Sunday 8th Feb
The weather forecast was calling for 10cm's of new snow the night before and we had seen that it was really dumping out when we were at dinner. Perhaps the forecast was going to be wrong? When we got up, straight away we could see that there was at least 1.5 ft in the carpark outside the Khyber, so expectations were growing that we might be onto a little sleeper powder day. Sure enough, by the time we got up to the chairlift, the snow was more than 2.5ft deep. We'd actually gotten more than 60cm's of fresh. The winds had been calm so the snow was looking amazing.
It wasn't even that early and we were first in line for the chair. Knowing it would likely be a bit of a wait as we were expecting patrol to have to go and do some more control work, we put are skis and packs down in the lift line and began the wait. The hard part was knowing if we should all wait or if there was time for some of the crew to go and make some turns. After about an hour and a half, I sent Jeelani off with a couple of the guys to go and get a lap down from the mid-station. I would keep waiting in line with Scott and Tom who wanted to take it easy.
It took a while for patrol to finish their blasting, but after about an hour, they were down and then all of a sudden, the lift was going to open. We jumped up and got our gear ready and the 3 of us were first on the chair. I radioed Jeelani and he said they were just coming up the gondola so we decided to do the honorable thing and try and catch up with them on the next lap. We weren't missing out on this opportunity for first tracks.
The patrol were ahead of us and they kindly put in a traverse line to the skier's right side of the lift line. This was crucial so we could access the steeper lines that led from the top of the ridgeline. The snow was so deep that you needed some steepness. We traversed out and I called to the guys to see if they were ready. They had eyes on so I dropped in. By the 3rd turn, the snow was hitting me in the chest and I was getting some faceshots. Sadly the light wasn't the best and it was hard to see, but I made it down the first section. The snow was amazing, super deep and pretty light. We skied fall-line down past the chair, choking on the snow. A good problem to have.
So, the name of the game was to try and get in as many laps as possible. Jeelani's group kept lapping as well; having 2 small groups made it easier and quicker to lap, so we kept in contact but didn't make any firm plans to re-group till later. We met up with Jerrod after about the 3rd lap and we decided to get some ski shots in. I got a ton of POV footage, but unfortunately the overcast and cloudy conditions didn't really do the footage any justice. I did get a couple of good shots when the sun did come out, here's a link to our FB page so you can check them out. I will have to upload them to YouTube later, Facebook seems to download video's a lot quicker over here; YouTube isn't letting me download anything today. Hope you like them!
It was a fun, fun day. A few after skiing celebratory beers were the order of the day. We went to the Highland but alas, rapid weight loss hit me (again! twice in one trip, a personal record!) and I had to retire back to the hotel. Unfortunately I've been in bed all of today, so there is no report for the 9th Feb other than me being in bed all day..... The antiboitics are staying down now, so hopefully I will be back on the mountain tomorrow and the blogging can continue. Until tomorrow!
Alrighty, we have some good days of skiing to come with plenty of video's. We awoke this day to find out (rather happily) that the forecast of only 10cm's of fresh had actually morphed into 60cm's and the skiing was going to be phenomenal, some of the best turns of the whole trip. The weather was overcast and cloudy at the start which didn't inspire total confidence in the day, but that was about to change......
After about an hour or so wait, the chair opened and we were first in line. The snow was knee deep next to the chairlift so we were excited to say the least. The anticipation grew as we got on the chair and started the ride up. A few patrollers and Billa Bakshi were ahead of us, but we were the first regular people up. Billa was trying to cut through across the start of the face to get to steeper part, but he was getting stuck in the snow, it was so deep. We got off the chair and took the patrols tracks up higher to the right. We had to push a little, but soon we got to the start. I dropped in and it was amazing. Sadly with the flat light/cloud it was really hard to see at the start and the video does not do the skiing justice. It was legitimately deep. It's not until the 3rd video when the sun came out that you get the contrast and a better feel for how deep it was..... still, the boys were loving it and this was the deepest snow Scott had ever skied. It took him a little while to get a feel for his turns, but after a couple of laps, he was starting to get it.
Run 2 - The top was pretty tracked up but you were able to find some decent long swathes of untouched pow and you could get the snow up in your face again. I had a little impromptu rest in a lift tower well(!), which was pretty deep and hard to get out of by the way..... Tom and I traversed out right to the lower trees and find the bottom right section completely untouched. The turns were not quite as deep there but still pretty sweet!
Run 3 - The sun came out and we really got to enjoy the deep pow. When you watch the video above, make sure you put the video to HD in the settings, you get a good feel for how much snow was there with the shadow of the billowing snow next to me and the snow hitting me in the face. It was best run of the trip for me, so much fun! Jerrod got some great photo's out of this run as well. Good job Jerrod!
Run 4 - The cloud came back in again, right as we started the run. Jerrod was set up for some more photos but as soon as I dropped in, we were all shrouded in the cloud and the footage didn't really look good (apart from me hooting and hollering without you being able to see anything else), so I didn't bother editing that run together. Sorry...... We finished the run with an untouched run down from the mid-station. That was the same run that we had skied a few days earlier, but it had filled in again and the skiing was even better. It was great to see the guys ski the same run again; the first time they all skied it everyone was a bit hesitant and struggled to link turns together without stopping and starting. This time the whole group powered down it with a lot more confidence. It was nice to see.