Craig's Report - January 26, 2005

Starting Over

Here we find ourselves at mid season with a snow pack that surely would have been deemed insufficient to open in early December and far worse than I have ever seen in an April closing. So we are back to the pre-season wait for snow, except the hill is actually open, albeit in a pretty limited way.

The only worthwhile skiing today was on White Pass and even there only the dozen or so turns in the sun drenched corn of Shakey's Acres were really good. I heard that the groomed runs had been good earlier, but by the time of my afternoon visit these were shaded and hard. I did have a pretty good run on Down Right in Currie, but only in comparison to the rest of the offerings.

Even on White Pass, the snow on the lower half of the runs was sparse and bare spots and obstacles common. On some of the lower lift towers, the concrete foundations are visible. Below White Pass everything was closed and downloading on the Timber Chair was the only way off of the new side.

Most lower runs have little or even no snow, with the single exception of Dipsy/Lizard, which provides the only exit from the old side. This is very marginal, but still manageable with careful route selection. A sign said downloading on the Elk Chair was available, but I did not see anyone actually doing that.

Cedar Bowl, the Haul Back and Boomerang were all closed, so the options were Bear or the Lizard runs. Bear was fairly soft but route selection was still important, particularly near the bottom. In the afternoon at least, the Lizard runs (I tried Cascade, but could hear others) were hard and icy with numerous obstacles. Often only a single cat width of unobstructed snow would be available.

The dismal conditions combined with the spring like temperatures have me much more in the mood for biking than skiing, but realistically it is still January. February and March are both capable of bringing two to three meters of snow and if it comes soon, I am sure the appeal of sliding would also quickly return.

At 17:40 it is -1 C (snow making tonight?) and completely clear at the house.

Meadow in January. How pathetic is that?

A nice snow bridge has been constructed across lower Meadow, but at this point there is no way to get to the other end.

Elk just below the bottom of the Bear Chair.

Bear was about the only thing almost worth skiing on the old side this afternoon.

Dipsy was the best and indeed only way down from the old side.

Frozen avalanche debris on Cascade.

Even on White Pass, the lower parts were hardly in great shape.

Down Right in Currie was quite firm, but not too bad. The exit was down Trespass Trail (center right) back to White Pass. A sign at the top announced there was no snow below Trespass Trail - "Believe Us".

This shot of the forest floor above Trepass Trail and about where I often emerge from the Surprize trees, shows just how thin the snow pack has become.

To end on a lighter note, here is one of a number of cool pictures that Travis Powell sent me of last week's aerial competition. Now those suckers get serious air.