Feb 14: Powder love

Wow. What a day. If you missed it, I feel sorry for you.

It sure didn’t start well. Before 10:30 AM up on the hill, it; looked like this:

9:55 AM, somewhere up on Divide

9:55 AM, somewhere up on Divide. Probably.

Hammering snow. Zero viz. Yeuch.

The snow started falling at about 4 AM, and dumped 5 cm just between 6 AM and 7 AM. It was even hammering down in the parking lot by later in the morning.

The deck. 10:30 AM

The deck. 10:30 AM

The Gondola, 10:35 AM

The Gondola, 10:35 AM

It was snowing just as hard up top.

Below OS pitch, 10:40 AM

Below OS pitch, 10:40 AM

The automated data told me that only 4 cm fell all day, but one of the cat drivers reported that he couldn’t find his tracks after a 20 min lap of Strawberry at 6 AM. I didn’t take any pole shots today, but I was readily able to find 10+ cm no matter where I went. And then there was the blow in that just made things better near fences and trees.

Between 10:30 & 10:45 AM up on the hill, the snow dwindled, and the sun broke out…

Mt. Borgeau appears. 10:45 AM

Mt. Borgeau appears. 10:45 AM

Standish and Strawberry appear, 10:45 AM

Standish and Strawberry appear, 10:45 AM

…and by noon, we were bathed in glorious sunshine.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wawa, from the base of the Angel traverse, 12:30 PM

 

That sunshine exposed all the fantastic powder that was around.

The Monarch, 12:25 PM

The Monarch, 12:25 PM

From then on, the day was just f$%^ing awesome. Powder was everywhere. Untracked powder was, too, if you knew where to look.

All those tracks were made by my tour group. They loved the powder. 2 PM

All those tracks were made by my tour group. They loved the powder. 2 PM

I was all over everywhere today. It was an incredible day. I was worried that the slightly warm temps (just below zero) and sunshine would turn things to slop. Nope. Not a hope. I took my tour to my favourite powder stashes, and they became powder pigging converts. They loved the untracked on Rick’s Ridge, in the Assiniboine Flats and in the gully at the bottom of Bye Bye Bowl (which I heard was awesome, but is off-limits to my tours). At 3:30 PM, I took them to my favourite overlook of the South Sides, and counted 12 — twelve — tracks in the Ashtray area. There was powder o’plenty, and just about perfect conditions to enjoy it.

I will admit that because almost all the snow fell after grooming, some of the groomed runs (like World Cup Downhill, Hill 205, and others) became a bit bumpy this afternoon. The snow that is falling in these warm temps is heavier than I’m used to, but that’s been happening a lot in the last few weeks. So the powder puffs are becoming pseudo-moguls faster.

I did not do the ski out today. When I arrived, it was raining in the parking lot (that rain turned to snow as the morning progressed), and it was above zero anywhere below the Curve station. My inside reliable sources told me that the snow changes dramatically at the Curve station, and below that, there are exposed puddles, ice and even dirt patches.

Me? Don’t care. Because at Goat’s Eye base and above, the conditions are remarkably, awesomely, phenomenally, powderiffically spectacular.