John's Report - April 03, 2006

April Fools/Big Air Weekend

Saturday and Sunday were very different days. As Bernie explained, it was lovely on Saturday. But, unlike Wednesday, the north slopes were not that good, with the shaded areas being a tad hard and forming a difficult crust by about 3 pm. Saturday�s 4 pm descent down Decline was quickly aborted after just a few turns as there was no point pounding knees on the quickly hardening ice. However, until 3 pm, the shomo was really fine.

Saturday was also the day of the big air competition. In previous years we�ve witnessed kids taking big air that really shouldn�t; with resulting concussions and broken bones. This year the situation was quite different. Although I only witnessed an hour of the fun, the competitors appeared quite competent and some were downright spectacular (Are the sponsor's now screaning out the wannabe shouldntbe's?). A large crowd gathered to watch the action, at the terrain park below Elephant Head off of Falling Star, with copious quantities of beer and other intoxicants.

Between competitors, the lulls were filled in by the crowd throwing scores of snow balls at those who slid by on Falling Star. Being something of a beginners run, I couldn�t help but feel sorry for those tentatively finding their way down only to be confronted by a gazzillion snow thrown their way while trying not to wipe out. Any wipe out would certainly have been seen as an opportunity by the crowd to perfect its aim. In any event, one boarder got his revenge by sliding by, hunched over, pants down & displaying a full moon at the spectators. Despite a particularly concerted effort, not one snow ball hit the target. Regrettably I was not quick enough with the camera to capture the moment.

Sunday is better left to a brief and cursory review. The rain showers stopped by about noon and despite heroic efforts, the sun appeared for only brief periods until 3 pm, when it decided to burn off the clouds and hotly shine. Basically, I stuck to the groomers in Lizard. Bear was icy on the top flats and then became a sort of an OK shomo at the point where Bear Ridge, off the top of Boom Chair, meets Bear proper. Below the base Bear Chair, the conditions quickly turned to slush, which was alright as long as you had the right wax (truly the key to enjoying spring skiing). The rest of Lizard was unpleasant chattery ice until one reached the level of Tower 7, at the Bear's Den.

With some doubt as to the wisdom of the decision, the last run was over at the 123's off the top of White Pass. As it turned out, this was the best choice of the day. The north slope offered very good conditions, almost like winter snow near the top. Bootleg Glades presented soft, wet crystaline snow and a base into which one could really dig an edge. All in all, I would rate Sunday as a 6.5 with Saturday being a 9 (only reduced by the harder spring conditions found on the north slopes and towards day�s end).

According to the gurus at the Environment Canada website, from Tuesday through Thursday the highs should be in the low double digits with brief rain showers. Beyond that who knows (actually they don't even know what will happen Tuesday).

If you haven�t got your quota of ski days in, now is the time as the snow should remain fine.

Happy Tracks.

Soft Snow on Saturday at the top of Lizard

Skier climbs the ridge above Lizard as a Boarder prepares for a descent

Some of the Crowd watching the Big Air Competition

The specks you see are not crud lumps lying on the snow but snow balls trying to find the snow boarder

The jumps at the Big Air Comp.

One way to cool off on a hot spring day

Another hot competitor finds a way to cool down

People making their way up Polar Peak at 4pm on Saturday

How I cooled down at 4pm on Saturday

A good summary of Sunday's conditions