Saturday, March 10, 2018

Day 99 A pretty good crowd for a Saturday

Apologies to Billy Joel for nicking a line from his "Piano Man" but I seriously doubt he is reading this. What I mean by a good crowd is that there were enough people to keep the hill happy but not so many that things became ugly busy. In fact after an initial small line up at White Pass before they opened Currie Bowl we were straight on every chair (except Polar Peak) and didn't really encounter anyone much in the area we were skiing.

Before I start I need to get my excuses out in advance. Tomorrow is Day 100 of the season for both me and the hill and this just happens to fall on a Sunday. Now those of you who follow the blog will know that Sunday is the one day of the week when I have a drink after skiing so it looks like the planets are aligning to make for a pretty heavy night tomorrow. This may mean that my blog will be very late, non existent, long and even more rambling than usual, very short, totally incomprehensible, or some combination of all of the above. No worries normal service will be resumed on Monday - but on with the show.

It froze overnight and starting temp on our deck was -6. The official web site reported no new snow in the last 24 hours which seemed strange to me as after checking yesterday's blog and am fairly certain that we were skiing around in puking snow for at least some of the day. Of course the official version must be right so maybe yesterday I was skiing in a parallel universe. It was blue bird most of the day with just a few bits of patchy cloud and mist. Temps rose particularly at the base but strangely the skiing surfaces did not seem to get too affected (even in the direct sunlight) so that at the end of the day as things cooled there were not a lot of places where it was setting up with refrozen crud. On the way home it was +2 in the valley and it's forecast to go to -8 tonight so we are really into a typical spring freeze/thaw daily cycle. Looks like this will continue for a few days before we drop back into an extended winter snow cycle around next Thursday.

As we arrived at the hill they were taking advantage of the conditions to heli bomb the ridge lines - at least I think it was heli bombing. This meant that things would take a bit of time to open fully as they had to assess the results and get their sign lines in place. We thought this may mean that we were going to get Polar Peak so with this in mind we headed to the New Side.

Like yesterday the snow in the trees to skiers right of lift line was particularly good and deep and was my favoured drop to White Pass all day. Currie Bowl was closed so we looped Knot Chutes and Surprise Trees both of which were great soft snow. In the chutes it was great fun to ride the shoulders before dropping into the chute for the last couple of turns and we hit them from Tight to Jim. Late morning Currie opened and we ripped out on the Reverse Traverse and went for Concussion before it softened too much which is always a danger there. We had an awesome run in wind sifted snow and took the chutes all the way down with big GS turns. Gilmar Gully was also great and only became refrozen crud right at the very end.

Next time up White Pass Polar Peak had opened but we noticed it was only the Coaster side and there was a huge line up. We decided that there was better skiing to be had and we were right, we hit Lone Fir and the fan all the way down through Easter and it was as mellow as I can ever remember it with deep soft snow in the chute and even deeper softer snow underneath. The line up a Polar had died down so we went up and had a few loops where the initial part was soft bumps, the Crusty Chute was soft after a technical entry and the run back to the lift from tower 6 was chunky wind affected snow. When lunch time came we dropped the newly opened High Saddle which was also very soft and mellow and the skiing underneath was deep powder untracked in most places. The exit was through Spinal Tap which appeared to be untracked sift and only became crunchy in the last few turns.

After lunch we did more Polar loops and then dropped Low Saddle for only about the second time this season. I expected the usual ice slide in the top but it too was soft easy snow and the chutes to skiers right were deep and mostly untracked. Easter remained excellent skiing on the way out. We did some more Polar loops then went out to Decline which was very mellow skiing down to the Megasauraus. We dropped into Window Chutes which were very deep and the snow even remained good in both chokes only turning to crud at the very end. Lynda decided she had had enough but I pressed on.

I was quite tight on time so I cut back into Anaconda and found chute 3 with only one track in it and the snow was in good shape. Diamond Leg Trees were only lightly tracked and I found good lines on the way down to Gilmar Trail. Last run of course was Skydive with 5 of us and it was very good all the way down to about half way down the final pitch where it turned to refrozen crud just to remind us that the current conditions can be very flattering to your skiing ability.

By the time we got to the Griz Bar the line up had disappeared so we dropped in for few (non alcoholic) drinks with friends. Daylight saving time starts in Canada tis weekend so we lose an hours sleep and as tomorrow looks like big day it's time for bed.

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.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Day 97 Eating humble pie

Yesterday I confidently predicted that we were seeing the start of the spring warm up and that today would not be a great day. Well, it turned out as very good full on winter day with possibly one more to come tomorrow so I was wrong. That having been said I think it is just a case of delayed execution and by next week we will be getting significant plus temps with all the attendant problems. In the meanwhile we need to make hay while the sun shines or more accurately in this case while the snow snows.

We had 4 cms of snow overnight and the morning temp on the way to the hill -5 and it was snowing, It snowed all day before it petered out in the afternoon but not before we got about another 10 cms on top of the overnight accumulation. Temps rose at the base during the day so that it was +1 as we drove away this evening although it remained a few degrees below zero up top.  On the way home we had a light drizzle but nothing to get too worried about and the overnight cooling should make sure that the greater precip that is forecast should come down white ready for tomorrow.

The result was deep fresh untracked snow on top of the already deep snow from the earlier snow cycles. There was hardly anyone on the hill so we got fresh tracks all day and apart from a few of our regular ski buddies we didn't see anyone in the places that we were going to ski. The result was about 38,000 ft of awesome powder skiing which makes for one good day. As the temps warmed the snow at the base got a little heavier but with conditions overcast (and particularly socked in a White Pass top) we had none of the destructive effects of direct sunshine and to all intents and purposes it was a full on winter day.

We decided to go to the New Side and just have a day of New Side loops to see how much powder we could get. Drops from Timber Top to White Pass Load were always variations of Lift Line and particularly the trees between Lift Line and Big Bang which were full of soft snow and a real hidden gem of powder.The loops were -

Decline - we got first tracks and had considered dropping Window Chutes but the soft powder was so good that we just stuck it out all the way to the bottom and it was great.
Stag Leap - this was also untracked and if anything deeper powder than Decline.
Skydive - just to show that we don't only do this last run we completed the Big 3 with this run and although there were a couple of tracks ahead of us there were plenty of untracked lines.
Touque Chutes/Spinal Tap - there were a few tracks in the chute but the snow there is so deep that it was probably the deepest snow on the hill. The trees above Spinal Tap were very deep and the creek bed seemed untracked to us and very mellow skiing.
Cougar Glades - Our final run before lunch was on the left side of the glades where as usual you could find untracked lines in the tight trees. The lower pitch was also very soft and deep and even the old logging trail is starting to get most of the deadfall covered.
The Brain - after lunch first stop was the Brain where I just beat a load of boarders in and stayed ahead on the right shoulder for another great run of untracked powder tree skiing.
Nameless Trees - if I thought The Brain was soft and deep then Nameless Trees left it for dead. It was so good you could pretty well fall line the trees even in the tight sections. The open area above the creek was spectacular and the creek bed itself was an easy ski. The exit in the trees to the left down to the cat track was just nice tight tree skiing.
Lone Fir/ Easter Bowl - I linked up with a buddy and we hiked up to Lone Fir. The chute was super deep and about the easiest skiing I have ever had in there. The fan underneath was just awesome deep snow and the ski down through Easter was not much worse.
White Rabbit - unsurprisingly after the first couple of turns in the top of the bunny it was untracked and the snow was so deep that when in a tight spot you just had to push your skis into the fall line. This was the run of the day for me.
Skydive - after a quick White Pass rip it was time for the usual Skydive blast with just 4 of us today. I had the spirit in me and hit the run right on the edge of control (and in truth some of the time over the edge) for what must have been my fastest run of the year. A great way to finish a very good winters day.

We had to leave the bar early to go and pick up my skis from the ever excellent and reliable Straight Line. I had left them there for a service last night and they decided that they needed to keep them in for observation. The verdict is that the skies don't have much life left in them and we had to replace a base plate on the heel binding as the spring had broken - it wouldn't be a proper ski season if I didn't smash at least one heel binding. This meant that today I had to use my rock skis (I only have one pair of good skis) which are pretty ripped up on the base. Luckily the rock skis are the same as my good ones (DPS Wailers 184 L 112W) the only difference being that good ones are the Pures (pure carbon fibre) wile the rock skis are Hybrids.  Looks like new skis sometime soon.

Maybe more snow tonight, fingers crossed.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Day 96 The beginning of the end

No, I am not stopping the blog again (sorry RCR management you will have to keep the champagne on ice for a while) I am just recognising that today was the first day that the inevitable spring melt started and the hill suffer some damage. I know it happens every year and I should expect it and the hill has a great base that will last until the end of the season but that doesn't mean I don't regard it as a black day in the calendar. Up until now we have been able to range over the hill skiing where and when we please but from now on we will have to be going to the North facing slopes in the mornings to avoid the refrozen crud then skiing that crud as it softens before abandoning it as it becomes just too mushy and making our way back to the North facing slopes.

The hill web site was calling 9 cms in the last 24 hours which is correct but they reported it as all having fallen overnight when in fact it fell during the day yesterday and there was no snow overnight. It was -6 as we drove to the hill and the weather was sun with a few clouds as it was all day. Temps rose so that it was +3 by the afternoon and way warmer in the direct sunlight, perhaps even double digit temps. Even now the temp in the valley is still zero. I am worried because the forecast is calling for precip and even the official forecast is calling for rain. Of course they don't put it that way, they call for snow but with the snow line (I prefer the term rain line) some way up the mountain. They don't mention what happens below the snow line but I can assure you that the precip continues and it doesn't come down as fairy dust.

We went to the Old Side because yesterday the Cedar High Traverse had been closed for most, if not all of the day and we figured correctly there would be untracked lines to be had. We hit Snake Ridge, Gorby Bowl and Steep and Deep all of which were more or less untracked although Snake had some tracks low down where traffic had worked it's way in off the low traverse yesterday. The skiing started excellent and soft but by last time through Steep and Deep the exit chute had turned to spring mush and it was time to leave. Exits were through Kangaroo which was skiing ok by Roo standards.

We did one loop through Boom Ridge and Alligator Glades both of which were softening in the rising temps. As we had word That Polar Peak may be opening we went the New Side where we immediately noticed a change. it was much colder and there was a strong wind moving sift around which stayed with us all day. Polar was turning but not open so we went out to Decline and had a very nice run down Decline and an even better one in Window Chutes which appeared untracked and had had deep cover even in the final choke.

For the final run before lunch we took the Lazy Locals Traverse and dropped the Fraser Tooth off Sib Ridge which was North Facing and such good snow that you could take the fall line and exit through the tight little chute skiers right of North East Glades. At the suggestion of my buddy Kevin we went to the top of lower Sib Ridge and just carried on into the trees heading towards White Rabbit. After about 100 metres into the trees we dropped the fall line and had great untracked tree skiing for a much longer pitch than I expected with the trees spaced rather wider than White Rabbit and the pitch nowhere near as steep. We need a name for these trees and are toying with Baby Bunny unless there is an official name anyone can tell us.

After lunch we headed back up and found Polar Peak open but only the Coaster, Cat Track and the Crusty Clown Chute open. We did few laps of Crusty and tracked back to the lift after traversing  under tower 6 and as usual the wind was howling, particularly around tower 8. The chute was soft and deep but the snow lower down although deep was a bit slabby as events proved We ran to base and were staggered to see poachers coming out of the Polar Chutes, and this after what happened last Saturday week - complete and utter grade A tossers. We ran to base through Stag Leap which was soft but was already starting to set up in the mid section where it had softened earlier.

Next time up we discovered that Polar had closed due to a slab out in the bottom of Spirit Bear so I guess my description as slabby was pretty accurate. We went and tried Cougar Glades which surprisingly was very crisp and setting up in the openings that had been exposed to the sun - a sign of what we have coming. We took the Glades all the way through to the logging trail and there was good untracked tree skiing in the lower parts.

We just had time for a final Skydive rip with just 5 of us there. As Skydive is more North Facing that Stag Leap we had no problem with the melt/set up and it skied well but the bumps are getting bigger and going further down the hill every day.  We had a good crowd of us in the Griz and as always the talk was skiing, is there a better way to end the day ? We have to see what tomorrow brings.

PS Added later. I have just remembered a run we did in the afternoon that I had forgot, I thought the afternoon seemed a bit light. Mid afternoon we tracked across the High IT which was very mellow and hit Cobra Rock which was lightly tracked in deep snow and even deeper as you got about half way down. As it was North facing everything was in great shape. We dropped Diamond Leg Trees which after a little cat debris in the top was soft and deep all the way down to the Gilmar Trail. That's better, time for bed.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Day 95 Unlimited refills

It snowed all day today and as I ran into (not literally) a patrol buddy as we skied out of the fan in Lone Fir he said "unlimited refills" and I thought that summed up what we have been getting over the past couple of days.

Before I get started perhaps I could answer a question that has been raised by a number of people and that is Why don't you publish any pictures? There are two answers to that question - firstly a lot of followers access the blog on mobile devices with limited data capabilities and pictures place a strain on the download capabilities of the devices and any data limits. Most people say they just want to be able to get the words fast and cheaply. The second point is that there are no pictures because I don't stop and take any. I don't need pics for myself as I was there and know what it was like. Awesome days being the norm rather than the exception in Fernie I don't need to be reminded how good things get. That would mean I would need to stop skiing and enjoying myself in order to set up a shoot to show friends (most of whom would not be that interested) how much fun I was having. Having less fun just to show this off to others strikes me as a pretty dumb decision. Back to business.

Overnight we had 6 cms and it was -6 on the way to the hill. More importantly it was snowing and it snowed all day eventually giving a day time accumulation of around 10 cms. Some times the snow was falling harder than others but it came down all day without a break and only tapered off after we had finished. This was nothing like the forecast which had been threatening us with clear skies this afternoon which fortunately did not materialise. Temps rose during the day so that as we drove away we were getting a reading of zero but the snow stayed in great shape. This was a great day of fill in powder with the 10 cms on top of the overnight 6 and that on top of all the soft snow over the past few days - in other words it was a really good powder day.

As you would expect mid week the crowds were non existent. Just like yesterday it was a few regulars, Non Stop groups and vacation skiers mostly from Europe - I really must find out what they carry in those back packs as they are enormous, bigger than the bags I bring with me on the flight for the whole winter. The lack of crowds combined with the new snow meant that we had untracked skiing all day in most places we went and the hill was very quiet indeed.

Having had a long session on the Old Side yesterday we decided to have a New Side day today. I was amused to overhear someone in the locker room saying that they would not be going to the New Side because the viz in White Pass would be bad, which it was all day. This rather ignores the fact that you only ever go to White Pass to access all the skiing available off of it and a few poor viz turns at the top are a small price to pay for awesome Big 3 loops, still if that is what they want to think then no problems with me. We just spent all day looping in snow that was falling steadily and an ever increasing depth of powder in all runs. We hit -
Stag Leap - untracked deep soft snow particularly on the left hand side.
Decline/Window Chute - one track ahead of us and none in the chute. The snow in the chute was very soft and deep and even the choke had good coverage.
The Brain - lovely soft untracked lines and we held the right shoulder above the creek bed all the way down to the exit into Skydive.
Touque Chutes/Spinal Tap - the only track in the top was where a board had side slipped (I still don't understand why they do that, ride it don't slide it) and after that it was very deep powder. Spinal Tap had a few tracks in but was soft and deep and I think someone may have been knocking a few branches off the dead fall across the lower creek as we were still able to get under, just.
Lone Fir - final run before lunch and the chute was the most mellow I have ever seen with soft snow making turning so easy. The fan was just awesome deep powder and the run down through Easter and Freeway was getting pretty deep by then.
Cougar Glades - untracked on the skiers left and I took the trees  all the way down to the old logging trail and then out into the bottom of Stag Leap getting face shots most of the way.
Nameless Trees - good skiing with some untracked lines. The open field above the creek was deep and awesome and I held the creek bed down to the dead fall before cutting left into the trees down to the cat track. The powder really was getting deep by now.
Skydive - Lynda was going off the hill a little early to get her skis serviced so she wanted to finish off on Skydive. This suited me as it was soft powder particularly on the final pitch and I was able to scope it out for the real final run.
White Rabbit - what can I say about the bunny that hasn't already been said. Untracked steep tight tree skiing to the left of the creek bed.
Skydive - made the White Pass chair with 4 minutes to go and met up with four buddies for the final Skydive rip. It was a great ending to the day and the scoping of the run worked as the right hand side of the last pitch is now flatter and faster than the left of centre and I was able to take advantage of that.

That was a really good day's skiing with about 35,000 vertical feet of good powder without really pushing things too hard, The snow has now stopped but the forecast is for -13 overnight and more snow to come. Today we passed the 1000 cm snowfall mark which is always the sign of a good season. I seem to be going down with a cold which explains yesterday's low energy levels but an early night should help put me right.

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.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Day 93 the best run ever ?

Today I had the run of the season and maybe the run of any season but more of that later. After yesterday the crowds had subsided to normal weekend numbers and whilst a little bit busier than a normal Sunday there was only one major line up all day and by the last run the hill was as quiet as I would expect it to be on a Sunday.

It was surprisingly cold over night and temps on the way to the hill of -11. They were calling for 4 cms of snow over night but I really couldn't see it myself and things looked much the same as yesterday. The day started as blue bird day which was pretty good as it allowed them to heli bomb all the ridge lines before we got started and therefore get everything open as quickly as possible. Luckily it clouded over during the morning before the sun could have any adverse affects on the skiing surface and by the afternoon we were getting some light flurries, even if they weren't accumulating. Temps warmed and then cooled during the day and as we drove away it was -1 in the valley with most of the snow in good shape.

We went to the New Side and found that not only was Currie Bowl open but so was the Reverse Traverse, the Saddles were closed so we headed out to the top of the Big 3 where someone had found and resurrected the ski patrol sign from a couple of months ago saying that the bottom of the Big 3 was "not awesome". A good ploy by someone to keep the weekend crowds out but I am not sure it had much effect. We were aware that the lower sections of the Big 3 had been trashed (we trashed them yesterday) so we had to make other plans. We looked into Touque chutes and it was untracked and that was the run referred to at the head of this blog. It was thigh deep and we didn't see tracks until we dropped out on to Freeway. It was the run of the season and perhaps any season with thigh deep powder choking you all the way down.

Next time round we hit Decline which was tracked but was still very deep powder with many untracked lines. We then got word that Snake Ridge had opened so we dropped Touque Chutes but pushed very far right to get untracked snow and then had Spinal Tap which was very deep and lightly tracked with the fallen tree still navigable if you really ducked hard. We  went to the Bear load for the Snake experience.

The traverse out was crowded and I dropped the Curved Ball/Steep and Deep shoulder which in truth was just a steep soft run. I held the trees on the Steep and Deep right which were untracked before exiting in the right hand chute which was still full of soft deep snow. When we got to the haul back we met the largest line up I have ever seen there. It was huge and took a good 15 minutes before we could get lifted out and try the Kangaroo which skied much the same as usual with a bit more snow. Clearly we weren't going to go back to the Haul Back Load (paying just to stand around always seems such a pointless exercise) so we looped Boom Ridge, Alligator Glades, Boomerang and Buck Shot before heading to lunch. All of these were in excellent shape with lots of soft snow on soft bumps and really just very nice mellow skiing.

After lunch I just hit New Side loops -
High Saddle/Easter - with the saddles now open it was great soft skiing through the Saddle and particularly below. Easter was deep chopped up powder and as such was good skiing.
Cougar Glades - still many untracked lines and a great exit through the old logging trail.
Nameless Trees - very deep in the trees and just awesome in the creek bed. This time I worked the trees on the left after the dead fall and got some good tight tree skiing all the way down to the cat track.
The Brain- well why not on an afternoon of tree skiing and it was soft and untacked in many places so that we didn't have to exit until the very bottom of Skydive.

After a 2 minute rip of White Pass it was time to go to Skydive. Just the two of us there tonight but a great rip on what was very mellow snow considering the time of day. The Griz Bar was once again jumping with a bunch of pumped up skiers but being Sunday it was mostly locals and the atmosphere was awesome. As it was my drinking night I had a few beers hence the rambling nature of tonight's blog. Some more snow forecast but I am worried about the forecast temps.