February 18, 2000
The pleasant effects of Tuesday's dump are still evident, to varying degrees, all over the hill. This is good as this is the winter long weekend in Alberta which usually means the busiest days of the season. I wondered if it would already be busy today and the base area certainly seemed to be bustling when I arrived around one. It wasn't bad though and with the exception of the Face Lift, I did not encounter anything beyond the merest of lift lines. All the lifts and runs are once again open and last year the new lifts did an amazing job of consuming the hordes. It will be interesting to see how they make out this year.
The best snow I encountered was probably on Snake Ridge. Even the center Cedar runs like Trillium and Blueberry had lots of powder left on them and while they really aren't steep enough for serious powder, this stuff looked light enough to make it pretty tempting. I only headed over that way once though - a mistake in hindsight - and I kept going right over to Red Tree. This was pretty packed right at the top, but at least where I headed down the powder turns slowly took over from the packed as I descended and even better the powder had remained fluffy and delightful.
There were still some soft turns in Easter too, but it is going fast. Farther down the hill, the ice (okay I guess it's just hard snow) is making itself ever more evident. The top part of the Bear Chutes was quite nice, but down in the lower trees the crunchies dominated even when still covered with fluff. The steep section on Decline also had lots of scraped slick sections, but there were a lot of very silky soft turns available as well - scrape, swoosh, scrape, swoosh etc.
Most of the new snow in the Concussion Chutes has already been beaten into lumps and where I did find some old chop it was a bit stiff and edging towards crud. If you dug deep enough though you could still find the occasional fluff turn and even if not, most of the packed stuff up top was still pretty nice. Down in the rain zone, which fortunately is below most of the steeper stuff, hard is slowly taking over from the newer soft stuff though.
A lasting legacy of this weeks powder is that the lower groomed runs, which had been pretty hard, are now all (meaning the very few I was on) very good.
I heard it was pretty cool up on the hill this morning, but it was pleasant when I was out. The sun shone in most of the valley today, but the hill was almost always under a cloud. The resulting bright horizon and dark foreground was less than ideal for picture taking and while the skiing visibility certainly wasn't bad, I found it a bit lacking at times. The Griz even dangled a few fat flakes from time to time, but it was only a tease.
At twenty to six this evening, my porch thermometer is claiming -5 C and the
sky is pretty much clear except for the cloud still hanging over the hill.