Craig's Report - February 09, 2004

Whither the Wind Blows

Not much has changed since that nasty liquid precipitation event of a week and a half ago. Most of the crust has been broken up by now and even the death cookies have been trodden down to a reasonable size. Skiing off trail now ranges from pretty good up on White Pass, to almost tolerable in some other spots (a run down Cedar Ridge today comes to mind). In places the steeper stuff is becoming slick enough to make you wonder about the wisdom of falling and choppy enough to make that prospect seem all too imminent.

Up top there has been a pretty piercing wind the last few days and the whims of this now seem to be a big factor in finding smooth quiet turns. In places blessed by wind droppings, there can be some very nice turns indeed, but figuring out in advance just where these spots might be requires more advanced wizardry than I possess. Gullies would seem like good choices and often are, but the wind manna often shares the bottoms with accumulated death cookie shards.

The vast majority of the groomed stuff is firm, okay hard, but still holds well and is actually quite nice for high G carving. A few places though have bits that seem as icy as a Rumsfeld glare. These were more likely on steeper sections such as China Wall and Diamond Back, both of which have been groomed this year. Fortunately the moguls left on the sides collected enough blow in to provide refuge. Even the slab itself had collected either blow in, or perhaps shavings sliding down from above, to make the last few turns pretty nice. Most of the mogul runs I tried were better than I would have expected, probably due to this wind sifting effect.

Overall not bad skiing on a pretty day with decent temperatures - but definitely not powder.

At quarter to five in the afternoon, it is 0 C with a light overcast and a light wind here at the house.