Friday, March 2, 2018

Day 91 What, only 5 cms

That was very much the feeling this morning as we read the overnight new snow figure of 5 cms which for a change seemed to be about right. In a normal year 5 cms would be considered a pretty good day but this year we have been spoilt.

It was -3 as we drove to the hill and was overcast and remained so all day. We had flurries on and off all morning but with only a light accumulation. In the afternoon the snow became heavier and as we sat in the Griz Bar tonight it was puking down. It was a snowy drive back from the hill and although it has eased of a bit now it is still coming down and more is forecast overnight. Around the middle of the day temps dropped quite quickly and at one time they were getting -11 at the Bear Top. By the time we were driving home it was -4 in the valley and -7 up the hill. I guess what I am saying is that there is no danger of any precip we get coming down as anything but white.

When we arrived at the hill it was apparent that there had been a big wind event overnight and there were some significant windrows. Most impressive was at the top of High Saddle where the blast debris had blown back up the chute so the windrow at the top was actually black - a very strange sight. The Haul Back lift was still broken down so we headed to the New Side. I know that you can do Old Side loops and avoid the Haul Back by tracking out on Cedar Trail but to be honest I haven't got time for that kind of hassle when the New Side is fully functioning with the exception of Polar Peak which remains closed.

The parking lot was busy and although we were not particularly early we had to park much further back than I expected. There were no lift lines during the day, the day lodge was not particularly busy and we didn't see many people in the areas we were skiing so what happened to all those car drivers is a mystery to me.

We dropped to White Pass via Lift Line and it is worth mentioning that all day the direct drop and the trees to skiers right all the way out to and including Big Bang were soft and lightly tracked. The Reverse Traverse was open but the Saddles were close so we tracked out to Skydive. We had Skydive untracked down to the final pitch when a couple of tracks appeared out of the trees on the left but that still left plenty of untracked. The 5 cms of new snow on top of yesterday's tracked powder made for a great skiing surface which like everywhere we went today was very mellow and easy.

Next loop we dropped Decline which only had a couple of tracks in and skied just as good as Skydive. To complete the set we hit Stag Leap which was mostly untracked and the left hand side of the final pitch has terrain that comes at you so nicely to allow you to take lots of air it is rapidly becoming one of my favourite parts of the hill.

The Saddles opened as always a huge rush of mainly boarders went to Corner Pocket and trashed it in minutes. I am not sure why Corner Pocket is so much the "go to" for so many people. Perhaps it's because it's the first one you get to or maybe because it is the shortest but for whatever reason it always gets the lion's share of the traffic. I dropped High Saddle which was only lightly tracked to begin with three times. The chute was soft snow all the way through and it was easy edge to edge jumping to get through. Under the Saddle the fans were super deep snow with many untracked lines. My exits were Easter Trees left, Easter Bowl itself and on the final loop Spinal Tap which you got to with a hard traverse. The creek bed was still soft and the duck under the tree just doable. Just beyond the tree there were some huge chunks of snow/ice that had to be avoided and I can't really imagine how they got there in the first place.

After a late lunch we tried Cougar Glades left which were good with some untracked lines then dropped the far left exit below the Megasauraus to get tight untracked lines into the disused logging trail along side Stag Leap. Next we hit Nameless Trees which were still soft enough to take at warp speed down to the creek bed. We followed the creek jumping in and out off the sides until the deadfall then went left and then right dropping back into the creek after each piece of deadfall only to find more. Eventually we worked our way our in the trees on the left but there has to be a better line to be found.

On a day like this who could resist White Rabbit - we couldn't and had great soft deep tight tree skiing down to Fallout. Once again the snow was so good that we could take the left hand side of the choke in Sib Ridge. We had time for a fill in White Pass loop and having told everyone I wouldn't take the Knot Chutes because of the poor viz I hit Tight Knot and rode the remains of the windrow spine all the way down which was great. Surprise Trees were also good with some soft deep snow particularly in the top.

Last run was of course Skydive with 7 of us there and it was soft and easy all the way through. In the Griz the trend of  Friday being the new Saturday continued although the fact that today is the start of Griz Days may have had something to do with it. It was great to be with a crowd of hard core skiers totally pumped after a great day of powder. We sat there watching the snow heave down an got more excited about tomorrow's prospects as the evening wore on. I think the crowds will turn up so it's time for an early night and an early morning.

PS on the lift today I met up with Janina Kuzma just back from the women's ski half pipe at the Olympics. It was great to meet up with an old buddy again and we are glad to have her back in Fernie.

1 comment:

  1. Lots of days u get the busy parking n daylodge but quiet lifelines, it's all lower mountain action!