Apprentice Ski Guide Exam - Coast
Duffy, Blackcomb, Ledge Basin
The ACMG Training and Assessment Program completed an Apprentice Ski Guide exam in the Whistler area with field days between April 9th and 15th.
Prior to the our arrival, there was a 70cm storm which quickly bonded to the March 30th melt-freeze crust. Winter-like weather persisted for the week with freezing levels staying below 1500m. A mix of sun and cloud with convective flurries refreshed conditions throughout the week.
Ski objectives included the Blackcomb backcountry as far as Decker, the Whistler backcountry out to Fissile, Steep Creek to Hunter Bowl, Cayoosh, Tszil Summit, Taylor Summit and couloir skiing in Ledge Basin.
Cornices and variable ski conditions were our primary hazards for the week. We found pockets of wind slab up to 40cm deep with limited reactivity. Above 2100m, the April 8th crust is buried 0 to 30cm with the March 30 crust 30cm deeper. Winds from the North-East have redistributed new snow and left sastrugi in wind exposed areas. Snow quality varied greatly but we consistently found good skiing in sheltered North facing terrain above 2100m. Sunny aspects and lower elevations have multiple layers of breakable crust which made for difficult skiing when returning to valley bottom. On the glaciers we found excellent coverage with greater than 300cm of well settled snow.
Winter is still on and the skiing is excellent in the alpine, see you in the hills!