Monday, 28 February 2011

Ski Day 18: This makes up for it

Vert: 6,885 m;  YTD Cum Vert: 138,470 m
Runs: 13;   YTD Cum Runs: 245

I have always wanted to give heli or cat skiing a try, just once to see what it's really like spending a day in knee deep powder always skiing fresh tracks. Then I have a day like today, and I realize that while cat skiing could be fun, hit the right day and I get it basically for free at Sunshine.

Today was a "right day" and made up for missing the weekend and then some. The hill reported only 5 cm but everywhere I went I found +20 cm and I spent most of my first day of retirement skiing up to my knees in untracked powder. You can do that on a Monday when there's only about 20% of the parking lot in use. I got fresh tracks on my last run, when I came down School Marm by the TeePee Town Chair.

Followers of this blog know I don't tend to get to School Marm, but the powder was so deep you could go anywhere, and I did, including Freefall (where I started an avalanche)...

...and saw warning signs I had never seen before.

Just to illustrate how quiet it was, here's a shot of Silver Scapegoat taken just before 11 AM. Think you could find fresh tracks here?
The day was not, however, without its issues. For instance, the snow was really slow, in part because of how deep it was, and in part because of the -20° AM temps. One thing that makes the above picture more impressive from an untracked perspective is that, coming along the traverse of Sunshine Coast, it was virtually impossible to make it over the flat to the top of Wildfire without walking. A long way. So everyone (all 10 of is what it felt like) was taking Scapegoat. The slow snow meant anything flat was dismal. Flats like from the base of Rolling Thunder to Goat's Eye base, the top of Angel Chair to the top of the Ecstasy run, the Paris Traverse, Cottontail to the ski out from TeePee Town, Meadow Park (in fact ANYTHING green) were all walking zones. It's a long walk from the base of the Big Woody to Goat's Eye.

Everyone I ran into (including me) was having goggle fogging problems. As you can see from the pictures, it was overcast, foggy and snowing all day. The combination of the falling snow, and the hard work of polling resulted in fogging problems. I played tour guide for a run this morning to a family of 4 from Kitchener who were at Sunshine for the first time, and we spent more time cleaning goggles on the run than skiing. But they had fun...

It did warm up during the afternoon and became a quite acceptable -14° or so. The light was never terrible, and it got better as the day progressed, with blue sky starting to peek through at 3 PM. But it was a bitter -24° in the parking lot at 3:30 pm, and at least 10 cm of snow had fallen on the cars. As I type this (in front of a warm fireplace) at 6 PM, it's -22° in Canmore, overcast with moderate winds, snowing and lots of blowing snow. 

I could get used to retirement days like this.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

JEALOUS-even if there were fogging and walking issues.
A cold day skiing is better than a warm day working.
BTW - you're still on vacation.