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Saturday morning dawned very, very cold.  -14 in Lower Granville at 8AM,
though that was up 5 degrees since the morning low of -19.  Consequently,
we were in no rush to get to the mountain.  Arrived at the crack of noon
to find a half-full parking lot and balmy temps around 0.  Started with my
standard warm-up run - Snowball to Spring Fling.  Snow was fast, mostly
edgable, with a few icy spots that were to be expected at this time of the
day on those trails.  Since I had grown tired of cruising all day and both
Heaven's Gate (too cold) and Castlerock (closed) were off the table, I
decided to duck into a band of woods that I had worked on in the off-
season.  I quickly discovered that my handywork wasn't as handy as I
thought it was.  Apparently, I have a rather heroic view of my skiing
abilities in September and October.  The reality of tight, at times
impassable lines was sobering and depressing.  Always good to be
conservative in these situations so as not to overcut, but we really went
overboard.  Since the skiing wasn't too enticing, and the wind chill at
speed was outright daunting, I decided to stick around and do some clean-
up to try and make the line more skiable.  It's amazing what hard work and
a lack of wind in the trees will do for raising your body temp.  Some
three hours later, I emerged from the woods with a broken saw and one
pole - both victims of impact-induced fracture in the cold.

The snow began around 3PM and picked up in intensity throughout the night
such that SB was reporting 6-8" as of 7AM Sunday.  Looked like a
reasonable estimate to me, given what was on my car.  Again, a quick warm-
up on Snowball>Spring Fling followed by an ill-advised jump into the woods
of Lew's Line for the 2nd run.  It was completely tracked out, and still
quite boney.  I traversed to try and find some less travelled paths, but
just ended up gomering.  Guh.  For run #3 I poked over to Moonshine and
then Lower Twist.  Moonshine was tracked out and scratchy.  Lower Twist
was much more enjoyable, with loose mounds of pow serving as both
launching pad and landing zone.  Boink boink boink!

By this time, it was 10:30 and I decided to head over to Castlerock to see
what I could see.  On the way over, I poked into some woods that I had
discovered while hiking this summer.  Open in spots, narrow in others,
potentially very exciting with a deeper base in still others.  This is one
to watch.  The line at C-Rock was the standard 5-10 mins, and Liftline
looked tracked out on the way up.  As a result, I thought I'd traverse
back and forth on Troll Road - an often overlooked powder stash.  It would
also give me a chance to assess the readiness of certain bands up that
way  It delivered as anticipated but the woods were U-G-L-Y with too
little base to cover the young softwoods.  They need another 2' before
they're ready.  Continued on down to C-Rock run to find, much to my
amazement, that the patrol had reserved the section below Cotillion for my
skiing pleasure.  I dove in and gorged on boot to sometimes knee deep
powder with nothing lurking below save an easily navigated water bar or
two.  While this was surprising and often sublime, I did discover that my
new R:EX just didn't have enough surface area to make them a useful powder
ski.  Great for all mountain and in the cut-up chowder, but not the
untracked and semi-untracked that you'd find inthe woods or on a reserved
trail like this.  Looks like I'll be sticking with the CMH Volkl's for the
rest of the season now that winter has finally arrived.

Anywho, C-Rock Run was so good, I bought the company, or at least did
another lap.  Got 3rd tracks this time out.  Silly SB tourists.  Moved
over to the SB quad to check out various shots therein (Heaven's Gate was
on wind hold all day) and found that conditions in the less travelled
spots were starting to come around.  Still boney below about 2,500' but
certainly sufficient coverage above that as long as you were not too
aggressive.  Also checked out my handywork from Saturday and found that
band to be much more skiable, though much work remains to be done.  For a
finale, I checked out Downspout, of all runs, b/c they had been blowing
snow on it all day and I thought I'd see what was coming out in this cold,
dry air.  As I should have guessed, it was surprisingly enjoyable and
hovered in that state between packed powder and powder that could man-made
does.  I had a ball playing all over the trail with the soft whales and
fresh snow.  Good times.  But also frozen toes, so it was time to head in,
warm-up, and watch some playoff football.

SB still could use another foot about 2,500' and at least another 2' below
that elevation, but it's getting closer.  Hopefully with the 4-6" they
could get this week (3-4" already last night), it will make next weekend
that much more enjoyable.

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