Ya miss some, you get some. Today was definitely in the Get column. I missed sunday due to my alarm clock deciding to pack it in – new clock worked great today.
Rode up the Gondola with 2 patrollers and avie dog Niki. Niki is an awesome, mellow, friendly dog, and from what I heard, a hard worker. Not as hard as the patrollers who handle her, however. A lot of effort goes into training and keeping an avie dog excited to work and in top-notch form. Hope I never need Niki's services, but I'm thankful the dogs and their handlers are out there. We thanked them for letting us ski in their office and were off into excellent snow and unexpectedly sunny, blue-sky weather. By noon I'd been in the zone for so long, my brain felt like a labrador's – "get the stick" was all I thought as I skied down the sun-drenched buttery slopes.
Started the day with an empty-slope groomer speed run down luckyshot chasing a bright orange coat I couldn't catch – till he stopped and let me fly by. Excellent grooming, but that was the last we skied it. Thinking our morning "bright overcast" was the best we would get today, our expectations were pleasantly dashed as the sun burned through, and by run number two, we were on our way to clear blue sky for the remainder of the day. Six inches of cut, soft snow covered a soft crunchy base that turned to soft butter in the sun everywhere we roamed.
A couple Frontsides and we were off to C-6. With the deep snowpack (thanks to ski patrol for all the digging on Six to keep our skis from catching) we skied lines normally unskiable. Chute .5 and then .1 were wide and easy – others a blur of fast, easy snow. We then booted up and traversed to Avie Basin. Quite the cornice across the saddle, but once in, knee-deep untracked pow up high, boot top cut pow lower, and not till nearly to Lake Liz did it get heavy – one of 3 runs-of-the-day.
Door Zero, Showtime, Breakover, Greg's Gultch…. Then back to Six for Powder Bowl. With huge snowpack, Main Chute isn't a chute, so we slalomed the trees down the nose and off the end for #2 RotD. Bear Pits is choked with snow, and I got to do a run I haven't done in donkey years, Red Sign. Traverse to the old faded Red Sign (Danger Cliff etc.) and drop in through the trees that is usually a rocky spine. Wow # 3. Repeat numbers 2 and 3 for good measure. Our last ride up Six was slow and full of stops as the wind picked up. We moved back to the Frontside as Chair 6 shut down for the day.
Not a bad run in the sun as we skied a hard to describe buttery soft layer over a nicely consolidated base back and forth across the Frontside. Easy, fast, and hardly a pause as we did top-to-bottom runs with strong spring legs. There were unusual, long lenticular clouds forming off the Cascade Crest from Mt. Rainier to north of Crystal. At 2:00, one blocked the sun and the snow began to change, almost instantly getting a little crunchy. Over and out, we blasted to the base.
Unfortunately, only the most north-facing aspects escaped the sun today, and major crunching will occur as the weather cools and clouds move in. Also, unfortunately, the precip content in the upcoming tuesday storm has been downgraded, and it will take some significant snow to cover today's sun damage. Cloudy and light snow persist through friday, with saturday looking like the next spring day. No, put the lawnmower and boat away and wait for the sun in the mountains; it will be excellent.