Mar 23: 11-4

Sorry for not posting yesterday; it was First Aid Refresher day.

And, as luck would have it, without knowing much about conditions, I was assigned a tour today (a nice couple from St. Louis, and a gentleman from Florida). I got up to the village at 9 and was met with those concrete conditions that make me not a fan of spring skiing. My morning was spent looking for softer snow, and it took me until 10:15 AM to find it on Jerry’s Run.

The issue was the high haze, which reduced sun intensity, stopped temps from getting too high too fast (and made my choice of goggle lenses more complicated than I hoped).

10:20 AM. The haze from the top of Standish.

Things that normally soften early due to sun exposure (Wawa Bowl, Boutry Face & Standish face) didn’t. At 10:00, (ungroomed) Wawa Bowl was still rutted concrete and (groomed) Birdcage was better but not by much. While Jerry’s was good by 10:15, Boutry wan’t, and the Strawberry Trees were still concrete at 1:45 PM. (Groomed) South Divide was firm and chattery at 11 AM…

11 AM. Wisely, no one in ungroomed (and rock hard) Bye Bye.

…and hadn’t improved that much by 2 PM. In short, until mid-afternoon when the haze seemed to let up a bit, temperature was what was making the difference, and not sun. It took until 11 AM to break 0° in the village, and that was when the good stuff finally started appearing. Top Divide was calm but never broke 0° all day, so only softened late in the day with the lifting of the haze.

When things got good, the carving was very nice indeed, but shade still had to be avoided. I went up to the top of the Dive with my tour guests; the Dive entrances look OK but I can’t say how good or not the skiing was.

2:15 PM. The Goat from the Lookout.

The Goat has suffered a lot from this last week. There are little dirt patches on the Sunshine Coast traverse, and in all sorts of other strange spots. I rode the South Side Chutes last weekend; they didn’t look like this:

10:20 AM. Yowza.

Here’s a blow up of just the Road entrance, R1, R2, D2, Me2 and the fans. Look at how many rocks are showing. R1 is unskiable with rocks through the entrance; R2 (the main Wildside) chute has multiple wide rock bands. The ridge between R1 and R2 is all rock. There’s evidence of a wet avalanche in Farside chute. Spot release avalanches have exposed nothing but rock in the Renegade area. The ridge between Widside and Farside is all rock. I suspect the SSC’s won’t open without a new and substantial snow fall.

LOOK at all the rocks!

And MAN, do we need snow. Anyone look at the snow pillow recently?

That’s not good.

So today, between 11 and 4, was pretty darned good. Before 11 wasn’t much fun at all, so if you’re riding in the next few days, don’t be in a rush to get to the hill, but do plan on staying till the lifts close at 4:30 pm.

The forecast is looking like more overcast and colder temps starting tomorrow or Monday (without sun or new snow, cold temps aren’t good). Snow looks like it will start Monday, and we could see some good accumulations prior to next weekend. Winter’s coming back, but not with any kind of vengeance, I think. I probably won’t get back to the hill until winter does, too.