Big White, B.C., Feb. 19, 2016

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Big White, B.C., Feb. 19, 2016

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:09 pm

For our short day going into Mustang Tseeb and I chose Big White as we had skied Silver Star and Apex the two prior days. This required a 12:45PM departure, so we got up there close to the 8:30 opening. We parked at the lower Gem Lake base, but their credit card ticketing wasn't working. We used most of our Canadian cash and were on the lift about 8:50. There were 8 inches of snow the previous day plus another 3 inches overnight.

The top of Gem Lake had both vicious wind and heavy fog, so we started down tentatively. But both eased off 100 feet down and the snow ghosts in Sun Rype Bowl provided adequate orientation in the smooth windpacked snow. The lower 3/4 of Gem Lake's 2,400 vertical is a trail complex, but gets relatively low skier traffic vs. the front side. The first trail we tried, Cann Cann, was lightly tracked but had lots of rollers where we would have to brake on the firm subsurface. Lower elevation likely had the rain a week earlier. Both of us had burning legs on Cann Cann after the big prior day at Apex.

I suggested a blue trail Snowy for a smoother ride on the second Gem Lake run, and our third run on Blackjack was even better. Leaving Gem Lake the wind was blasting in our face on the Village Way catwalk to the Falcon chair. With limited time we bypassed that and skied Shakey Knees off the Powder chair. The new snow was more cut up here except in some trees we hit near the bottom.

We skied Easy Out to the Alpine T-bar, which ascended to Big White's peak 7,600 elevation in the fog but much less wind than at the top of Gem Lake. We skied to the edge of the Cliff and decided it was worth a try. Skier's right was completely untracked and smooth enough that the marginal visibility was little impediment. There was a bit of a slog back to the Cliff chair from that side. We then tried skier's left, which didn't have the slog and thus had a few more tracks but was still quite nice.

At this point we needed to be working our way back to Gem Lake. The ski next to the T-bar on Sun Run was total vertigo, as the outside of our goggles rimed and we didn't realize that was part of the problem for the first 5 minutes or so. With the bad vis we wound up on Highway 33 and thus skied green runs to Ridge Rocket and then the long Serwa's/Meadowlark/Ogoslow trails to Gem Lake.

Total 15,800 vertical, about 6K of powder. No pics due to the weather.
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Tony Crocker
 
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