December 30, 2000

Curmudgeon Again

Alas my string of upbeat reports has stalled at one. While last Wednesday's little dump was most welcome, it also proved to be a solitary event and in the absence of new snow, the holiday crowds have had their inevitable effect. This is not to say that there weren't some very good turns out there and if you looked very hard, even some very nice runs (my lips and fingertips are sealed). Maybe it would even have been, as someone suggested, a good day at Louise.

On the other hand there were rocks, gravel and bare spots in abundance on many of the runs. Dipsy was close enough to a quarry to make Fred Flintstone feel at home and I am sure they could set up a profitable P-Tex reclamation center there next summer. Even Bear had generous quantities of gravel and you sometimes found yourself linking patches of snow in a way reminiscent of powder on ice. Almost all the runs I took today were noticeably worse than a couple of days ago. Even Falling Star, while still excellent in the area between Milky Way and Morning Glory, is littered with rocks below that and no longer serves as a decent escape from Timber.

The good news is the snow, what there is of it, is still of very good quality. It cuts well and while there are a few firm spots in the heavy traffic areas, there is nothing that even I could call icy. Both Lizard and Cedar have lots of areas with nice soft, but growing, moguls. I even managed a decent run down Shakey's Acres and the bowl below the Knot Chutes. One definitely had to keep ones eyes open and make wise route selections, but the snow was definitely friendly, albeit used and even Silver Lining no longer presents a good way back to the lift.

I noticed that the official faxed report claims excellent skiing on groomed. Hmm? I suppose if they mean there are places on the groomed where the skiing is excellent, I could agree, but if the normal rules of English are applied I think an award for fiction may be appropriate. Many, if not most, of the groomed runs I was on, had at least sections that were far from excellent and sometimes downright awful. They also tended to be rather busy as the hordes (a patroller said he heard 4000 folks yesterday) were kind of confined on them.

One other bright spot (literally), was that it was just gorgeous at the top of the mountain today. It was one of those valley cloud days with mountains sticking out like islands in a shimmering, sun bathed sea. That alone made the trip up worthwhile.

At 7:30 it is -5 C at the house and cloudy.

If nothing else it was pretty. The view down the valley from the Lizard gun tower.

Looking across Cedar Bowl from the same spot.

A small part of the Dipsy Quarry. An amazing number of people seemed determined to make their way through an all but impassible collection of rocks.

Lower Cedar Center. The moguls are getting more pointy and there are more things to look out for, but this run is still pretty decent.

The top of Timber Express. At the right is the climb up to the Siberia Ridge (closed).

Another valley and clouds picture, this time from upper Falling Star. The knoll in the center is the same walk up to Siberia Ridge as in the previous picture.

Mammoth Head, also from Falling Star. It doesn't have much to do with skiing, but was a neat view, especially with the clouds flowing through Lost Boy pass and down into Siberia Bowl.