Monday, March 5, 2018

Day 94 Happy St Piran's Day

What? I hear you all say. St Piran is the patron saint of Cornwall where I live in the UK. Cornwall doesn't really regard itself as fully part of England with it's own language and "national" flag shown above - the cross of St Piran. All my buddies over there will be celebrating today by drinking gallons of cider and eating loads of pasties, in fact carrying on like most other days of the year. But back to business.

We had another 5 cms of fresh snow overnight which was a nice little top up. To make matters better we arrived at the hill in temps of -7 and it was snowing and continued to do so quite hard for about the first hour of the day giving a further accumulation of at least 3 cms. So that, on top of the 5 over night on top of all we had over the weekend made for a really nice soft fluffy skiing surface everywhere we went. Later in the day we had a sun cloud mix which threatened to become bluebird in the afternoon but fortunately it clouded over before any serious damage could be done to the skiing surface. Obviously things warmed up and as we drove away from the hill the Jeep was showing zero as the outside temp. It is now -3 on the deck as I type this.

Today was the day we got our hill back after the busiest weekend I can remember and a few holiday weeks before that. I am pretty relaxed about these crowds as there is no way the hill could stay open for us mid week without the weekend cash cow and I just regard all these good folk as paying for my seasons pass. There was hardly anyone on the hill except for the mid week regulars, some Non Stop groups and a few vacation skiers identified by their enormous back packs. The lack of traffic meant that we had first tracks in many places today and even at the end of the day there were lots of untracked (as far as today's 8 cms of snow goes) lines to be had.

We decided to go to the Old Side for no particular reason. We had considered heading out to Snake Ridge but we were told that it was tracked up so it didn't seem worth the effort although at the end of the day a buddy said that there were still some untracked lines out in Red Tree. The light was very flat indeed due to the diffused white light coming through the cloud and the untracked covering of new snow that gave no features that could be used to get your bearings.

We spent a long morning looping off Cedar Ridge, Bear Cave Chutes, New Lift Line, King Fir and all lines off the ridge in between down into Cedar Bowl. We interspersed drops into Cedar Bowl with runs back to the Boom Chair through Boom Ridge, Boom Bowl, Linda's, Bear Chutes, Alligator Glades and Buck Shot. Everything was in great shape with the new snow on top of the previous deep powder providing and excellent skiing surface and slough management was an issue in most places.  Linda's was particularly good and is now wide open even in the creek bed down in Private Parts. All returns from Haul Back top the Boom load were via Kangaroo as usual and this was large firm bumps covered with soft fresh snow and was about as mellow as I can remember it - we dropped it 6 times. Things were made more interesting by having a mother moose and calf hanging out in the trees on lookers right of Haul Back and we saw them several times on our way up the lift. They seemed to be pretty laid back and totally uninterested in us and that suits me fine.

The morning had gone on rather longer than we had intended because the skiing was just so nice and enjoyable. Not awesome, or any of those hyped up adjectives, just nice and that was good enough for us. After a late lunch we went to the New Side and I decided to get into the trees. First of all I dropped the Knot Chutes where  the High IT was very mellow after the first rock jump and found the best snow of the day in Jim which was deep and untracked and blowing back up over my head in the upslope wind as I skied it. Anaconda 1 was ok but had bumps in it from the weekend traffic, a first for Anaconda 1. Diamond Leg Trees were soft and deep with no sign of whatever it was under the snow on Saturday that caught my right shin and drew blood.

Next was Cougar Glades which had many untracked lines and I followed them down to the old logging trail and came out at the very bottom of Stag Leap. Time was pressing so I had a short loop in the Fraser Tooth which was nicely broken up slide debris and as easy as it is ever going to get. I went out to the Brain and unsurprisingly found it lightly tracked. For a change I took the creek bed for the bottom section of the main pitch and it was nice and open with only a couple of bits of dead fall to negotiate. I just had time for a hike up into Mitchy Chutes and take the line right up against Big Bang before catching a late White Pass chair ready for Skydive.

My legs felt totally shot at the end of the day and I am not sure why. Maybe it's 94 days of skiing and maybe it's the deep powder of the past few days. A buddy suggested with the flat light maybe we all were sitting back but whatever the reason everyone complained of tired legs. I took it easy down Skydive letting some of the younger legs go ahead but of course still dropped it in one. It was bumps at the top but soft after that and great way to finish.

I hardly had the strength to shovel the snow off the hot tub but lying there under the stars I was glad I did. Now for an early night and do it all over again tomorrow.

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