Monday, 27 April 2009

Ski Day 29: Come On In, the Powder's Fine

Vert: 10,275 m YTD Cum Vert: 270,710 m
Runs: 17 YTD Cum Runs: 530

It was snowing when we left the West Wing, and when I saw this at Goat's Eye base...

...I was nervous about what kind of day it would be. But up top, this is what we found:

The clouds rolled in and out most of the morning, and the powder was real powder, not wet cement.

The afternoon was a mix of sun and cloud, but it most definitely stayed winter, though temps rose to +3° at Divide base, and the sun itself was pretty warm when it was out. There was hardly anyone here at all...

...and very few caught the Stills.

They call it "spring skiing", but today was very much a winter day.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Ski Day 28: Winter's Still Here

Vert: 8,810 m YTD Cum Vert: 260,435 m
Runs: 16 YTD Cum Runs: 513

Sub zero and cloudy AM...

turns to overcast & snow by 11...

& serious snow by 2 PM, reducing viz to zero in many places.

Conditions were pretty hard everywhere, but much better on Goat's Eye than elsewhere, as even Assiniboine Flats was a dusting covering super hard ice crust. It never warmed up, staying a very wintery -5 at the base of Divide, so softening of the ice never occurred.

The run of the day, though, was Bye Bye Bowl, as they had groomed a fairly wide strip, and about 4 cm had fallen on top of it, so the turns were very sweet, but you couldn't see a thing.

We intended to stick around for the Stills concert, but the light got so flat and the snow falling so heavy that we decided to exit early. Even at 2 PM, there was a very silky 4 cm new in the village area, and the snow was falling heavily all the way down to the parking lot.

The ski out is fine, though wet below the curve station and B-Line. I suspect tomorrow will be a good day. Despite the Stills, it wasn't busy.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Ski Day 27: Winter's Back

Vert: 9,620 m YTD Cum Vert: 251,625 m (that's over 825,000 vertical feet...)
Runs: 19 YTD Runs: 497

The day dawned bright, almost sunny, & cold...

and even though no fresh snow was reported, the stuff that fell yesterday must have blown in big time, because the turns from top to bottom were generally pretty soft, with highlights being anything above tree line, especially on Goat's Eye. There were a few hard pack and semi-icy sections here and there (mostly in the lift corrals) and the south facing slopes between Red 90, Boundary Bowl and Angel Flight had obviously been through more than a few freeze thaw cycles. But generally, the snow is in excellent shape.

And more fell. It clouded over completely by noon and snowed all afternoon.

Sadly, it was those micro sized things, not big fat fluffy flakes. The temp rose to zero at the base of Divide, and +8 in the village, but it sure felt colder.

Coverage remains excellent, with virtually no rocks, and only the extreme lower sections of the ski out (and the main track near the Curve Station) are showing damage. Hint: Take B-Line.

I spoke with some folks who did the Dive yesterday, and reports are that aside from a not terribly pleasant rocky entrance, it's apparently excellent, especially the lower sections. Ski Patrol has been bombing Silver City and cutting some lines, but no word if it will open or not.

Front Row for Diana Krall

Diana Krall came to town on Karen's birthday, and since we're both fans, it seemed like a good birthday present. I managed to get front row seats (though fan club seating, which actually worked out quite well except for the fact that the seats were three from the end, so at quite an oblique angle). Now, front row seats have advantages & disadvantages. There was a speaker about two feet away from us. There was another speaker blocking our view of the drummer & bassist. So all we could see of Diana was this:

But that's not bad.

The concert was very melancholy, but she did 4 Nat King Cole songs, chatted a lot about Elvis & the kids, told funny stories about playing in a bar in Washington DC and meeting Obama, improvised a wicked version of "You've Got A Friend In Me", and proved that she can play...

and boy, can she sing.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Skiin' Where The Sun Don't Shine

Vert: 9,715 m YTD Cum Vert: 242,005 m
Runs: 15 YTD Cum Runs: 478

To have great spring skiing, you need one of two things: all day sun or all day temps above zero. Without one of these two things, the snow never softens, and the snow remains rock-like. That was the problem today. It dawned with blue sky...

but clouded over by 10 AM before the sun could really do its magic.

And it started chilly, -6° at Goat's Eye base at 9 AM, and though it got to about +5° by 1 PM, that wasn't enough warming to affect much. Accordingly, the only softening that took place (if you can call it that) was to the level of the last pitches of Freefall, Gladerunner, Scapegoat and Rolling Thunder. Everything above there remained hard, and it was only skier traffic that ground the surface down to some sugar like material. Things that were not groomed were brutal, unlike yesterday.

On the bright side, coverage remains great, with no consequential exposed rocks that are not obvious.

Since we arrived early (and shook our legs to bits for hours on the tough as nails exposed death cookies), we left early, almost getting out 10,000 m without leaving Goat's Eye, but based on the weather, suspect not much changed after 2 PM, so don't think we missed much.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Do you like Spring Skiing?

Vert: 10,105 m YTD Cum Vert: 232,290 m
Runs: 21 YTD Cum Runs: 463

It is spring, in the mountains at least. Rock hard before noon, sloppy corn by 1 PM on sunny south faces no matter the altitude (such as Boundary Bowl, Angel Flight), freeze/thaw reliant on temperature to soften on the north faces (like TP Town Chutes), and the odd rock or two showing up. There really was an inch or two of fresh stuff overnight, though I suspect it was rain below the base of Goat's Eye, and aside from the top of the top in the first hour or so, made little difference to the conditions. The morning started more overcast than sun, but it didn't spoil the party.

In the end, it hit +10 in the village, +8 at Divide Base in all day sun.

There were a lot of people in the Dive today, and riding up on TeePee Town Chair, we caught this view of folks who had done a lot of traversing to get to fresh tracks

So if you like spring skiing, today was paradise. And by the lineups, there's a lot of people who like spring skiing -- to the tune of 3.6 km of cars past the gates, and 8-10 min lineups pretty much everywhere except Goat's Eye before 11. How typical.