Guadarrama snow: wet then hard, from mashed potatoes to boilerplate!

Heavy, wet snow..ok for beginner straightlining, otherwise not great!

Heavy, wet snow..ok for beginner straightlining, otherwise not great!

Last year, due to exceptional weather conditions, we got a little spoiled by multiple days of powder skiing in Guadarrama ..this year so far is looking more normal..days of wet snow and days of hard snow. Yesterday, Saturday 25, started with pissing mist (locally known as niebla meona) and as the day wore on the rain lashed down mercilessly. I got a perfect opportunity to test my Gore-tex suit (by Haglöfs)..reassuring to see that nearly €1000 worth of cutting edge textiles actually works a bit! However it has to be said that the skiing wasn’t great, on heavy wet snow locally known as papa..mashed potatoes, porridge or slush (in the U.S.) or “elephant snot” (in Australia i seem to remenber). At the top of La Hermana Menor (2269m) around 2pm with 2-3ºC above zero it was raining fiercely.. and continued to do so all afternoon and into the evening. Oh well, that’s Guadarrama.

Today, Sunday, dawned bright and, though not very cold in Cercedilla (+5ºC), there was a slight freeze above 1800m..making for a snow surface somewhat akin to concrete, white asphalt.. “boilerplate” as our American cousins would say. Still it was a beautiful morning so i headed up, faithfully, to visit my Little Sister.

Curious light, looking towards Cabezas de Hierro

Curious light, looking towards Cabezas de Hierro

At the top of La Hermana the temperature was similar to yesterday..though the day was very different. Yesterday i couldn’t see more than 15m, today the summits of Gredos were plainly visible.

Snowcapped peaks of La Mujer Muerta (right) and Siete Picos (left), and in the distance Gredos

Snowcapped peaks of La Mujer Muerta (right) and Siete Picos (left), and in the distance Gredos

The ski down was better than i expected too..hard and fast snow which, thanks to the rain, was also very smooth and good to ski at speed. So good in fact that i even repeated! To be fair i would have to say that most of the other people around weren’t enjoying it too much..but that’s what you get in Guadarrama. Some days wet and heavy, others hard like stone. These general conditions are known in California as “Sierra cement” and this term is one of the most appropriate for our local scene.

Powder dreams are kept alive however..the forecast for this week would seem to suggest a good deal of new snow and cold temps, so let’s be optimistic that Aemet gets it right and hope for a foot or two of the cold dry low-density stuff.. ?!

About coldspringdays

Éireannach is ea mé, i mo chonaí insan Spáinn. Rugadh mé i lár na tuaithe, ar feadh blianta bhí mé ag teitheadh uaithi, i bhfad as an tuath, ach sa deireadh d'fhill mé, ar ais go dtí an tuath.. An Irishman am I, settled in Spain. Born was I in the middle of the country, for years I ran from it, far from the country, but in the end I returned, back to the country..
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