Saturday, March 24, 2018

Day 113 An awesome full on powder day

Yes, today was as good as any winter powder day that we have had this season which is all the more amazing as we are in the fourth week in March.

Overnight they called 10 cms of new snow which, with what had fallen the day before, brought the 48 hour total to almost 30 cms. Best of all it puked snow all day and I would imagine we had a minimum of 15 cms accumulate during the day. It was -1 as we drove to the hill and only +2 as we drove away in the evening. Up the hill it stayed well below zero all day and as a result the snow was good winter snow and overall it was a full on winters day. With the snow falling out of a cold air mass even the slightly plus temps at the base didn't have much effect and the worst we got was some ice pellets but nothing that you could even begin to describe as wet snow.

The resulting conditions were predictably awesome. The falling snow added to the already quite deep powder and as the day wore on things just got deeper and what had been tracked up earlier quickly repaired to untracked powder for the next loop. It helped that the hill was not very busy for a Saturday and we only had a brief period of lift lines of which more later. Hardly anyone was dressing for the "Retro" weekend and I take this as a good sign that everyone is waiting for Hotdog Day (the real retro event) which as usual will be the first Wednesday in April.

We went to the New Side and found Lift Line and the surrounding trees deep lightly tracked powder which just got deeper all day with some great wind grooming. Decline was untracked in the top and although a couple of tracks appeared from the trees lower down there was enough untracked snow to give Lynda and me great skiing. We had noticed Stag Leap had no tracks in the top first time round and as this remained the case next time we dropped in. It was awesome and totally untracked and for some reason the snow seemed quite a bit deeper than in Decline - a great top to bottom rip.

At the White Pass load there was suddenly a huge crowd and we had to ride singles. We worked out that this was because the pay for powder groups who had been allowed access to the Old Side ahead of us regular season pass holders had now come over to the New Side to try and take our powder. To make matter worse they had their instructors still with them so they were allowed to cut the lift lines ahead of us - have they no shame. My views on the iniquitous practice of the hill to sell first tracks to the highest bidder are well known and mostly unprintable. My message to the hill is "stop doing it" and my message to the participants is "man up and compete on a level playing field for your powder with the rest of us rather than have it spoon fed to you". Rant over.

Cougar Glades were a bit tracked up in the top but when I cut left a chute in the trees opened up completely untracked and I held a very tight tree line all the way down with first tracks that just kept coming at me. As trees had worked out so well I tried The Brain and was not disappointed. Once again there were a few tracks in the top section but on the right shoulder of the creek lower down there are so many line available that it was deep untracked snow through to the cat track. Last run before lunch and I decided to continue the tree theme and hit Nameless Trees which were mostly untracked and I even managed to beat a group into the clearing above the creek bed which was untracked. It got a bit firm lower down so I bailed onto the lower pitch of Stag Leap and went to lunch.

After lunch it was still puking snow so we tried Touque Chutes which were tracked but were very deep as was out chosen exit through Spinal Tap. Just for change I went out across the High IT in very poor viz and dropped Cobra Rock. It had been snowing so hard I couldn't tell if I was getting first tracks, I suspect not but it was so soft and deep who cares. Diamond Leg Trees also didn't seem to be tracked and were just awesome all the way down.

Next came the run of the day by a big margin - White Rabbit. This had been my go to run a few weeks ago during the big winter snows and I had sort of resigned myself to the fact that it was now a bust for this season. Today's snow changed everything and when I dropped in there was just one track on the right hand chutes which I saw but never had to cross - most of the way I was pushing a wave of chest high snow in front of me. At the dead fall I cut left across the creek bed and never saw another track after that. As I got lower it did get rather firmer and a little crusty but there was enough new snow to make it some very ok skiing. I emerged somewhere near the cat track at the bottom of Fall Out.

We got word that Currie Bowl had closed at the top which was not surprising given the snow that had fallen - we had been expecting it and ski patrol did good job to keep it open for as long as they did. We went out skied Anaconda 2 which looked untracked and was awesome seep powder before dropping Diamond Leg Trees which were also filling in fast. We just had time for a Surprise Trees loop and found that much of Surprise had filled in and was deep untracked snow.

With Skydive inaccessible we had decided to finish with another run through Cobra Rock but when we got there we found that too had been closed. In the event it worked out well as the only interesting run off the hill available was Triple Trees and this was great skiing with just a few filled in tracks between the trees.

There was a line up to get in the bar and as I don't ever line up in order to spend my money we headed home for an early night. It did occur to me that as the hill has no problem giving priority for powder, or in lift lines, or for parking it should be possible to organise priority access to the bar for regular customers but they don't. I guess this isn't a priority for members of management, after all when was the last time you ever saw one of them standing in line to get in the bar, perhaps they have a priority access.

We are due some more snow over night and even if we don't get it (it is actually snowing on my deck as I am typing this) then what we have will give us a pretty good day tomorrow. Another powder day coming up.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Day 112 A bit slabby but very good

The snow today was bit slabby in many places and this had us puzzled. There hadn't been any great wind event last night or any other reason that we could see. In the last 24 hours we had 17 cms with 10 of them coming over night so we were expecting powder (which we got) but the slabbiness was a surprise. The puzzle was solved for me late in the day when I rode the chair with a buddy who had worked all night on the hill so of all people he should know. Apparently the snow came down very wet all night even at the top of the hill so after it had settled the surface set up slightly to give a light crust which led to the slabby feel although not enough to detract from the fact that we had new powder. Lower down of course it was worse because the snow had been that much wetter but nothing like the ugly rain crust that might have got.

On the way to the gym at 6:30 it was +1 although everything was frozen hard so I suspect it may have been colder during the night. A quick 10 clicks later I was heading to the hill and it was still +1. During the morning we had a sun/cloud mix with a few periods of sunshine before it clouded over in the afternoon in preparation for the significant snowfall which apparently is on the way tonight. Temps rose steadily and while we drove away tonight I noticed that the valley temp was up to +3. The effect on the skiing surface was that the south facing slopes softened, but not much during the morning and started to set up a bit in the afternoon. North facing slopes stayed in good condition all day but still with that slightly slabby feel in places.

We went to the New Side on the assumption that the snow would be better the higher we could get which was more or less true. The hill was a bit busier than a normal weekday but nothing to get exited about - we only had to share a chair a couple of times during the day. The first drop into Lift Line off the top shoulder slabbed out on me and set the tone for the morning.

We went into Knot Chutes and found it chunky but ok in the Fraid Knot. We heading out intending to hit Surprise Trees but found Anaconda untracked so Lynda had 0.5 and I had 1 both of which were awesome soft deep powder. Diamond Leg Trees were also untracked powder and we only got any crunch at all when we got to the hump above Gilmar Trail. After that we had to try the Big 3 and found Decline totally untracked. It was awesome soft powder which just got crusty in the final pitch although by the bottom it was pretty hard crust.

We didn't think we would be able to get first tracks in our third run of the day but we did. I hit the High IT out to Cobra Rock following two tracks. These turned out to be the Patrollers who had flipped the signs so Cobra Rock was untracked and I hit the steep tight right hand chutes which were awesome.

We decided to try the Saddles only to find that the Reverse Traverse was closed at the County Line. We followed the sign line all the way down hoping that there would be a lower opening but there wasn't. The snow on the Currie Powder side of the fence was very chunky and setting up. I learned later that they were getting worried about the slabby snow in Concussion but after a bit of cutting and with the temps cooling the area was reopened later. Last run before lunch with limited terrain available we took the High IT to Gotta Go and hopped over into Google Earth which was deep and untracked all the way down. The exit for lunch was through Diamond Leg Trees which still had untracked lines.

After lunch we resumed our plans and headed out to High Saddle along the newly opened Reverse Traverse. The Saddle was in ok shape and negotiated with about 8 edge to edge jumps in the chute and after that it was deep untracked lines in powder. Easter bowl was soft powder bumps and great fun. Next we hiked up Lone Fir which had a few tracks in but was mellow soft snow in the chute and awesome deep powder in the fan. We cut across and hit Spinal Tap which was soft and easy in the top and rather crunchy below the dead fall but the focussed traffic in the tight creek bed meant that it skied ok.

Lynda decided on an early day so I linked up with a buddy and we hiked up to Easter Meadow which only had a couple of tracks in and was excellent steep tight skiing. This time it was back to Easter for the exit which was just as good as ever. I just had time for a quick loop through Low Saddle which was still a bit technical in the top but easy skiing after that and soft and untracked in the Perch Chutes.

Last run of course was Skydive with 4 of us. In the upper section we were surprised to find it so lightly tracked that we were finding soft untracked lines even at the end of the day. Lower down it got a bit crunchy but better than it has been of late. I had to leave the bar early to check up on the new skis being delivered to Straight Line and we have fixed to have them mounted on Monday evening so watch for a new ski report on Tuesday.

So in summary we got powder and although it was slightly slabby on top and crusty below it gave a great day's skiing considering we are in the 4th week of March. They are calling for more snow tonight and more still tomorrow with temps going back to good winter conditions - I hope so.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Day 111 A surprisingly good day

Although they had called for snow overnight none materialised and we were faced with another no new snow day - or so we thought. The temp on the way to the hill was +1 and conditions were very overcast. As we arrived at the hill it was starting to rain and after we had kitted up and headed off to the Old Side it had actually turned into very wet snow at the base.

We anticipated that the precip would turn to rain at the base as the day warmed up so we decided to hit the Old Side early and move on to the New Side later. Almost as soon as we got up the Old Side the snow got much heavier and after a while it was a full on winter storm. We toured around all the usual places and found that the snow was accumulating up top but starting to get very wet indeed low down. Following our plan we headed over to the New Side at mid morning and found that it really was winter conditions up in White Pass.

Once again the trees to the lookers left of Lift Line deserve a special mention. They were full of soft deep snow all day and the only problem was one of slough management in the chutes between the trees which was quite an issue all day.

The temp up in White Pass was around zero and stayed that way all day although the wet winter conditions made it feel a lot colder. At the base temps rose slowly but only to +3 so even at it's worst the rain line only got to about the top of the Deer Chair. The top of White Pass was socked in as badly as I can ever remember and the viz was so bad that you could only see about one chair in front of you as you went up. The snow accumulated fast and before long we were skiing on at least 5 cms of good fresh snow.

We decided to go out and try one of the Big 3 but the Reverse Traverse was very socked in. First time round I nearly fell over for no other reason than I could see no visual reference points of any kind under the Polar Chutes and couldn't determine what was up and down or even if I was moving. We arrived at the top of The Big 3 and found it totally untracked and so dropped Decline which was just awesome in the top. Lower down things got a little heavier but it was still good winter skiing that early in the day.

Next time up the snow had stopped and the viz improved but we stuck with our original plan. This time when we arrived at the top of Skydive there were a couple of new tracks in Touque Chutes but Skydive was untracked. It was great soft skiing down to the final pitch where everything softened and it showed signs of snowballing lower down. We just had time for a drop down Stag Leap which was also untracked before lunch. Stag Leap skied pretty well like the other two runs but was slightly harder on the base in the mid section and the snowballing started slightly higher up. Overall the Big 3 all skied as soft deep heavy powder most of the way down which was much better than we had expected when we headed for the hill.

The afternoon was, to some extent a re run of the morning in that the snow started again and the viz socked back in at the top. The rain line moved further up the hill meaning that at first the very bottom of the hill was very sticky indeed but by the end of the day the sticky line had moved up and the very bottom became ok mush as it became more soaked. Once again just before the end of the day the precip tapered off and the viz improved a bit.

We stuck with the programme and dropped Touque Chutes which had filled in and were deep snow before cutting in to Spinal Tap which skied very nicely and only got a bit scrapy in the final couple of turns. I ran into some buddies and we tried Decline where we got first tracks which was not bad considering that we had already had them in the morning. Stag Leap skied just like the morning as well, or maybe even better with even more snow and no new tracks.

Just for variety I dropped a very white Gun Bowl and headed out to Anaconda which was great and the only problem was more slough management. The Helter Skelter on the near side of the Bootleg Glades was untracked and great skiing. Final run with everything socked in tonight was back to Skydive. There were 7 of us on Skydive tonight and we all had a great rip although the last few turns did get rather slow and mushy.

So on a day that didn't promise much we got some great skiing thanks to a fair bit of new snow falling during the day and hardly anyone being around to ski it. Temps are forecast to fall over night and with precip in the offing we could be in for a good powder day tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Day110 another ok day

Yes, today wasn't awesome or great but it was ok and that's ok by me. It started for me in the gym at 6:30 with another 10 km running on the treadmill and second day into training the hamstrings really hurt. After that it was coffee and off to the hill just in time for a 9 o'clock start.

It was -1 on the way to the hill with no new snow overnight and overcast conditions. The forecast was for a sun/cloud mix all day with it clouding over towards the end of the day and some precipitation starting. What we actually got was quite thick cloud cover most of the time with some sunny flashes and the occasional light flurry which didn't really give anything like an accumulation. Temps rose steadily during the day so that by the time we drove home it was +6 in the valley and probably low plus temps even at the top. The absence of direct sunlight did at least mean that we were saved the worst ravages of spring sunshine and the skiing surfaces stayed in ok condition, only becoming mushy low down later in the day.

We went to the New Side and as I have mentioned so often the trees on lookers left of Lift Line proved to be the only way to go to get from Timber Top to White Pass load and provided some surprisingly steep and tight tree skiing. We pushed out to Low Saddle which is steadily getting more bumpy and rocky in the top but still good after two turns. Perch Chutes and then Easter bowl were all excellent soft snow.

Next time up we hit The Gun Bowl which was still scratchy under the new snow. Anaconda 1 was great mellow north facing snow and Diamond Leg trees are deep and hardly seem to be getting skied. Polar Peak had opened (Coaster side only) so we went up and had a couple of loops in a very marginal Crusty Chute and then some nice powder 8s off the cat track. We ran to base through High Saddle which is scraped and getting very marginal although the snow underneath the chute remains soft and untracked. The Easter exit was just as good as ever.

By way of variation we went out on Siberia Ridge and tried the Fraser Tooth which to my mind had the best snow on the hill and the steep fall line off the top through the trees was excellent skiing. Last run before very late lunch was Lone Fir which is showing some signs of wear but was way better in the chute than normal and the Easter exit was of course very good.

After lunch Lynda wanted to do one loop in 1-2-3s and go home which she did, I tried Anaconda 2 which is still very tight tree skiing but the snow remains in good enough shape to make it ok. Diamond Leg Trees had probably not been touched since I skied them in the morning and so remained in great shape. I just had time for some more ok loops in Polar Peak before running to base through Low Saddle which was just a bit worse than this morning although the snow below was still as good as ever.

I didn't make it to Skydive for the final run as I usually do but still managed to have a very enjoyable end to the day. The forecast is for a snow rain cycle to hit us in the next 24 hours and we are crossing everything that we can cross in the hope that it is mostly snow.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Day 109 First day of spring

As today was the first day of spring I felt the need to start to get into Summer mode so at 6:30 I was in the gym on the treadmill pushing out a 10 km run before heading to the hill. Before anyone points out that I used to do 11 kms an hour back in December I put my hands up, I am working my way back into it slowly. Lynda decided to have the day off skiing and swim a mile at the Aquatic Centre just for a change.

Overnight they were reporting zero snow fall in the last 24 hours on the official site which is strange because I could have sworn that we were skiing in snow showers (some quite hard) yesterday afternoon. The official site of course could not be wrong so I guess I must have imagined it.

I still got to the hill for 9 and it was +1 most of the way there. The forecast was for a sun/cloud mix but for the morning it was pretty well solid cloud although we did get a few sunny patches in the afternoon. We had brief snow showers off and on all day (I will have to check the official site tomorrow to see if I imagined those) although they probably only gave a couple of cms of accumulation all told. Temps up the mountain stayed low (I would imagine zero and below from the White Pass load upwards) and with no direct sunlight nothing on the upper mountain softened. By late afternoon the valley temp was +5 with atmospheric warming so we did get some softening on the lower hill but nothing like some of the spring mush that we have seen of late.

The hill had a strange quiet "dog day" feel to it today with hardly anyone skiing in the areas where we were. The snow that we didn't get yesterday seemed to have been sifted around nicely in the wind which continued during the day - the net result was about and extra 5 cms on top of what we already had which made for some good skiing on the North facing slopes. There was still not enough snow to give enough cover on the South facing stuff which remained crunchy although not as bad as yesterday. The top of White Pass was socked in although the cloud lifted a bit later in the day and unsurprisingly neither Polar Peak nor Knot Chutes were open.

I went out to High Saddle which was ok but rather trenched and in all honesty I didn't ski it that well. Under the chute the snow seemed soft deep and untracked but there was enough reflected white light bouncing around that it was very flat light in there making the viz rather poor. The exit through Easter was good soft new snow on the North facing slope which skied very nicely all day and was my only exit route every time. Next I hit Low Saddle which was rocky in the top but after two turns was very mellow. The Perch Chutes down to Easter were very nice soft untracked snow.

Despite having put in some leg work in the gym I side stepped up to Lone Fire and found the chute just as mellow as it has been for days with easy soft skiing all the way through. The fan was soft and smooth all the way into Easter. Wanting more of a challenge I moved one chute across and dropped Easter Meadow - I always think it is a joke by Ski Patrol that they call one of the steepest tightest chutes on the hill a meadow. With all the snow we have this was soft and wide open way down past the fan and in to Easter.

Last run before lunch I was tempted into Sean's Chute for only the third time in my life. It was ok except that there was rock in the middle and one turn below a tree stump. I did move left onto what I thought was some nice untracked snow only to find my uphill ski breaking through a thin snow bridge and dangling in an 8 ft or so crevice. It took a couple of tight turns to get things back together but overall it was a lot of fun. Perch Chutes and Easter were just as good as ever.

After lunch I decided to do a rerun of the morning (minus Sean's) to see if things had changed. In High Saddle the light had improved so it was better but still trenched. Underneath you could now see the skiing surface and sure enough there was a huge area of deep untracked snow to be had. Low Saddle skied just the same as this morning. Lone Fir had a bit more traffic but was still soft and as mellow as I can remember with go anywhere skiing all the way through. I don't think Easter Meadow had been touched since I skied it in the morning so unsurprisingly it was just as good.

On my final ride up Timber I noticed a buddy in Lift Line and it looked like he had just hit Hollywood Rock. Well, I couldn't ignore that so I hit the rock myself for the 16th time this year and bought my success rate to 12/16 so far this year. I later discovered that my buddy had not hit the rock (which was actually very rocky on the take off requiring a big pre jump) so I needn't have made the effort although to be fair his son who was with him had.

Last run was Skydive which I took steadily as my legs were getting tired after all the hiking up to Lone Fir and the earlier efforts in the gym. I made it down in one but with not much left to spare in the tank. It was a nice evening with buddies in the bar and of course wings night down the pub to follow.

The forecast is for quite a lot of precip over the next few days in one form or another. I have the prayer mat out in anticipation.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Day 108 Perhaps the most first tracks ever ?

Today I may have had more untracked skiing than on any other day ever. That is not to say it was the best (although it was pretty good) but possibly the most. I think the reason was that it was a late season Monday with not enough new snow to trigger the 20 cm crowd and the few vacation skiers here had no idea of where to go to get the good snow.

Overnight we had 10 cms of new snow and the temp on the way to the hill was -2 so it came down as full on winter snow all the way to the base. During the day we had snow showers off and on, quite heavy at times. Even though it got warm (+4) and the bottom of the hill got very sticky in places late afternoon the snow when it came was always snow albeit rather wet low down. The snow was not deep enough to cover the hard icy death cookies on the south facing slopes which have been so badly affected by the sun over the past week but on the north facing slopes and even those not directly facing the sun the covering was good enough to give soft powder skiing.

We went to the New Side and found the Lift Line area and associated trees good soft lightly tracked runs which stayed that way all day. Polar Peak and the Knot Chutes were closed all day but the Reverse Traverse was open so we headed out to Easter Bowl. We cut the side step up to the top of Easter and had first tracks all the way down. It was a good 10 cms on a firm base and the only downside was the light getting very flat half way down.

Next time up there were no tracks in any of the Big 3 and we were doubtful what they would be like. Decline skied soft in the top and while we had feared a hard lower section the new snow seemed to have blended with the lower layers forming a soft crust under the 10 cms of new snow which made it feel much deeper. There were no tracks in the trees above Stag Leap so we hit them next time. In the run itself there was one tight line down the right side so we had the rest of the run untracked to ourselves and it skied just like Decline before and Skydive later.

We were undecided what to do so we started to drop Skydive and were amazed to find that all the tracks in the top went to Decline and we had first tracks down Skydive as fourth run of the day - unbelievable. Skydive had the same soft undercrust making  for great skiing in the powder on top. As there had been no tracks in Skydive I figured that next time the Brain would be untracked but I was wrong. There were tracks and I had to cut some very tight lines to get untracked snow. When I got to the Megasauraus I could see that 4 boards had been in there ahead of me but they then all chose the creek bed. The right shoulder was untracked most of the way down but there was one set of tracks that came into view from time to time but there was enough lines to get untracked skiing which was good powder.

It was warming and we decided to extend the morning while the snow remained good. Final run was Cougar Glades which as usual had a couple of tracks in the top which disappeared and I had untracked snow all the way down in the tight trees on the left and in the left exit chute where the snow was so soft it was starting to sun ball.

After lunch we were back up the New Side and dropped very scratchy Gun Bowl (despite the new snow) on the way to Anaconda. I dropped Anaconda 2 and then Diamond Leg trees and there were untracked lines in both on the north facing winter snow. Next we went out to Nameless Trees which were just great tight tree skiing. The top of the creek bed was untracked and deep but the creek bed itself got mushier as you went down and in the end we bailed into Stag Leap just before we got to the dead fall. We just had time for another Anaconda (3 this time) and Diamond Leg Trees which were just as good as before. By this time the lower hill was ugly sticky and at one stage we had to pole across the Meadow - it was that bad.

Final run was Skydive which was good winter snow until the final pitch when it became very soft spring skiing to the base. So ended a day when I skied more untracked snow than I can ever remember and hardly saw anyone when we got clear of the main runs.

It was +4 as we drove away from the hill and is still +3 even at this hour of night. The forecast is ambivalent on the subject of new snow but we are getting some disturbed weather over the next few days so we can live in hope.

I had to leave the bar early as I had been demoing the new DPS Alchemists and had to take them back to Straight Line. The guys had transferred the bindings from my rock skis to my everyday skis so I was ready to go. Unfortunately I loved the new skis so they have a set on order for me but this time with Marker Jester bindings which everyone tells me are indestructible, we will see. With any luck the whole package will be available for me to pick up in about a weeks time as a late season present to myself.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Day 107 Another eventful day

This time the eventful day was not due to an in bound class 3 avi like last time but just some personal reversals which I will talk about later.

No new snow over night and starting temps of -5 which meant that everything got hard and cold overnight and in need of some softening today. At first it looked like we were going to get a bluebird day but the sun was hazy and by the end of the day the cloud cover had moved in and it was socked in up top. The forecast was for snow/showers this afternoon but in the event we didn't get any precip during the day and it is only now, late in the evening, that we are starting to see some snowfall in the valley.

With no direct sunlight the temps didn't get to anything like they have over the past  few days. We did get some atmospheric warming so that temps rose to about +3 on top but this was nowhere near enough to soften the surfaces that had been affected by the sun yesterday and frozen hard over night. The hill closed most of the refrozen south facing slopes such as Knot Chutes, Polar Peak and the Reverse Traverse, unfortunately this had the effect of closing many north facing areas which would have been very good skiing such as the Saddles, Easter Bowl and Cobra Rock. My own view is that they must work on warning us about the bad stuff while keeping access open to the good stuff - a little more effort is needed in this area.

We went to the Old Side, not because we thought it would be particularly good but just for a change. The icy Bear bumps were a good work out and we hit them several times. The North facing stuff off Cedar Ridge like Bear Cave Chutes and New Lift line to name but two were ok winter skiing. Kangaroo was just about ok in the top but the bottom section was ugly refrozen crud and the worst skiing on the hill - something we thought each time we skied it.

Very late morning we went to the New Side and the trees to lookers left of Lift Line were getting a little worn but still very good. After that I jumped into the top of a very icy Gun Bowl and found myself falling with a ski in my lap. On the way down I actually had time to notice that it was yet another broken heel binding that had bought me to this state. Ski Patrol were great as they sent a snow mobile to the Keno Flats to pick me up and take me to Timber Top where I could down load to base. It was about lunchtime so I had my sandwiches and formulated a plan. The plan involved skiing the afternoon on my rock skis so after lunch we went up the New Side to do that.

When I got out after one run down 1-2-3s and Diamond Leg Trees on the rock skis I had a rethink as with most of the hill closed and the conditions pretty indifferent I thought it was probably a good day to get my skis sorted. This is the third time in three years that my Look bindings have failed and every time it has been a fracture in the metal side walls in the heel bindings. It occurred to me that if this failure had happened in..... well, let's just say somewhere a lot steeper, then this might have had serious, if not life ending consequences. I will not be buying any more Look bindings ever.

I ran off the hill and went back to Straight Line who as you would expect looked after me well. After two years I couldn't expect a warranty claim but they took the bindings off my rock skis (which are almost new as they were a warranty claim on last years breaking heel bindings) and put them on my good skis which now become my rock skis. They also fixed me with a demo pair of the new pure carbon fibre Wailers which  are now called Alchemists - it's about time ski manufacturers stopped this nonsense and grew up, we don't need the same ski reinvented every few years by the marketing department thanks very much.

I got back to the hill just in time for a couple of runs before giving the skis a real test tomorrow. With so much of the hill closed we just had time for Anaconda 1 loop and then a quick run back through White Pass before dropping 1-2-3s and Diamond Leg Trees as the final run of the day. My impression of the new skis was that they were the same as the old except they were a bit lighter and more lively under foot and there was a bit more life and power off the tails of the skies, whether through less rocker or a stiffer tail I don't know.

A disappointing day for a whole range of reasons but as I type this it is +2 on the deck and snowing so who knows what tomorrow will hold.