The rain continued through the day and into the evening yesterday, but this morning it had stopped and there was an encouraging whiteness to the trees up on the hill. It even started to snow at the house about mid morning and became rather windy. Given all of this I had no idea what to expect, but the ice at the top of the Timber Chair did not bode well for things like Puff the Icy Dragon (lives by the trees, and gobbles up beginner skiers near a town called Fern-I-ee <sorry>). However there was just enough new snow in the troughs of the hard moguls to make it navigable, but I wouldn't disagree with the sign at the top that proclaimed it marginal.
All the way up the White Pass chair you could see the dark icy heads of the moguls sticking out of the whiter new snow. This looked pretty uninviting, but I did watch a couple of guys do a pretty good job of it, which suggested that it wasn't that bad or more likely they were just a lot better skiers than I am.
On the first pitch into Currie right of off White Pass, even the tops of the
moguls were covered and the first few turns were pretty nice, but it wasn't
long before the crunchies returned. Since the trees seemed likely to filter
more snow out of the wind and a gentler slope promised to make the new snow
go further, I headed into the trees in the center of Currie. Along the way I
discovered that I could not just blow through drifts of this dense snow. :-)
These Currie glades did in fact provide some interesting skiing. Icy tops still poked through the snow, but by carefully picking your route you could get some pretty decent turns. The bottom part of Currie was tougher though and while certainly skiable, hardly relaxing.
Things were different over in Cedar though. The snow was still very dense on Snake Main, but there was no ice sticking through and when I was there around noon, you could cut fresh tracks right down the middle of the run. Farther down, where the new snow got thinner, the underlying stuff hadn't frozen. This made for somewhat crust like skiing, but still not too bad. I did notice that on Snake some of the tree wells have melted back and are now real man eaters, so extra care around trees is probably in order.
The North facing slopes were once again open and I had a delightful run down Cedar Ridge. Sure in the middle of a powder spell I would have sniffed and whined about the snow, but after a long diet of spring skiing I was in heaven. I am sure many or most folks would strongly disagree.
To say conditions were variable today would definitely be an understatement. Bear Chutes were pretty good up top, but by the time you got into the trees above the Bear traverse things had deteriorated. The completely untracked chutes I took were still a gas, but the quick transitions from powder to ice while slaloming those telephone pole like tree stems, definitely kept my attention.
It was all too easy to get greedy as one descended. I took the Face Lift traverse to Easter Bowl and found one of my favorite chutes untracked. Actually probably most of them were untracked. The crunchies were still evident here under the snow, particularly on the steeper bits, but it was still fine skiing in my opinion. So fine I tried to milk it for a bit extra by heading down the Windows Chutes. This turned out to be some of the ugliest crud skiing I have experienced in a while. The new snow was only a thin layer down this low and underneath it was a randomly alternating mixture of ice and thin breaking crust that had little of substance underneath it. Survival definitely outweighed form for me on this puppy.
The lower runs seemed soft and it was fairly mushy right around the base area. I was actually able to ski much of the run out down Incline in a couple of centimeters of heavy new snow with only a few tracks in it.
Some people wrote me concerned that the rain would mean no snow. However even right around the base, the snow appeared fine, with only a couple of big puddles on the snow as signs of melt down. Up on the mountain there is still lots and lots of snow.
The temperature has actually been slowly falling throughout the day and at 3:45 P.M it is now just below 0 C on the porch. At times it has been snowing quite hard and it is again at the moment.
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