Dec 29: Crazy snowy, crazy windy

I was going to title this post “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day”, but there was no Winnie metaphor I could come up with, though The Blustery Dy fit pretty well.

The Parks wind station at the top of Divide was down from 9 AM till just before 1 PM, so I don’t really know how windy it was then, but after an OK start to the morning, lifts started shutting around 11 AM. First Angel and TeePee, then 90 min later Divide, then the Goat. Winds on the towers for all the lifts were breaking 110 km/hr when they were shut. From 1 PM on, winds at the top were a steady 40 km/hr with gusts to the 60’s.

9:00 AM. Angel starts up… for a while.

I didn’t get up high early, but those who did (and I trust) told me it was a howling white out in blizzard conditions, though when you hit tree line, it got a lot better.

9:00 AM. Looking at The Goat.

It just dumped snow all day. The hill was reporting 9 cm overnight, and I recorded this pole test late afternoon.

3:45 PM. That’s about 22 cm.

In truth, getting an honest pole test was tough. Wind transport was everywhere, and I was blasting knee deep stuff in lots of spots. I had a 70 cm test in one place, and a 45 cm test in the Strawberry Surprise trees. The Parks station is reporting 17 cm in 24 hrs as of 5 PM.

It was one of the busiest days of the year, and between that and the closure of our big, high capacity chairs, there were ~10 min lineups everywhere (except of course at the Goat and Wolverine in the morning, and at Strawberry & Standish in the afternoon, where lineups were nonexistent. I keep saying: people here ride in very predictable patterns, and if you go against the crowd, all is good).

In truth, the riding was SO good, that no one seemed to care about the lines. The Tin Can Trees were the best they’ve been all year. I took out a tour today (some days are actually challenging to be a tour guide) and by hiding in or near the trees, we had some truly awesome runs all over the mountain. The gullies of the Bunkers were amazing, the edges of Wawa Bowl were deep and silky, and we found untracked powder at 3:30 PM on Wolverine, of all places. No, it was not a massive vert day, but it was very sweet anyway.

Now, what will happen tomorrow? The forecasts I believe say the temperatures (which were in the -6°C range during the day today) will drop a bit to the minus teens (that’s 5°F) during the day tomorrow, the winds will die to “normal” or below levels, snow will continue to fall tonight and into tomorrow (though not at today’s rates) and the storm should finally break by mid-afternoon tomorrow. Which means…

GET THEE TO THE HILL

That no one rode Divide, TeePee, Angel or the Goat today means there will be BAGS of untracked powder in the good spots (though the wind will have scoured some places on Divide, make sure to check the Bye Bye Gully, Assiniboine Flats and OS Pitch for deep powder). The Goat will be especially fine, espectially first thing in the morning (where I keep telling you to start your day). Be aware of windrows and be cautious in the lee of snow fences because there will be BIG drifts lurking.