April 19, 2000

The Witching Hour

As a result of sloth, bad planning and general incompetence, I don't often seem to hit the sweet part of the day during spring skiing, but today I blundered directly into the magic hour. It was warm and sunny and I feared my near eleven o'clock start would be too late, but a run down the sun drenched Currie Chutes found just a couple of centimeters of new melt on a smooth firm surface. It was a carving delight - but do skip the avalanche debris. :-) The bottom of the gully is still skiable, but lower down the skiers left is pretty rotted out and there is even a bare spot on the right of the gully, but it is easily avoided. Some of the alder stumps are starting to poke through the snow on left of the gully and these form really nasty punji stakes that definitely need to be on your radar.

Over on the old side I did a run down Snake Main in a few centimeters of melted surface that was a bit sticky, but still well within my pleasure zone. The KC chutes were also very fine, but watch for pointy things crawling out of the snow pack. I even managed to get back for another nice run down Steep and Deep before the express train to mushville pulled into the station. The additional gravity boost of this slope helped compensate for the increase in stickiness and excellent bite made negotiating the increasing twiggy lower section a breeze. Indeed the skiing almost seemed too easy as the runs just melted away leaving me at the bottom all too quickly.

Even mogul runs like Punji chutes could be cruised on auto pilot thanks to the compliant snow and smooth, rounded, ski anywhere moguls. Because there was almost nobody here, these weren't being carved into sharp side sculptures as they softened in the usual spring manner.

All in all it was just damn fine, even for a spring skiing doubter like me. Of course timing is everything and if I had been out a couple of hours earlier or later you would probably be reading a lot of wailing about ice or disinterested mutterings about mush and slop.

Only five more days left folks.

At 3:10 PM it is flat out gorgeous out with brilliant sunshine, a light wind and my still shady porch thermometer nearing 18 C.

The rocks of the Knots Chutes seem to get bigger by the day.

Falling Star runs almost invisibly across this picture, with the lower portion being the drop off of it into Shakey's Acres and the upper part being the cliff band behind it.

The standard Currie/Valley shot from the top of White Pass, but today with a rather snow free valley bottom.

Although there are bare spots to be avoided, the bottom of the hill has held up much better than I expected. This is taken from near the bottom of the Mighty Moose.

Looking across Cedar Bowl from the top of Steep and Deep results in a pretty good map of Cedar Ridge.