I really like soft snow. After the last 5 weeks of waiting, today was a big snow day. But it was also a big crowd day.
We did our normal early start and parked in A lot at 7:30. Dressed and ready, we sat in the lodge and watched the crowd arrive. Wanting to get a spot in line, we walked up the Gondola line, 8:25. It ended past the brown-bag door, about a 20 minute wait. Chinook looked quicker, so we waited with that herd, 8:30. Chinook was having issues and the workers uploading took nearly 30 minutes to move 3 towers over the ridge out of site, the chair moving slow for 10 feet and stopping for 5 minutes. By the time we realized Chinook was not the line to be in, the Gondy line went around the deck, in front of the stairs, past the Store-a-Ski, and to the kiddy ski school area. The Chinook line, 50 people wide, ended there also. At 9:20, Chinook finally started running at speed and loading – ten minutes later we were finally on the chair.
Little did we know of the mayhem that was happening on Crystal Mountain Boulevard. Tales later told to us on the chair: The line of cars, bumper to bumper, extended 6 miles down the Boulevard and 8 miles down 410. After bailing the Green Valley chair for Kelly's Gap, we rode up Chinook (no line now), with a couple that left Greenwater at 8:30 and were on the chair for their first ride at 12:30.
Back to the fun
Our first run down Memorial was nearly knee deep untracked. A little thick, but oh so nice. That was the end of the Frontside untracked as the Gondy riders that beat the late-starting Chinookers had eaten it all. The cut pow, however, was fast, soft, and easy skiing (for me, but a little heavy for the lightweight Amigoette). The usual terrible Rex line control worked to the favor of the wise, as picking the correct lane was 3 times faster than the other lane – not letting on about line strategy. While waiting for the third Rex sequencer crash to be undone, I saw the Northway light go green. We tucked, skated, sidestepped, and other various forms of dodging slowpokes, our way out to the newly opened pow. Dropping off the bowl traverse at the first untracked pitch, we dodged through the trees, our knees supplying faceshots in the deep snow. Run of the day. We waited 5 minutes for the chair as the hordes flowed down the hill, over the ridges, and through the trees. With little untracked left and the line growing, we headed back to Rex after a quick sampling of mediocre Green Valley runs. The GV line suddenly grew and we bailed out Sluiceway-Kelly's Gap-Lower E; good except for, either piles of bowling balls or icy avie debris, I couldn't tell in the fog, under Rock Face.
Back to Rex, the line was now…. ZERO. So, we spent the rest of the afternoon on the Frontside skiing perfect cut powder and packed powder in the trees. Trees were required as it was now foggy and snowing really heavily. Fav of the afternoon, Door 4 to Luckyshot Trees, over and over.
A great day with my Amigoette. Never saw Iceberg, never skied on the groomed. Did I say I really like soft snow?
Biggest variable for saturday will be how many people come. 90% of today's crowd looked like one-dayers and won't be back tomorrow. As the temperatures have droped and the next round of precip is coming in, it looks like another pow day staturday. There were 4 inches on the car at 2:30 and it was snowing hard. The snow should end saturday morning and clouds should tend to "Partly". Sounds perfect. Some high snow levels sunday, 8-9K ft, will likely ruin the mix for a while. Get it while you can.