Feb 1: Fab riding, if…

…you could see it. There were certainly challenging spots where you couldn’t see it at all.

11:10 AM. Next to the Rockstar Terrain Park (probably)

I didn’t even try to take a picture of Bye Bye Bowl from the Angel Bench, because it simply wasn’t there. The combination of overcast and heavy snowfall meant you HAD to stay in trees everywhere. The Goat was without a doubt the best viz; up top was tolerable (even good near the fencelines) on Raptor and Sunshine Coast, but Eagle was a total whiteout in blowing snow.

What all that meant was this, if you even tried just a little to go find it.

12:25 PM. That’s ~18 cm off Strawberry.

The hill was reporting 4 cm to start the day, but it started snowing around 1 AM, and hadn’t let up when I left early at 2 PM. The automated systems (which are much less reliable than they used to be) say that 11 cm had fallen just by 3 PM alone. Add a bit of wind transport (winds were there but not really that bothersome today) and you could readily get in over you knees in untracked in spots.

If you could see it.

12:25 pm. Where I could see it.

12:50 pm. More stuff I could see.

I tried Standish and it was a misery of no viz and surprise windrows even when I was cuddled up to the trees. The Standish face was wind-loaded, but so what. It was utter braille skiing and you could barely make out the lift towers, so not any fun whatsoever.

However… anywhere within spitting distance of trees on Strawberry, Wawa, Wolverine or the Goat was downright awesome.

1:25 PM. Rolling Thunder freshies

So even though I had only a few runs in the good spots because I had to leave early, they were really, really good runs. Temps were very nice, too; in the -3° range in the village (warmer in the parking lot, but still snow, not the “R” word).

This weekend will be… interesting. The mega cold arctic air mass should hit Sunshine sometime between 3 PM and 6 PM Saturday, and the temps will just start crashing from the -6° range mid afternoon to -15° or lower by 6 PM. Winds could be a factor tomorrow before 2 PM, but when that cold air mass arrives, expect the winds to die and flip directions, from the southwest switching to winds from the northeast. Along the way, we’re gonna get a LOT of snow; the storm amount could be upwards of 30 cm. Most should fall before 6 AM tomorrow, but it’s probably going to keep snowing through the day. Then…

Sunday’s going to be bitter, with on hill highs around -28°. Yikes. Expect delayed gondola starts and watch for frostbite. It won’t even be sunny Sunday; probably snowing lightly. Tragically, I’m not seeing any moderating to these temps for a week.

So:

  • Get to the hill early Saturday. Hit the freshies.
  • Hit the Goat in the AM. It’s gonna be socked in and still snowing, and the winds could pick up. You want to get the Goat rides in before any risk of wind slows or closures.
  • Watch for overnight wind transport. The trees are your friend, but the windrows in the trees may not be.
  • Don’t plan on leaving the hill late, or your drive home could be mighty chilly indeed

Tin Can Alley will be closed all day Saturday and Sunday for racing, meaning no access to the Tin Can Trees (save that good stuff for Monday).

Speaking of trees, I just couldn’t resist a test of what used to be called Barney’s Trees (left of Sky Dive, right of Fall Line). The conditions in there are challenging but the powder is quite deep. Getting in from Sky Dive is rocky; take it very slowly. And watch for wind features. I came around one tree and there was this wind scour that went right to ground through 1 m of snow. Scary.

1:40 PM. Fall line to the left, Scapegoat straight ahead. The photo’s awful, but there are zero tracks and boot top deep powder is everywhere.