Craig's Report - January 31, 2005

Altitude Attitude!

One's mood today definitely depended on how high you were. The bottom remains a sodden, muddy mess and I seriously questioned my sanity as I headed out early this afternoon in the pouring rain. While the rain turned white and even started to land without melting by the top of the Elk, the run down Dipsy to the Bear Chair in the rain rotted man made snow didn't improve my mood. However the upper bowls were a different story as they had several centimetres of dense new snow over the underlying crust. This was probably the perfect stuff to start the healing process and by itself was good enough to provide some quite nice turns. Indeed it would turn out that this is the first day that I found significant quantities of quite good skiing, since the Rain of Wrath (TM) descended upon us.

Last Friday I hiked into Cedar Bowl and up to the top of the Haul Back. At the time the Boom chair was closed and now that it was open I was curious about how one would get to the bottom of it. Although the new snow on Cruiser gave way to the slushy stuff at about the top of the gully and things were a bit sketchy from there down, getting to the bottom of the Haul Back was relatively straightforward. A sign at the top of the Haul Back suggested that View Trail was the best way down and I followed it with some interest as there had been significant stretches of bare ground on that trail when I hiked it. While it was hardly a delightful trip and it was best not to be obsessed with staying on a white surface, the cats had managed to scrape together a slippery paste all the way to the bottom. Granted one then had to all but wade to the lift, but the whole adventure could still be accomplished with a minimum of ski trauma.

Cedar, Lizard and Currie all seemed to have good skiing at the top and I was particularly impressed with how much Cascade had improved since last Wednesday. The snow certainly helped, but I suspect much additional massaging by the groomers was also a major factor. It was even now possible to ski down China Might, although after trying it I can't say I would recommend it.

The run of my day though was in the trees in the center of Currie. The icy spots sticking through the new snow apparently made tree skiing seem dumb enough that few folks had ventured in and as it turned out the relatively gentle terrain, fairly soft ice and new snow combined to provide a very nice run by any standards - something I certainly didn't anticipate encountering today.

When I boarded the Timber Chair for my ride down, it was snowing hard and I was pretty optimistic that this nightmare was finally ending. The trip across the lower waste lands to be finally deposited in the rain at the bottom did dim that enthusiasm somewhat, but there was some evidence of whitening even on lower Meadow and at least the new snow confirmed my suspicion that a relatively small amount of the right kind of snow could quickly redeem the upper mountain.

However it is the lower mountain that is the real disaster and it is still raining out there.

At 18:00 it is 2 C at the house and raining rather hard.

It's not all bad! The trees in the centre of Currie served up some tasty turns this afternoon.

But the bottom is still a snow war zone and the snow has pretty much lost.

They have managed to keep the Mighty Moose run covered though.

Dipsy just below the Bear's Den has improved enormously, presumably due to snow making.

China Might now looks skiable, but after giving it a try I discovered Ballet was a much better choice.

The start of the Cruiser cat track at the top of the gully in Cedar. Cedar Ridge is the slope to the right.

It's dead Jim. Wallaby from View Trail.

Upper Cascade looked good and indeed was quite good.

The icy bits sticking through the snow looked pretty gruesome.

Halfway up the White Pass chair. From here up the snow improved significantly.