Dec 7: Fast

First off, apologies for the short hiatus. I had a problem with my back that turns out wasn’t as serious as first thought, so I ended up with 12 days off skiing. But I’m back now…

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you’l have seen me write:

“There are powder days, and there are groomer days.

Know the difference, and ride accordingly”.

These days are groomer days. Not only was there no consequential snow in the last 12 days, the last real snowfall was way back on November 16/17. So let me be clear on this: there’s no in-bounds untracked powder left. And I know where to look, and I went looking, too.

So today was a “Zoom the Groom” day, and if you targeted stuff groomed overnight, the riding was superb and the snow very fast. It was made even better by the mostly sunny day.

11:20 AM. Angel Bench

11:20 AM. Looking down on the as yet unbuilt terrain park

Here’s an example of how little untracked there is. This is the lower gully of Bye Bye, that often has stashes in it. Nothing but tracks.

1:05 PM. It skis fine, but there’s no powder here.

Coverage remains surprisingly good considering the lack of snow and amount of traffic. The grooming team deserve all the credit. The only area I would caution about is the last pitch of the Little Bunkers and Creek Run; both are fairly bumpy, and there are rocks showing. Ride carefully. And just below there, exiting Prune Picker’s Pass is very well tracked; caution is advised.

Still, it sure was pretty.

Wawa Chair. 2 PM

2:05 PM. Top of Wawa

Latest updates:

  • The ski out is not yet open, but it’s very close. Snowmaking will end today or tomorrow, and then the equipment needs to be removed and drained. In truth, it just looked terribly unrideable today. None of the snow that’s been made has been groomed out, it’s all just roughly cat packed. Word has it riding a snowmobile up it is a real challenge; I can only imagine how tough it would be to ski down it (and people, of course, were ignoring the closure sign, and doing it anyway. Don’t be like them).
  • Goat’s Eye is at least 1 or more big, serious snowfall away from opening. Trail Crew was up there a few days ago and reports the skiing as “horrible” with no base.
  • Telemetry on the Stonehenge weather station remains down. I’ll see if I can get an ETA on it getting fixed when I’m up tomorrow. I’ve been using the Parks Canada Avalanche site for temps and winds, but it goes down at ~9 PM and always seems to be 2-3 hrs behind. In the morning at 7 AM, I’m looking at 4 AM or 5 AM data, for example.
  • Free hot chocolate starts tomorrow! Come get a cup of sugar to start your day!

Speaking of temps, it was chilly today but not as windy as I expected. There was a small inversion to start the day; -15° in Banff but only -12° up top. It got up to -9° but didn’t feel like it. It’s that time of the year when the sun really offers nothing but light in the sky instead of warming rays.