Saturday, March 31, 2018

Day 120 A record month - almost

I have just got the figures in for hits on the blog for the month of March and it shows three years steady growth for my second highest recorded monthly figure of all time which isn't bad considering the number of people who have only just recently realised that the blog is back in business. Of course nothing matches March 2015 which was during the worst snow year for the last 40 years and I was swamped by enquiries as to what was going on with conditions on the hill. For some reason people didn't trust the official reports which is hardly surprising as you may recall that the cam at the Bear load was reangled so that it looked up the mountain and didn't show the conditions around the load which were awful. So thanks for the support.

By way of public service I think I need to draw to everyone's attention the planned closing of the hill. Much has been made on the Facebook page of the hill that they are now staying open all the way through to closing day on the 15th. What has not been made clear is that the New Side closes next Sunday (the 8th) and for the final week we will only be getting the Deer, Elk and Bear chairs with maybe the Boom but don't hold your breath. A full Old Side opening is planned for the final weekend. This information is available on the official site although you have to scratch around to find it (look under lift operating hours) so in the spirit of helpfulness and cooperation for which I am so well known I thought I would just make sure everyone understands what's on offer.

Yet again the promised overnight snow failed to materialise and we got 1 cm according to the official site. The cool down did happen with the temp as we pulled into Lot 2 just before 9 a chilly -9. The forecast was for it to be "partially cloudy" with snow showers this afternoon so it will come to no surprise to anyone that it was a bluebird day without a cloud in the sky all day. Despite the direct sunlight everything stayed cool and it was still zero as we drove away from the hill and several degrees cooler at the top. Even Gun Bowl which was hit by direct sunlight all day only became soft for the last two runs of the day and even then it was only just softening.

As pretty well everywhere softened yesterday I forecast the hill would be hard and icy all over today if we didn't get any fresh snow. I'm afraid I can't confirm this as so much of the New Side was closed all day (the whole of the Reverse Traverse and the High IT) that I was only able to experience a limited area. I have fairly strong feelings on condition closures and today did nothing to make me feel more well disposed towards them. I always accept avi closures as someone with far more knowledge than me makes a judgement call. With a conditions closure someone is making an assessment of my skiing ability and quite frankly no one knows this better than me. In the old days a warning sign would be posted and we would then make our own decisions but now it seems to be that if the conditions are not such that they can be skied by a low intermediate family on vacation then the area concerned is closed which is just crazy.

We had a few runs back in White Pass which confirmed that the sun affected surfaces were hard and icy and the other slopes were firm and tough but quite skiable which is what we expected. We ran out expecting to ski the Reverse Traverse but found it closed due to the conditions in Concussion. Now the dogs in the street knew that the conditions in Concussion would be as ugly as a bears ass but there was whole lot of North facing stuff out there that may have skied at least ok and we should have been allowed to find this out for ourselves. I ran down through a firm Currie Glades and hit Diamond Leg Trees which were a bit scratchy but had soft snow.

The rest of the morning we spent dropping the Gun Bowl (hard ugly and icy) Anaconda ( ok firm snow in all the chutes) and Bootleg Glades or Diamond Leg Trees both of which were ok soft snow on a scratchy base. At lunch Lynda decided to head for the gym because as she said "there are only so many ways you can ski Anaconda Glades".

In the afternoon I kept looking across from White Pass top to see if the Reverse Traverse was going to be opened but no such luck. I continued with my Anaconda/ Diamond Leg/ Bootleg loops interspersed with Fraser Tooth loops off the top of Timber all of which were way tougher and firmer than of late but ok skiing if you applied yourself. With Skydive cut off we did one last Anaconda drop (having skied chutes 1-5 and back again) and went to the Griz Bar. It is quite possible that Skydive would have proved to be ugly and icy but if that had been the case we would have just sucked it up and skied it - that's what skiing is all about.

They are calling for even colder temps tonight than last night and with these clear skies I don't doubt that for a minute. They are also calling for snow in the next 24 hour just like they (incorrectly) have for the past three days. To be fair the last set of systems were approaching from the East which make forecasting very difficult while the next one is coming from the West where prediction does seem to be a bit easier - we will see.

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