Craig's Report - January 06, 2006

Soggy Situation

The official report thise morining was claiming 19 cm of new powder, but the situation in my driveway was decidedly soggy and a fairly heavy rain was falling. I opted to wait as long as possible in the hope that it might let up, but eventually waded out for a reconnaissance in the late afternoon. As expected the ride up Elk was miserable and seemed even slower than normal. The transition to snow was just below the Bear�s Den, but rain tracks on the snow went somewhat higher, suggesting that, as forecast, the rain line was dropping. It wouldn't have been hard to stretch the definition of powder to include the stuff right at the top of Lizard, at least in a silky cream cheese sort of way, but by the time you got to Tower Six road it was already quite heavy and apparently unpopular as getting �freshies� was no problem. Down by Freeway, it would have made fresh poured cement seem fluffy.

Clearly White Pass was the place to be and in fact it was snowing down quite a bit below the bottom of that lift. The falling wet snow seemed to be just as effective at getting things soaked though. Even so skiing it was very pleasant almost to the bottom of the chair. As a result there wasn�t much untracked over there that late in the day, but a lesser known bit did yield up some very nice untouched boot deep that I of course happily exploited. On the negative side, visibility above the rain line was pretty bad and made terrible by the need to continually try to clear the sticking flakes from your goggles. Also my ancient Gore-Tex wasn�t remotely up to keeping my even more ancient bones dry, so it didn�t take many runs before I was happy to quit. At the base I overheard two separate anonymous comments. One was to the effect of �boy, did I ever have a great day� and the other, from a mother to a child, was �if tomorrow is anything like today, it isn�t going to happen�.

There were several avalanche closures, including upper Cedar and Lizard as well as all of Currie. Given how hard it is snowing up top, I suspect that it is going take some major control work tomorrow morning to get things open. It might be pretty sweet when they do open though, at least at upper elevations, but alas I won�t be able to be there. Of course rain is hardly good news for the lower runs, but the ones I was on did not seem too badly injured and if the rain does turn to snow overnight, they should be fine. All in all though, I wouldn�t wager a nickel on whether tomorrow will be great or, well not so great.

At 16:00 it is about 3 C and still raining at the house.

I wasn�t keen on taking the camera out for a soaking and as it turned out, there would have been little it could have resolved in the limited visibility on the upper mountain anyway. Thus my only offering today is a standard shot of my oh so wet driveway.