The warmest morning of my season opened to some great snow, and some crunch. The usual poking around separated the former from the later till the sun softened the later. (That’s really confusing…. What did he say?)
From the git-go, the north side of The Valley held fantastic snow. If the whole mountain felt like that, woulda been another Top Three Day ®. As it was, it led to Iceberg which was groomed so smooth, and actually carvable, and the only way down required too much speed. One and out. Memorial was 2” of crunchy new and smooth on top, frozen lumps below. I’d be back. Luckyshot trees was…. “interesting”, Bear Pits was pockets of soft, interspaced with icy bumps. Waiting for warmth to soften the crunchies, headed to Powder Bowl expecting a long drop of snow resembling Green Valley. Nope. Fist drop of the year through the rocks of Main Chute was nice, but the bottom half had me zigging and zagging trying to figure out the ice versus crunch versus soft ratio.
I’m lucky to have an adventurous crew to ski with. I tossed out Northway and everyone was in. Bruce’s Bowl delivered and CD and I split paths around The Nose, rejoining in the tight trees where normal people hadn’t ventured. Awesome. The bottom Chairline Bumps were big, alternated soft and hard, and awesome (He used awesome twice, is that allowed?). Next I played Crew when the Employee Housing suggestion came up. Gate 9 was smooth crunchy new - I love the sound as you slice through it - till mid-way where I moved to the shade for different awesomeness (there he goes again). We rode the Gondy up with a couple of other old school CM rats who jumped in our bucket at the last minute. They behaved, we behaved, and a splendid time was had swapping Best-Line-of-the-Day stories.
And then, the forecasted high freezing level completely changed the day. For the good. Previously unskiable crunch was now either soft carvable semi-firm or soft lumpy leftovers. It didn’t matter as we went into Blue Angel mode - minus smoke again, dang it - and did our best to…… The top half of smooth untracked needed tracking. The bottom half needed skier smoothing. Non-stop Frontside runs ensued. I don’t think we accomplished either, but it was well worth the effort. The only thing better would have been getting paid to ski it. (Note: I’m sponsored by K2 (cost me 800$), Dalbello (cost me 500$), Smith (250$), and my new sponsor, Giro, only cost me 200$). Guess the money making aspect of my ski career isn’t working out so well.
Someone (me) suggested skiing North GV to Banana Chute, just because I was lovin’ The Valley, and in the middle of an insomnia episode I was thinking “why is it called Banana Chute” the other night. The entry to B-Chute, normally a wild ride, made my sphincter tighter than anything in the last 2.5 years. The sketchiest, butt-pucker, entry where even the side step in scared me. One must-make turn (sorry JD) and then some of the best snow of the day. But, the mountain spanked me down later. Note: The mountain ALWAYS wins.
On our last run (North Valley-C-3 Chairline-Berry Patch-Lower E) I made it through the trees into the Chairline. A patch of ice, OK, into the soft new, OK, into…. Crap (not my exact thought) one ski, deep in the loose snow hit something hard enough to stop said ski, spin me into a head first downhill fall. Just as I thought, hope that ski releases, it popped (thanks, Marker) and I tried to flip over to get the other ski into the snow. Oops, flip again and slide face first for another 30 feet. Luckily, no obstacles interfered and I stopped. Stopped without hitting anything, but landed 60 vertical feet below my ejected ski. Kicking toes into the steep 45° slope, it took me 10 minutes to hike up to my ski/pole and another 5 to get back into my bindings. It looks a lot different going up than going down. Thanks to everyone on the chair that pointed out I had a long way to climb back up.
Thanks to my Amigo that waited to make sure I got reconnected. And it was perfect timing to end the day as the early setting sun was re-crunching the snow. Time for this one to go home.
It will be very nastily frozen tomorrow morning. But, good news. Once sun softened, the freeze/thaw will improve the consolidation. Looks like warm and maybe some rain sunday. Monday will depend - warmish with new = OK. Rain sunday and cold monday - I’ll stay home.