It’s that time of year. When new snow may not be your friend and mountain temperature swings can really mess things up. It’s also that time of year when above freezing temperatures are the only thing that saves the day.
The previous day’s sun baked the slopes and we found the overnight temps had frozen it in place. And frozen in place was no place you wanted to be. There were some really ugly shapes out there. But it was already in the mid-30s and the sun was out; we expected redemption soon. A high cloudy haze quickly formed and delayed redemption. So we paid our dues by scouting around trying to find some goodness. It was a long search.
The Valley was chopped stiff junk, Iceberg was pretty good for a groomer, Luckyshot was smooth ice, Snorting Elk was OK packed pow that led to some low angle fun in the Berry Patch and Lower E. Lower E is still smooth, hard, huge bumps with here-and-there piles of soft stuff to push around. Can’t figure out why it’s so much fun. Chair Six opened early and we headed to Powder Bowl only to have our expectations of packed pow in the shade ruined by crunchy leftovers on top of firm choppy bumps. Expectations that weren’t ruined as bad as Bear Pits ruined my ability to enjoy a run. BP was a disaster of 1/3 lumpy pow over hip-high pyramidal bumps, 1/3 smooth skidded steep ice, and 1/3 frozen glop over hard oddly arranged bumps.
Headed North sweating like an overdressed pig even after dropping a layer. Paradise Bowl had 6-12” of untracked new (closed for 2 days) that hid some surprises but skied well. In the chairline bumps the new was still untracked, very heavy, and one of the best pitches of the day. Booted up to Northway Peak for the view-of-the-day before skiing smooth new snow hiding hard bumps. Lower down the bumps were melting and more fun. As the sun came back out, we had to shed the coats and tried Valley Bowl again.
Finally the temperature, sun, and snow hit the Goldilocks Zone. Big bumps of frozen lumps melted to just the right temperature. Tip-to-tail, Amigoette and I traded the lead lapping Valley-Bergs as fast as we could while The Zone lasted. 5-6 runs that made our day. Until the next storm moved closer, the sky darkened, and it was time to T2B it for home. A fast run that ended in scary stickiness at the bottom of Lower Bull Run.
Another freeze up tonight will not be kind to any of today’s snow. Tomorrow’s temperatures are unlikely to thaw things much but may be too high as the expected precip may be rain to mid-mountain. And windy. Friday looks frozen glop cold. Warm snow over frozen glop saturday, and sunny and melting glop on sunday. Lots of skier grooming is needed.