Nothing happened as expected today. From expectations of the last two days to expectations of the next run, all bets were off. We lost the first two bets and then won the next 2 dozen.
After all the 2-feet-of-new hype, we left early this morning expecting a long line of weather-watchers on 410. Instead, Maple Valley had everyone in FREAKOUT MODE with a little, very little, black ice. So, 25, then 30, finally 40 all the way to The Claw. After that, where did everyone go? Or not go. No one going to Crystal, and it was an easy, nice, competent drive to an empty parking lot. Unexpected. So we partied on the Group W bench catching up with friends and anticipating a great day.
Until… We started skiing. Dropped into Green Valley Bowl and it was… Can’t decide whether to say weird, or nasty; it was both. (That’s not a good sign.) IceBerg was…. a groomer. A crunchy cold groomer. Not to worry, Memorial must have some better snow in the trees. Crap (not what I actually said), it was wind-scoured junk over icy crunch. Not much better down low. With a sad gut feeling, I launched the this-might-be-the-first-bad-day-of-the-year program.
Amigoette decided The Doors would be a good choice. Yeah, right (Eeyore voice). Wait. What. Light new over smooth crunch skied great. Deeper and better the lower you got. And Luckyshot Trees. I did not expect shin-to-knee deep untracked. Just as we found the zone - trees and off the wind scour - JD suggested Employee Housing. Normally on a day like today, the lower aspects of EH would be hideous. But, I kinda hid my pessimism and tagged along. I still think Employee Housing is the longest continuous fall line on the mountain, but did not expect it to be nearly knee deep untracked of the best kind all the way.
And so it went. We found the aspects that had just the right amount of wind protection so the snow, that used to be on your favorite run, was now over there, or over here, or right where your ski bud led you. Keep poking around and you’ll figure our how to turn an expected low point into the 12th top three day of the year.
Sidebar: It’s easier to get a Top-3-Day when you watch the forecast and aren’t afraid to take yourself out of the mix. When the temperature and snow forecast is, in this old one’s mind, cold and nasty, we stayed home. Today was 10 days since my last ski day. So, getting this string of Top-Three days is not one of “go early, go often”, but more of “choose wisely”.
That said, lowland snow to the south, cooling, warming, wind…. And I’ll say - Minimal new the rest of the week with clearing weather wednesday and on. Since I have the option, Go Early, Go Often and see what unexpected fun might happen.