I went out today mostly because I like the idea of skiing on my birthday*. My expectations were low based on the reports from friends who skied over the last few days, but all in all it was better than I expected.
Yes it was quite slushy in places and bare in quite a few spots and worst of all there were several places where the snow was very sticky, which is really hard work. But the very top of the mountain, maybe the top 500 vertical ft, was great due to one or two inches of new snow overnight and enough cloud cover to stop it melting.
Bumps are really fun when it's like this. The soft sticky snow means you don't have to worry about going fast and can instead concentrate on the huge number of things you need to be able to do simultaneously and instantaneously if you are going to ski bumps well, including:
Picking the right line. You need to choose a path between the bumps which involves enough turning to slow you down without turning so far that you end up bouncing off the top of the next bump.
Not over-edging. Everything you learn about edging on groomed terrain you need to unlearn to ski bumps. If you over-edge your skis shoot our from underneath you and you lose control. Over-edging also means turning too far which we've just talked about. Instead you have to concentrate on flattening the skis.
Skiing not in the valley between the bumps but down and around the side of the bump while allowing your (un-edged) skis to slip down the side to bleed off speed (see the previous point on flattening the skis).
Allowing your legs to compress as you come over the top of the bump and then extend as you head down the other side, smoothing out the ride.
Making an early and aggressive pole plant on the top of the next bump, which commits you to the line, prevents you from over-rotating and over-edging, and keeps your body forward which naturally helps you avoid all the other potential problems.Got all that?
So I really enjoyed the bumps on Rolex, BC Lift Line, Surprise and the bottom section of Whiteout. The 3.30 and 2.30 trees were also nice, but my best run of the day was definitely Big Meadow where a fresh dusting of snow and very little traffic (there were about 15 people on the mountain today, or at least that's how it seemed) meant I could make beautiful tracks, and the sun peeped out from behind the clouds in the middle of the run to give it a totally surreal feeling.
So here's what is likely the final map for the season. Today's total of 10,802 vertical ft brings my season total to 519,001 vertical ft.
* Not only is today my birthday but it's also the third anniversary of my arrival in the US as a permanent resident, which means I'm now eligible to apply for citizenship (normally you have to be resident for five years, but it's three if you're married to a US citizen as I am).