This hasn’t been a stellar season for me. I have four days on the planks and over the past 20 years it’s unusual if I don’t have 4 days in by Christmas. This year my best pow day was 5cms at Sunshine and I skied Louise for the first time last weekend. But the universe has now been restored to normal as of yesterday. Louise had 40cms of new snow in the morning and I’m pretty sure that’s their biggest dump since before Christmas. It goes without saying that it was an epic day so let’s get straight to the photo evidence.
Being a powder day, it took several runs before I even considered taking the camera out of my pocket. This is the view as we disembarked the Top of the World chair. Didn’t take long for the deep powder to get trampled, did it? The ride up the chair was mostly in pea soup fog but as you can see, the back bowls were clear. Despite the low visibility we resisted the temptation to head into the back bowls because there was a ton of sweet pow on the front and everyone was avoiding it because of the fog. But it actually wasn’t that bad at ground level.
This is the cat track down to the poma. Notice all the fresh pow below? Notice that there’s nobody around? We could ski straight onto the Top of The World chair and got in a ton of laps on virtually untracked snow. I’m sure the back chutes off the poma would have been epic but there was a huge line that looked like at least 20 minutes of wasted time (I confirmed that estimate later in the afternoon). I’ve done laps on the poma on many powder days and as a rule you stay on the front side because it’s a long way to get back. But with that big of a line I’d be spending more time standing than skiing. This is what the glades looked like just below Sunset Terrace. Why even consider standing in a lift line?
So the best fresh tracks were the first 5 runs on the front. When I finally dropped into the back bowls I was a bit disappointed with the ice crust under the snow. Don’t get me wrong, it was still really good but not a sweet as floating through trees. My next best run of the day was Big 7 / ER6 off the Paradise chair. I had to side slip through a nasty bit of rocks but bellow that the run was raw sugar – hero snow from top to bottom. My next run was on Swedes/The Heart and although there were only a few small patches of fresh snow, the churned up stuff was still boot deep. My next best run of the day was in the Ptarmigan Glades. This shot is the track I left. Since I had to stop and recover my breath I decided to take a quick shot back up the run.
Needless to say I was still pretty giddy when we decided to stop for lunch. But the legs were tired and I was starting to get pretty hungry. A barbecued hot dog and fries solved that problem. Washed down with a Coke, I wouldn’t call it the most nutritious of lunches but it tasted awesome! By the time we left the Temple Lodge the sun was out and giving off an incredible warmth. The day was about to get even better!
Having ventured off on my own for about an hour before lunch I thought I’d be nice and ski a few runs with Estelle. I’m generally not a huge fan of Larch but there were some sweet fluffy bumps on Larch Poma that made me think that I was a free styler. OK far from it but the pitch is forgiving and the bumps were perfect. It’s why they call it hero snow. We did a couple on Larch and then a couple on Meadowlark. Meadowlark was excellent from top to bottom and pretty much deserted. With only an hour left I decided to finally bite the bullet and stand in the poma line. Yup. About 20 minutes. Since I knew I wouldn’t be doing that again, I decided to hike the Stairway to Heaven into Boundary Bowl.
Sorry, no shots in Boundary Bowl as I was ripping it from top to bottom. OK, I had to stop and gasp for air about half way down the bowl – I’m not that big of a stud. On my descent down the bottom half of Boundary, I can remembering thinking, “this is why I ski!” The day was pure soul satisfying fun from start to finish. Even my last run down the front side was a blast. There was still great snow down to about the last 100m above the lodge. It was a long wait this season before getting the kind of powder day that we all dream of. But it patience paid off. Never write off a season even if it hasn’t been the greatest. It only takes one day make everything alright.