Heinz's Report - March 20, 2003

Variable Spring Conditions

I�ve managed to get out every day this week and to say the conditions were variable would be an understatement. The official ski area report lists the conditions as hard pack on top and slushy spring conditions on the bottom. Pretty accurate. I would add that the conditions at the top on the hard pack this week were made more variable based on how much sun we got during the day. The best day was Wednesday when we had clear skies all day, with Monday a close second because of some scattered clouds. Tuesday was somewhere in between and today was the worst because of the extensive cloud cover.

The reason for this additional variable was that the sun would warm up the upper hard pack a bit and make the snow much grippier, while at the bottom, the spring slush would be that much heavier. Even off the groomed runs was good on the sunny days in the south/south-east facing bowls such as Sunnyside/45, Concussion and Morning Glory. I tried to get over to Snake on Wednesday but the electrical problems on the old side cropped up this week again with some breakdowns on Boom and Bear Chairs and wasn�t able to make it back in time. I heard from friends that Redtree was actually quite good with light fluff on it. Snake Main was variable with good stuff in the sun and hard, crusty stuff in the shade. My turn down Morning Glory was quite similar. I spent most of Wednesday in Concussion Chutes in the sun and was quite pleased with the snow. In fact, at the end of the day on Wednesday I thought the day was, all in all, pleasant and very lazy, spring-like. Today, under the clouds was another story with the hard, icy pack on top not at all pleasant. On top of that, the light was very flat. This is what spring skiing is all about folks. You have to pick your time to ski very carefully and you have to search out the right sun exposure to make your fun.

On another tack, the resort is slowly bringing the mountain back from the treacherous snow slides from last week�s rain. They helicopter-bombed on Tuesday evening after skiing and cleared up many of the cornices at the top of Cedar Bowl and hence were able to groom the regular runs there including Blueberry. I couldn�t believe the amount of slide debris in Cedar. There was a huge death cookie almost at the bottom of Blueberry that outdoes the one from Jay�s report on Sunday (You call that a death cookie? This is a death cookie!). I don�t know if it was caused by a slide or one of the groomers trying to move the heavy wet snow but it sure is huge.

At 9:00 pm it�s plus 5 Celsius outside and raining lightly. We�re supposed to be getting precip for the next week or so, but it�s going to be touch and go as to what kind it will be. Pray for snow everyone.

Heinz - heinzr@far.redtree.com

Kathy gets eaten by the Cookie Monster�s Death Cookie!

The High Traverse in Lizard Bowl cut through the extensive slide debris from last week.

The snow starts to leave the valley floor. Spring is definitely on its way.

Slide debris in Cedar Bowl.

Falling Star. One of the better groomed runs this week.

Siberia Ridge into Falling Star. Slides in here too last week! Messed up a good line :(