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Mt. Rainier, WA – Inter Glacier

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Mt. Rainier, WA – Return to Paradise 2

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Olympic National Park, WA – Royal Basin

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GEAR: Attention Owners of Dynafit Radical Bindings

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20
Jun

On the other side of Paradise in Mt. Rainier National Park, there is another paradise for ski tourers and climbers: Inter Glacier. This is on the way to Camp Shurman, the jumping off point for climbers summiting via the Emmons Glacier. We love this route not only for the grand vistas of the Emmons Glacier -the largest glacier in the lower 48- but also for the wide open and long 5000′+ vert, continuous pitches for skiing down. So, after a week of wild wintry weather in our Cascades and new snow, we spent Father’s Day back in Mt. Rainier NP. TNT and I were joined by Kam Chan, Dave Leffmann (telemarkers), Peggy Vert and Tara Minotti – and a parking lot full of others who had the same idea. We started out from the White River Campground (4400 ft. elevation). The campground is presently closed (no restrooms) so the road ends at the main campground parking lot. From there, we hiked the Glacier Basin trail the entire 3.5 miles. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough continuous snow to skin. From Glacier Basin (patchy snow still), we crossed over to Inter Glacier to begin skinning. With warm temperatures (the forecast high was mid-50s on the lower glacier), several inches of new snow at the base of Inter Glacier (approx. 5600 ft elevation) and reports of 2 ft or more at higher elevations, we saw a lot of sloughing and slides on the sides of Mt. Ruth onto Inter Glacier. We made it up to about 9500 ft. on Steamboat Prow. We decided to skip the last stretch to the top (9702 ft. elevation) given the high sustained winds. As we’ve experienced with past trips, the upper part of Steamboat Prow was crusty. This time, it was 2+ inches of breakable crust over a ft or more of settled new snow – not fun. But once we got down to the upper Wedge, the snow softened and there was a deep enough layer of corn to reward TNT for schlepping the fat boards this time. We also saw some amazing sun halos and sun spikes. With sunset after 9pm, a full moon and no bugs, we maxed out the day – took our time chilling afterwards and didn’t pack up until after 10pm – so stoked to be summer skiing in June.

 

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15
Jun

6/17/16 UPDATE: Paradise Valley Rd. opens tomorrow, Sat. 6/18 so it’s possible to park near Fourth Crossing for this skin/ski trip. ORIGINAL POST: Here’s the video that goes along with yesterday’s post. Telemarker Kam Chan and splitboarder Brett Hlavka joined the Snow Troopers’ TNT and Sting for a sunny ski down from the Paradise Glacier to the Fourth Crossing trailhead in Mt. Rainier National Park – fresh, untracked snow in June 2016. There’s even more fresh snow on Mt. Rainier today after yesterday’s snow storm. Hope you can get out there to enjoy it.

 


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14
Jun

Winter returns to Paradise: 4-8″ of new snow is expected by tomorrow above 5000′ (ie, below the Paradise Visitor Center @ 5940′ elevation) and over a foot by Thursday is expected at higher elevations above 9000′. The Paradise parking lot is already blanketed with snow today – see webcam here. TNT, Kam Chan, Brett Hlavka and I made it up this past Sunday during a break in this storm system. It was full on blue bird so temps warmed quickly to mid-50s by late morning. By afternoon, it was hot enough under the sun for shorts, even at around 8600′ on the glacier. We were able to skin on the Skyline trail a mere 50-100′ from the steps outside the visitor center. Snow coverage is still excellent and the couple of bare stretches on the paved trail below Alta Vista (5940’ elevation) were easily dodged by staying off trail. Above Pebble Creek and McClure Rock at about 7789’, we crossed over to Paradise Glacier. There appeared to be an estimated 4” or more of new, settled snow at glacier level. We skied down from just below Anvil Rock at about 8600′ on perfect, untracked corn snow down to the Fourth Crossing trailhead on Paradise Valley Road at 5200’ (see map to left). The Paradise Valley Road is still closed (estimated to open 6/24/16) so if you go that route, be prepared to walk about half a mile back to the Paradise lot — although it could be possible to skin part way after this week’s snow.

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17
May

Jacob Mandell sent this one over of an amazing looking trip into the Olympics recently. Below are a few words from Jacob along with his sweet video that capture some of the eye candy and great corn!


Tanner and I headed out to the most northwestern stretch of mountains in the lower 48, the Olympics. We walked in 7 miles of trail to Royal Basin, and were greeted with three amazing days of perfect corn skiing. We skied in Royal Basin, Deception Basin, Hal Foss Peak, and Mt Clark. Its an awesome area, but you have to do a little work to get back there.

 

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03
May

Another fun, short POV from one of Andy Traslin’s many adventures this Winter with his brother Mike. The video below was hitting the backyard for some “North Shore Ripping” of the Coast Range.


 

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22
Apr

Andy Traslin shot this one over the other day of a fun looking chute out of Squamish this past Feb. The target for he and Jamie Bond was the “Gun Sight Couloir” which was accessed from the Sea to Sky gondola. The pow may be mostly over now, but the BIG mountain fun is looking good here in the PNW!


 

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17
Apr

Oh snap!

Attention owners of Dynafit Radical Speed, Radical ST and Radical FT bindings: check if you have the original versions sold in 2011 and 2012.  Dynafit is offering to replace the original heel posts from those model years with improved, stronger heel posts. The heel posts in the original three Radical binding models sold in 2011-2012 can crack or break so the upgrade is vital. View the video below to check if your Radical bindings need to be replaced. If so, those of us in WA are fortunate to have the Northwest’s only Dynafit Competence Center located at Pro Ski and Mountain Service in N. Bend, WA. Just bring in your skis -they will replace the heels free of charge since this is covered by Dynafit’s warranty. The replacement takes only 10-15 minutes unless they’re out of the parts in which case they will contact Dynafit and order the parts for you. Spring ski touring season is upon us, so if you haven’t already, it’s time to check and prep your gear -before heading out. Dynafit stands behind their products and is providing the upgraded, replacement heel posts for all of their original Radical Speed, Radical ST and Radical FT bindings no matter how long you’ve had them. Dynafit also has an anti-rotation device that prevents the original Radical binding heels from turning and slipping out of touring mode. Those can be installed by Pro Ski and Mountain Service as well for $25/pair. Watch the video and spread the word. Live to ski another day.

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24
Mar

Visit Tamarack Resort before they close this Sunday for the season. With 8″ in the last 72hrs and more snow on the way, conditions couldn’t be better.  Skiers and riders who purchased a 2016-17 season pass to Bogus Basin during their Tier 1 sale (Feb. 15-21, 2016) get one free day of skiing (show your 2016-17 Bogus Basin pass or proof of purchase at the Sports Dome). Plus, on Saturday, Tamarack will be hosting the first annual State of Idaho Pond Skim Championship competition beginning at 1pm (registration starts at 11AM on the Canoe Grill Patio), followed by an after-Party featuring a live DJ. A Sunday Easter Egg hunt will wrap up the season with prizes that include a Tamarack 2016/17 season pass, summer Bike Park lift tickets and more.

 

We skied there recently and it was incredible. We were ahead of the big storm so not the best viz but we skied fresh tracks all day, on a Friday. As seen in our video, we had no trouble getting in long shots without any other skiers or snowboarders. Tamarack continues to be, as the locals say, where the powder goes to escape the people. Back in 2013, we compared Tamarack to Blue Sky Basin in Montana because of its well planned, upscale mountainside lodges and homes. But we’re starting to imagine that Tamarack might be more like Yellowstone Club, MT’s private, members-only ski resort? We wonder – because Tamarack remains so unbelievably uncrowded – we felt like we were skiing in our own private Idaho resort. With 2800′ vertical, Idaho’s 3rd longest (slightly more than Yellowstone Club by the way), and 1000 acres served by Idaho’s fastest and newest lift system, Tamarack is an impressive “private” resort.

 

Tamarack also remains on track to be a luxury four season resort. Since new ownership and management began operating the resort last year, there have been a series of multi-million dollar improvements -from continued real estate development to expanded snow making and terrain. We were anxious to check out the reopened 100 acre Wildwood zone. The patrolled side-country terrain is an easy ski/skate off to the right of the Summit Express lift. Even though it lost its lift (and thus was closed in ‘09), we found it easy to ski back into the resort’s main trail system and catch the express lift. So easy that we ended up lapping that zone several times. Tamarack’s other side-country zones, Grouse and South Bowls, to the skier’s left were closed the day we visited but were enjoyed on a previous trip. With no crowds, no lift lines and high speed lifts, Tamarack offers as much vert as you can take in a day. In addition to the Wildwood zone, we counted the Staircase, Blaze and Pursuit expert trails (which were cleared and improved for this season) among our favorites. The 7 Devils Pub at the base and their steak fingers also made our list of favorites.

 

Being the first newly permitted four-season resort in North America in more than two decades (with some areas still under development), this four diamond in the rough resort offers one of the largest, if not the largest, selection of affordable luxury on-mountain and base area lodging options in the Pacific NW. We stayed at the beautiful new Lodge at Osprey Meadows, a short walk from the base area, and wished we stayed longer.  Perhaps we’ll return for Tamarack’s mountain biking season. Their bike park is currently scheduled to open on June 25th with Tamarack Express lift service now outfitted for bikers.

 

Tamarack is located in Donnelly in Idaho’s Valley County, just two hours from Boise and about a half hour from McCall, Idaho.  Its location is also just down the road from boating and recreation on Lake Cascade, nearby rivers and national forests. Our drive from WA’s Snoqualmie Pass was about 7.5hrs via the beautiful Palouse Scenic Byway and through Hells Canyon – if you’ve never been, allow some extra time to make several stops along the way.

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23
Mar

screen capture of Sam Gaitlen getting some too


Here’s a little pre-weekend stoke from Adam Roberts. The video below is a POV recap of his “December to Remember”, CHECK IT and get some of your own this weekend! Think cold snow!!!


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16
Mar

Hyak Dawn Patrol with Andrew Winstanley


This past Monday evening, the snow hammered down once again and the freeway was shutdown, due to spin outs etc. Just the kind of report we love up here (as long as you aren’t stuck off the Pass). Having had only a small window of time to ski the following morning/yesterday, I decided to walk up Summit East, if the Snow Gods kept adding to goodness already on the ground. BINGO, I rolled out yesterday morning around 6:30 AM and my timing was perfect catching a fresh, “guide like” skin track up the face. Turned out that skin track was set by Andrew Winstanley, who is seen rocking the East Peak chair line in the video below.


Short recap of yesterday’s fresh, at 2,600′+.


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