Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Ski Day 20: Busted

Vert: 7,070 m;   YTD Cum Vert: 155,610 m
Runs: 10;   YTD Cum Runs: 274

My friend Carol was supposed to join me today, but based on the weather forecast, she bailed. And wisely so. It was warmer than expected, with -1° at Goat's Eye Base at 10 AM. But it was overcast, snowing and up top, the wind was howling. All the nice powder we have had this week was moving past horizontally at 80 km/hr, making for windblown hard pack conditions with very poor viz above treeline. Below treeline wasn't a heck of a lot better. The powder was being blown to wind slabs, and although fresh tracks kept forming as snow filled in the existing tracks, the new stuff was firmer. The lower you got the better it got, and in fact the ungroomed edges of places like Rolling Thunder were sweet indeed. However, there weren't many of them (the top of Afterburner was another, but the bumps at the bottom were brutal).

I continued my exploration of infrequently visited places. They opened the South Side Chutes, and I was tempted to take the traverse, but you faced an 80 km snow-filled headwind, and folks told me the walk wasn't fun. So I took the lower traverse entrance from the top of Cleavage & Ewe First. You could at least make headway along here, and this is the view from the entry gate.
I did two runs, the first time getting as far as Think Again, the second sticking closer to the fenceline in the photo. I can't say I recommend it that much. First, there's obvious avi debris evidence. Avis don't create fluffy debris fields. However, if you stayed beside, but out of, the avi paths, it was pretty nice if windblown. Second, getting out was a nightmare. Again. I "discovered" this last year and wrote about it here. The exit path is still narrow, still bumpy, still fast, still in dense trees. I'm actually glad I was alone; it's not a place to run into traffic. Both times I was in there I looked up to see others in the higher entrance -- swirling in the wind and the snow. Made me glad not to be up there.

There's a paucity of photos today. I forgot my normal camera, and had only the one on the iPhone. To use it requires taking your gloves off. Taking the one photo above required a full run to re-warm my hands. I wasn't going to do that if I didn't have to.

My day was shortened by an oops. I was waffling on the weather at 12:30 as the winds got stronger and stronger. I decided to take a couple more runs, then take a late lunch down at Creekside and bail (today was grocery day, and I had to leave early anyway). I was bopping down Rolling Thunder and pulled into the nice powder at the base of the steep pitch. I suspect I ran over my ski pole, but for whatever reason took a pretty cool tumble that was a double somersault (I was doing 28 km/hr at the time according to my GPS). Yard sale. When I got everything back together, I realized my ski pole had lost a basket. My brand new, 3 day old ski pole. The one that I bought to replace the one with the broken basket. Hmmn. I have tried to ski with no basket before; it's very problematic, as your pole tends to just sink in which screws up your balance. So I bailed a run or two early to get it fixed.

It costs $5 for a new basket, by the way. Installed.

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