Friday, March 9, 2018

Day 98 A very nice surprise

We went to the hill today with very low expectations and had what was a really good day skiing deep soft untracked snow. Of course the day didn't start well as it was raining in the valley and the temp on the deck was +1 where I think it had been all night. Things were made worse by my neighbour ringing the door bell to say he had water pouring in to his house and asking if we had a repeat of last years water problem. We checked and found only some very minor damp so it looks like all the work done on the roof in the summer has only had the effect of diverting the leak into the next house - sorry Charles. What with having to contact the strata company, give details of our bit of the problem it was 9:20 before we arrived at the hill.

The hill were reporting 25 cms in the last 24 hours but it was clear looking up the hill at the snow line that whilst this would be the case at the top it might not hold true all the way to the bottom. The parking lot was quite full but there were no line ups at the base and the hill was about averagely busy for a Friday. You didn't have to be a genius to work out that the best snow was going to be as high as you could get on the New Side. As a result of the whole hill having the same idea we did have some line ups at White Pass but never more than for a few minutes.

The precip was coming down as very wet snow at the base and better snow the higher you went. We had flurries of this type all morning and then late morning and into the afternoon it just puked snow as hard as any storm we have had this year and the wind got up strong enough to blow even the heavy wet snow that we were getting. Late afternoon the snow stopped and the sky was clearing as we drove away from the hill also in a temp of +1. My guess is that it may have got a degree or two warmer at the base during the day but probably stayed at zero or thereabouts at the White Pass load and higher.

We went to white Pass and found Currie Bowl closed so we decided to loop White Pass which may have been our decision in any case because of conditions. Knot Chutes were open and we dropped them many times ranging from Tight to Jim and all the chutes and lines in between. You had to retract undercarriage to clear the rocks on the traverse in but apart from that the snow was very soft and deep and excellent skiing. Our drops to the load were always a variation of Surprise Trees which we took from side to side and found many deep untracked lines with the snow heavy enough to hold you up in the tight chutes and give the "hero" effect.

We got to the top of White Pass and found everyone lining up for a good old Currie 500. We also got word that Anaconda had opened and we figured the skiing there would be just as good so with one more drop of the Knot Chutes we headed out. When we got there we found Anaconda was still closed but as we were debating what to do they dropped the fence and I grabbed first tracks in Anaconda 2 and then the Helter Skelter in Bootleg Trees. These were super deep untracked snow and to our surprise stayed in good shape all the way down to Gilmar Trail.

When we got to the top of White Pass we found that the Currie fence had still not dropped so the Anaconda loop looked like a great call. Almost straight away the Currie fence dropped and we took off. The Reverse Traverse was closed but the lower traverse was open rather higher up than usual so the run out to the Big 3 didn't need any effort. We were second tracks in Decline and it was awesome most of the way down only getting heavy (and then not too bad) half way down the lower pitch. We then hit Stag Leap which had a couple of tracks in but was mostly untracked and the The Brain which was totally untracked and about as good as I can remember it.

After a very late lunch we went back up the New Side in what could only be described as winter blizzard conditions. We went to Touque Chutes and found the effect of heavy snow and wind was to give us deep untracked snow all the way down. We cut into Spinal Tap and had first tracks most of the way until a couple of tracks cut in from the right. I slid under the fallen tree on my hip for what I guess will be the last time this year and found that the snow only got mushy in the final few turns.

Next loop  was a Decline/Window Chute trip with Decline more or less in the same shape as our first run of the morning due to the new snow. Window Chutes was great and seemed untracked with even the chokes full of soft snow. We just had time for another Knot Chute/Surprise loop which as everywhere was just skiing better in the new snow before heading to Skydive for the last run. Only 4 of us made it to Skydive including Lynda who had initially planned a short day, it was that good. Like all of the Big 3 Skydive skied very deep and mellow only getting heavy in last half dozen turns or so.

So on a day when we were expecting an ugly rain affected day we got an awesome days powder skiing. Looking forward to tomorrow as they are calling for -6 temps tonight - one day at a time.

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