Saturday, January 4, 2014

a little bit of snow, a lot bit of cold

Having holidays in the middle of the week has really messed me up: work a couple of days, have a day off, work a couple of days, have a weekend, repeat.  I skied with H on New Year's Day and it was more of the same: no new snow, lots of people, clear skies.  By the end of the day, I was pretty tired of skiing with clueless people and was ready to have my mountain back.

After a couple of days back at work, the weekend rolled around again.  A weak storm system moved in late Friday night, scouring the inversion out of the valley and dropping about three inches of snow in the mountains.  Three inches!  Woohoo!  Three inches is really not anything to get excited about but after skiing on the same old, beaten-down snow for over a week, even three inches was going to be better (or at least different).

What was less good was how cold it was: 13 F at the base and 3 F at the summit.  That's cold for me.  We both wore our down accoutrements, and I had my hand warmers, down mittens and boot gloves as always, but my hands and feet still suffered.  The winds were light but persistent, driving the light, new snow into our faces, and the little storm stuck around and left another couple of inches during the day - which was great snow-wise but which kept things from warming up.

Although we were able to find some nice pockets of powder on the sides of the trails and in the trees (particularly in between 3 Bears and lower Big Dipper), in general the new snow didn't do much except cover up the rocks and skied-off patches so that you didn't see them until it was too late.  H got into Catherine's Area right as they opened it, figuring that getting in before it got all tracked out would be for the best; he came out shaking his head, reporting that it was just too hard underneath to really be any good.

After lunch we moved to the front side to see if it was any better there.  It wasn't, and it was slightly windier too, with very flat light.  We called it quits around 1:30 p.m.  It certainly wasn't the worst day we've had but it wasn't any great shakes either.

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