Sunday, 7 February 2010

Ski Day 13: To The Farside & Beyond

Vert: 11,235 m YTD Cum Vert: 133,235 m
Runs: 20 YTD Cum Runs: 224

There were a lot of similarities to yesterday without the morning fog deck at Sunshine, so it was clear and sunny all day, though a bit colder, with AM temps in the -12° range and PM highs of -3°. The fog stayed in the Palliser Valley all day, so was visible.

This cold coupled with yesterday's warmth put some of the snow through a free-thaw cycle, and cause the day to start with icy ruts on slopes that had seen warm sun the previous day (notably Upper Freefall and Upper Afterburner). Bound and determined to seek out better freshies today, I ventured across the Cleavage traverse and got into Wildside, Farside and Think Again a few times, where I indeed found snow that was much less tracked. Here's the "space" I was playing in:

The traverse enters the photo at the extreme left at the top and cuts diagonally across. From left to right, the runs in the trees are Ewe First, Mother In Law and Goat's Head Soup, though to me it's just one endless face of glades. The first main gully on the right is Wildside, then the next chute past the trees on the right is Farside. Past there, just out of the photo on the right, is Think Again. However, the traverse from Cleavage across is "brutal" (as one ski patroller described it) with mega icy bumps and exposed (and hidden) rocks. I found it best to take a few turns down Ewe First and then traverse just below the big rock patch at the top left.

The glades are steep. Here's some shots from near the top of Goat's Head Soup. The first is a shot across the hill, the second looking down the route. The target is to get to one of the cat tracks in the woods at the bottom (from where the above photo was taken on one of the times I actually made it to the cat track...). Note the dense trees on the lower left centre of the photo.

If you get all the way over to Think Again, the other runs that are beyond it (Renegade, Stampede and Saddledome) look pretty benign. At least the bottom part.

But I think I found out why they call it "Think Again". The bail out route at the bottom is through those dense trees I mentioned above. One very narrow, packed, not flat, fairly icy track. It looks bigger from "up high".

It isn't big at all.

So after scaring the crap out of myself in the morning, I spent the afternoon in a very benign way running endless laps in Bye Bye Bowl, where the views over Citadel Pass to Mt. Assiniboine were lovely as usual.

I was by myself today; KC had to work StupidBowl. Hence the "devil-may-care" attitude. I'm braver when I have no one to rescue me.

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