Whitewater opened for the season today, with 39cm of new snow from this past storm providing great coverage (even in the trees) and silky turns, all the regular inbounds terrain (not the new chair yet) open, and only a small crowd, making for a fun full day of lift serviced powder skiing.
Category Archives: Whitewater
Yesterday, despite temps somewhere south of minus 20 degrees, not including wind-chill, we headed to Whitewater for a couple of laps. The snow in my yard is still light and fluffy, but at higher elevations the wind must have been howling, because we soon realized there were firm wind-crusts on all aspects. At about three quarters of the way up Ymir bowl on wind-loaded aspects, a 20-30cm wind-crust was cracking and settling, so we skied from there. Medium radius survival turns on a variable breakable crust were very challenging.
It was cold, but manageable with lots of gear on. The construction debris fire at the lodge was most welcome.
Good Early Season Coverage.
Though at that point I was pretty keen to head for all-you-can-eat fish & chips in Nelson, we did another lap on the Summit chair area, which because it had been skied so much recently, made for much better skiing (but still wind-crusted). What the wind has done is blown snow into the ditches, creeks, and holes, making for much improved (and more supportive) coverage. Things are looking good for Dec 4th opening.
Cam on Goat Slide, Ymir Bowl.
After weeks of obsessively monitoring the limited information available on snow conditions, it seemed time to take a chance and get amongst it at Whitewater. We did a couple of laps on Ignitor – Bonanza, and found nothing but easy powder skiing in 60-80cm of creamy supportive snow. Seeking a little more adventure, we then headed into Ymir Bowl, where there are plenty of places to avoid, but we had great skiing with a protective crust down 40-50cm on Goat Slide. Here’s a short vid of Cam on Ignitor.
Everybody loves Whitewater.
I’m all for making the most of what you’ve got, but it’s difficult to understand why Whitewater skiers express such fervent devotion to their little mountain. I woke yesterday to report of 12cm at Red, and an invitation I couldn’t refuse to ski 35cm at Whitewater. Sure there were some deep turns to be had, it snowed hard through most of the day, of course the food and beer were tasty, and being around stoked people is a buzz in itself. But for me there’s just no getting around that I’m skiing a tiny little hill (1300′ ), with very limited and mostly intermediate terrain (much of which you have to traverse to, and a significant part which isn’t even opened on a busy powder day), with a shitload of people and a couple of antiquated double chairs. I could only manage 4 runs by noon, and the mountain was tracked out almost immediately – although still lots of fun in the cut up stuff. I’m sure back in the day, before snowboards and fat skis, when dropping Backsides was a secret, before it became cool, that people were skiing lots of lift serviced powder at Whitewater, but that’s far from reality in 2009.
Back at Red today, charging long steep untracked lines till my legs gave in, I was glad to be home.
With a promising forecast, we made plans the night before, hoping there’d be enough new snow to completely obscure the December 4th crust. After our first run down Blast in knee-deep snow (22cm from the storm), we knew we’d made the right decision, and our crew of snow starved Rosslanders enjoyed a great day of real powder skiing at Whitewater. Red Mountain received 10cm, and with more forecast for tonight, the lifts could start turning tomorrow.
I tried out the Stockli Stormrider DP Pro Model skis that ROAM was demoing, and found them smooth damp and easy turning, though the Fritschi Freeride Plus binding are definitely not up to the task of hard lift serviced skiing. I’m still a little sore from crashing after pre-releasing.
The Christmas lights through the Beaver valley are ridiculous, making for a surreal drive home.