We wake up the next day to the dreaded sound of rain. Rain at 1750m! Yuk. Oh well, nothing to do but make the best of it and off we go to Ruby Basin, this time heading a little higher to the Sapphire ridgeline to try to get above the rainline. Here is the group just as we get above the rain line. We’re at 2179m 0456634 5548810. The glades of the Emerald Forest are in the background. They are typically a powder pig’s paradise but today its all about breakable crust … wheeeeee
We are lucky as the last 200 m of slope was above the rain line – whew. So we make the best of it and get some pretty good turns on this north facing slope. Here Mal takes a turn
Heather finds a patch of surprise snow snakes
Andrew shames all of us by being super aggresive jump turning his teles. Unfortunately his bindings are not up to the task and the rivets on his G3 toepiece decide to part company with the rest of the binding. Thankfully we have duct tape, zap straps and hose clamps so Andrew is able to limp back to the cabin.
Sharon taking her turns. We yoyo’ed this slope the whole morning as we weren’t too sure if there would be decent skiing elsewhere.
Catherine and Heather.
Conditions were very stable so having two skiers in close proximity wasn’t an issue.
Justin on the same slope
Short 150m run but we’ll take what we can get given this rain – thankful that we’re just above the rain crust. After about 4 runs of the very same slope, we’ve pretty much farmed all the pow we can. Off we go up Ruby Ridge to Sapphire to see if conditions are better on the other side. Here is the view looking to the east on the ridgeline. The south slopes to the right of the picture are usually fantastic gladed runs but are icy boilerplate due to sun effect and the rain.
Looking west towards Sapphire you can see the cornices formed by the prevailing winds. Its a measure of how stable the snow is that some of the cornice bombs have fallen yet have failed to trigger any kind of avalanche activity. This snow is incredibly isothermically boring.
The peak of Sapphire is moderately windy so we don’t hang around long. The peak is 2317m 0456096 5547950. Half the group splits off and has decided to call it a short day so we drop in on these south-west facing slopes. Surprisingly, the snow is good as Hamish finds out.
We get a nice 200m run down to a basin separating Sapphire and Sunny Sapphire. Its a logical place to stop for all runs off Sapphire being somewhat protected from slide paths by trees but you can ski further down conditions permitting. Our assembly point is 2131m 0455697 5548192. We then cruise up to find other decent snow.
Rupert proves his experience and shows his nose for snow by finding another decent slope. I must say that, despite these poor snow conditions, Rupert always seemed to find the best possible skiing conditions. Here I go. The bowls of Silver Mountain (2388m7833ft) is the backdrop.
After that fine run, we skin up again and traverse over to the top of Emerald Forest and finish our day with a ski down some pretty tight trees back to the hut. The slope to the rear is the backside of Sunny Sapphire and looks very skiable – unfortunately I couldn’t interest anyone in giving it a go …sigh. Our total for the day is 1180m