Saturday, 18 January 2014

Jan 18: Poached, sunny side up

No, not eggs.

It was sunny today at Sunshine. Seriously sunny. Sunny as in "it's January but you need sunscreen" sunny.

The sunrise on the Monarch. 9:10 AM
What's the story, Morning Glory? 9:30 AM
The best stuff I found in the morning was clearly the really awesome groomers. Stuff not groomed seemed to have set up overnight, and was a bit firm until skier traffic got on it. And given that it was a typically busy Saturday at Sunshine -- lift lines that were occasionally those 5 minute consequential lines that came and went -- the traffic did scrub a lot of stuff up to make it generally really rideable through the day.


My friend Ginger took my advice of yesterday and hit Goat's Eye and the Scapegoat traverse first thing. It seems that the sun got on it yesterday, and the folks got on it, both after I was there. The end of the Scapegoat traverse -- which was OK when I was there -- was "really bad" in the morning, and a disaster when I got there at 3:45 PM.
Rocks everywhere
There was no way through this bit without hitting rocks. A lot of rocks (and I swapped out my rock skis last week). Not recommended.

Farther along that traverse into Cleavage, Ewe First and Goat's Head Soup, I thought it would get better. Nope. There was a substantial sun crust, and the joyous powder -- that I rode and wrote about yesterday -- was poached. Wet. Ruined.
Crusty, lumpy, wet spring snow after it had re-frozen
Yes, folks. The avalanche awareness dudes have been telling you about how the snow is changing, and sun affectation has been an issue with avalanches the last few days. And in here, the snow was critically affected by the sun. Choppy, frozen, lumpy, crusty, challenging -- you name it. Everything but the wondrous powder I rode yesterday. Break through that crust with your hand and you could make snowballs.
Looks like powder. Not powder. Crust on slop.
Thank goodness the rest of the hill was great. And by great, I mean awesome. As I tell folks, the best day you can have will be driven by the conditions of the day. The groomed stuff everywhere was wonderful. The ungroomed stuff in the shade during the afternoon heat of the sun (Standish face, Paris Basin and the like) remain pristinely soft, carveable, and wicked, because it's not getting warm. It never broke 0° in the village today. The sun has power again (at least this week). Power to change the snow where the sun hits it in the afternoon.

And so everything I rode that had PM shade, or was groomed within the last few days, or saw a lot of skier traffic, was just freaking beautiful. It was a cruising day, not a powder day.

Let us await the next snowfall.

No comments: