Personal log of a novice backcountry skier in his backyard
All the bad weather and snow we didn’t get in January and March (February had a very cold spell of about 2 or 3 weeks) is happening in April. Since my last trip it’s been raining and snowing nonstop. Not big quantities but enough to keep the snowpack interesting. There’s been a couple of windows of fair weather here and there, but hardly more than one full day. Finally I decided that I’ve had enough and after a work related trip to NW Spain last weekend, I decided to hit the slopes again this weekend. Because the weather forecast is not good at all, I decided to keep myself within the boundaries of a resort… actually one of the very few resort that’s still open this late in the season (it shuts down on Monday 23): Candanchú. If you’ve read the About section of this blog you know that it is a very special resort for me, and the fact is that I hadn’t been back since August ’95!! Talk about a trip back in time!
So today I left Donosti right after lunch and drove to Candanchú. I got to the resort at 17h30 and the lifts were shut down. I had a look at the Army barracks where I was stationed for the whole winter of 1994-95 right at the back of the parking; so many memories! There was no one anywhere: empty parking, empty streets, nothing… full ghost town!! Seeing that the visibility and the weather seemed to hold on, I decided to climb up one of the hills: el Tobazo (2020m). I mainly followed a red slope and it went fine. Visibility was good, the snow a bit heavy but I kept myself on the groomed bit and although it was raining a little bit, I was making good progress. I took me a bit less than 1 hour to reach the top of the hill (roughly 500m up from where I had started). Just when I did a big front hit from the North and suddenly the visibility was extremely low. I could barely see 3 meters ahead of me through the fog and the hail. So I didn’t really get to enjoy the downhill bit.
Back at the van I decided to drive to Jaca for a place to eat. As I was driving down, looking back up I could see that the front was stuck up at the resort but plenty of mountains further south were getting plenty of sun… We’ll see about it tomorrow!