Monday, April 2, 2018

Day 122 A full on powder day in April

First of all apologies for last night's report. When you only drink one day a week you tolerance of alcohol reduces fairly significantly and the result last night was me struggling to stay awake and put together some vaguely coherent remarks.

Now for a reminder, tomorrow is Hot Dog Eve, Hot Dog Day is Wednesday when we celebrate the dreadful 1984 movie Hot Dog (a mixture of skiing and soft pornography) by dressing in retro gear and getting unbelievably drunk. Tomorrow by tradition all good boys and girls go up the hill and hide gifts for Father Hot Dog to find on his rounds - the gift is usually cans of beer. If Father Hot Dog doesn't find the cans then the boys and girls drink the beer themselves on Hot Dog Day - it's a tradition. Naturally I couldn't condone people taking beer up the hill in contravention of the rules (and I would never do it myself) but if they did then they should be sure and do it early tomorrow as the security guards usually start searching you around midday.

Overnight the hill reported 16 cms of fresh snow and on the way to the hill it was -8 which is a near perfect temp for powder snow. Unfortunately the base remained very hard and icy and with the snow not having much moisture we were always going through to base although away from the south facing slopes the base was not too bad. The day started overcast with some very flat light which was challenging as the snow had come with a major wind event last night and there were some big windrows that were easy to hit with everything looking white. Later in the day the clouds cleared and we had a bluebird day but the cold arctic air mass and wind meant that nothing really softened and as we drove away from the hill tonight it was -2 even after an afternoon of direct sunshine.

We went to the New Side and found pretty well everything was closed so we had to make do with loops of the Gun Bowl and Surprise Trees. It is perhaps a bit unkind to describe 16 cms of snow as "dust on crust" but on those south facing slopes that was very much what it felt like. We kept looping and were rewarded when we found the fence dropped on Anaconda and we got untracked lines in the chutes which being north facing were much softer. Diamond Leg Trees were also untracked and it was easy to see why opening up the hill was such a problem as our sloughs causing us some real problems as we dropped.

Next time we found that the fence had dropped on Currie Bowl and the low traverse was open out to the Big 3 with a warning sign that the south facing skiing was ugly - what was I saying two days ago? We skied Decline, Stag Leap and Skydive and then went to lunch. We actually got first tracks in Decline which was great soft snow although very scratchy just at the end. Stag Leap seemed to be more consistent all the way down whilst Skydive was the best of the lot with snow in the mid section deep enough for you not to bottom out.

After lunch we went back to the New Side and found that the Reverse Traverse and the Saddles had opened. High Saddle was rather scraped out in the chute but snow underneath it was soft and deep with many untracked lines. Easter was ok soft snow and easy bumps all the way down and so became our favoured exit route for all of our afternoon skiing. Next was Low Saddle which had huge windrows and some rocky bumps in the top but after that was very mellow soft snow and the Perch Chutes were deep and untracked down the Easter.

I decided to hike up to Lone Fir to see what it was like and the drop off the cornice on Cornice Chute was much bigger than yesterday due to the wind. Lone Fir was easy soft snow and the fan underneath was awesome down the Easter. I still needed exercise so I hiked up to Easter Meadow and it didn't look like anyone had been up there since my previous Lone Fir lap. The chute was bit harder than of late but was still great skiing and the fan below was just as awesome as the Lone Fir fan.

Last run of course was Skydive (again) and just like in the morning the snow in the mid section was deep enough and heavy enough to support us and give great powder skiing. The final pitch got a bit rattily but was better than it might have been as long as you just crashed through it. The crowds had gone and there were just a few of us regulars on the deck of the Griz to talk about what a great day it had been for April skiing.

The hill have now stopped their weather forecast for the season so we are back to the Weather Network which seems to suggest that tomorrow could be cold with maybe some light snow - we will see.

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