We got it all today. Cold temperatures, 13°, cold wind, 35-45mph, and cold fog that increased as the day went on. The conditions drove the plan - find someplace you can ski hard enough to keep warm. Warm enough to survive the uphill ride.
Green Valley Bowl skied very good, and I quickly forgot the wakeup of getting out of the warm Gondy into knock-you-over wind and freeze-your-nose cold. Moving from the top of Rex or the Gondy was a face sandblaster of cold ice crystals all day. Iceberg was a different story from the Valley. I usually avoid The Berg, but today the snow was surprisingly skiable. Only problem was flying down an easy groomer into a cold wind just left the sliver of skin showing between my goggles and collar stinging and numb. Not enough muscle heat was generated to last to the top of the Rex ride. Only option left was Sunnyside! Just skier groomed enough that you could bang an energetic line that melted your face just enough that one could crack a smile.
Smiles cracked on the many Sunnyside runs faded as we topped Rex in the face-blast wind, only to return after the next mogul pounding descent. But as the fog increased we looked for whiter pastures. And headed to Northway thinking it would be out of the wind. Not. Some good snow in Northway Bowl was hidden by a breakable wind crust. Nice bumps in the mid-section led to weird alternating icy bumps and thick lumps. I though I’d duck behind the ridge out of the wind into Northway Bowl. Instead I had to push the whole way into the blasting headwind, leaving my buds in the cold waiting for me on the Paradise side. Time to go.
It pays to keep poking around, even when you’re uncomfortable and prospects look bleak. In a last ditch effort to find some energy producing runs and warm up - make one more poke. From the top of Northway we descended some oddly placed soft powder to Sluiceway. Tore up the Sluice Bumps. Berry Patch - no wind, great visibility, nice cut snow over packed pow. Wait what’s that, I feel warmth. Lower E’s big smooth moguls were best of the day. Best of all, a warm Gondola ride up. Warm enough I laughed at the wind on top that wouldn’t let my skis fall to the ground. Didn’t mind the icy blast to the face as I rounded the corner to another soft fall line drop into Green Valley. With legs warmed up, the big deep drops and my favorite narrow tree gap on the C-3 Chairline belied my early day hesitations. Back into Berry Patch and fly down Lower E - even I was surprised at how good it felt. So, four Top-2-Bottoms with a warm ride back. Our long-underwear puffy, gortex covered selves cockily mocked the wind and cold and said, “we won”.
However, a long hot shower sure felt good.
Cold tomorrow and even colder friday. Maybe some leftover flurries on thursday. Sunny on friday may help overcome the temps around zero if the forecast winds don’t materialize. Cold and cloudy over the weekend leaves the next snow for mid-monday as temperatures rise to a reasonable level. If it snows tomorrow, it’ll be so cold any wind will move it somewhere you probably won’t be.