Day four

The North Shore isn’t being all that supportive of my return to snow.

30cm of new snow fell on Cypress on Friday, and a friend who was up there midweek said the conditions were great. I packed up my gear and set off Saturday morning, looking forward to more fresh snow in the forecast.

There was certainly snow, but it wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for. I arrived in the teeth of a howling blizzard, with a vicious wind and wet snow blowing horizontally across the parking lot. I wrapped my facemask a little more tightly under my goggles, zipped my jacket up a little more securely, and climbed onto a violently swaying chairlift.

The first few runs on Mount Strachan were reasonable, although the snow was already pretty heavy and starting to pile up badly. I moved over to Black Mountain before lunch, where the snow was quite a bit better but the visibility was zero. I was very conscious of the risk of catching an edge, especially on the lower third of the mountain. I tried not to let the conditions distract me too much from the need to think about my technique, and managed a few brief sections of decent carving. Overall, though, flex and mobility in the bad leg is still lacking.

By about 11.30am the temperature had risen enough that the lower runs were getting really wet, and on the one run I took to Raven Ridge I found driving rain instead of snow. The knee tired badly in the heavy conditions, and I was struggling to force it through the piles of chunky, slushy snow that littered the runs. I stopped for a quick snack, but came back out to even worse conditions: even heading into the lower runs with as much speed as I could gather, the snow was so sticky it brought me to a dead stop. At that point I gave up and came home.

That’s four days out, two on boilerplate ice and two on wet, heavy cement. It made me long for the chance to test the knee out on smooth groomers where I can focus on technique and not on going ass over tip due to horrible conditions. The knee got a couple of sharp twists yesterday, although it felt okay at the end of the day. Overall, though, I’m feeling pretty disappointed with the North Shore mountains. I don’t think my leg is ready for a full day out yet, but I’m more than ready to go back to Whistler.

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