load, the warnest temp so far this season. With things that hot the snow started to soften everywhere, even on the North facing slopes. While this didn't cause a problem today and in fact gave us spring skiing everywhere the danger is that if we get the forecast overnight freeze (they are calling for -13) the whole hill is going to be very hard and chunky tomorrow.

Right at the end of the day the arctic air mass that had been forecast moved in with ridge line winds and some blowing snow. When Lynda drove away from the hill after lunch it was +8 and as we drove away this evening it was -3, and that change happened in about an hour at the end of the day. As you would expect everything set up in the cold weather but there was still some soft snow to be found so maybe we will be able to find some good skiing tomorrow if we look hard enough.

We went to the New Side and had a few loops in White Pass to enjoy the untracked graupel which as always skied much better than it's thin depth would suggest. Eventually we went out to Decline where we had first tracks in the new snow which was nice skiing in the top and only got a bit too soft in the last few turns. Next was Touque Chutes which was also untracked and very good skiing indeed. We exited through Spinal Tap which skied well with a couple of tracks in front of us and the icy creek bed at the bottom actually improved what otherwise would be soft mush.

We had to try Skydive which had a few tracks in but skied just like Decline including the too soft stuff at the bottom. Last run before lunch we tried Cougar Glades which was good soft snow although it got a bit sun bally in the final exit.

After lunch I tried High Saddle which skied pretty easily and the snow below was taking a nice edge. The exit through Easter was mellow soft bump skiing. Gotta Go has become a go to run for me and once again it was soft and lightly tracked through the chute. Diamond Leg Trees seemed to be untracked but as I have been skiing then every day that just can't be the case but the snow was soft and good. High Saddle had been so good that I just did a straight repeat of the run and if anything it was even more mellow than the time before.

I decided to hike up to Lone Fir and it was while I was doing this that the cooling started so that the chute was setting up as I dropped in but it skied ok as did Easter on the way out below. Last run of course was Skydive and today there were 9 of us which is a good crowd. The Reverse Traverse had set up on the way and was very scratchy making us wonder what Skydive would be like. We needn't have worried as it was bumpy in the top and ok soft skiing for the first pitch. After that it got progressively more frozen but still skiing ok if a bit scratchy all the way down to the final turn.

So what will tomorrow hold ? The drop in temp forecast seems to be right as it is -4 and falling on my deck now. Unfortunately there does not seem to be much sign of the heavy snowfall that is supposed to hit us tonight. If the snow comes it should provide a sufficient cushion on the base to give us good skiing, if it doesn't we will be faced with a very hard refrozen hill with good skiing difficult to find. Only time will tell.