Having based out of Snoqualmie Pass, WA for the past 15+ years, I have often found myself lift served skiing right at home, over the Thanksgiving weekend. That being said, once Thanksgiving passes, everyone starts to freak out if the Summit isn’t loading lifts. However, truth be know that our “life long” average opening date is Pearl Harbor Day (12/7). Today is day number one, when I start to become uneasy, but not too badly, having recorded the snow for the Summit almost my entire time up here. Studying the snowfall for the Summit at Snoqualmie, I have learned we become one of the deepest snowpacks in N.America not too far into Winter, which also provides as a great home base for our year round skiing. Below is a little compilation of what I’d like to be riding right here at home…
The deep annual snowpack the Summit at Snoqualmie receives, also provides for a “lift served” season that usually extends until Cinco de Mayo (May 5th). Being a year round PNW skier on the move often, I look forward to staying close to home through the holidays, but knowing it WILL come in due time (and the forecast this week is quite weak), I’m thinking of packing up and heading East to chase a little cold pow.
The target could possibly be Whitefish, MT. Knowing they just started loading lifts this past Saturday and hearing good reports from some of my local friends about the 30 something runs open (including a new chairlift and t-bar!). I sure love BIG Mountain, now known as Whitefish Mountain Resort and the REAL ski vibe if offers, not to mention the kick ass terrain, super chill mountain folk, and SMALL lift lines. The last item on my list (small lift lines) would be the main reason I’d rather drive 10 hours East, than 11 to 15 hours to the SE (that and the fact Connor O’Neil and Nathan Powell will be my personal POWDER shred guides at Whitefish).
below is a look at Whitefish earlier today… Thinking the 5 to 10 inches of warm moisture rolling through the PNW this week, might land in MT as cold POW, right as I do
Tara and Carl Simpson have really been getting after the snow lately, and in doing so, not traveling too far to get some beautiful walks capped off with great skiing. The video below is from this past Tuesday (11/2/14) when the Simpsons and Rory Robison headed up on Mt. Rainier, for a day adventure out of the Paradise parking lot. As you will see the pow was wind packed up higher, but it looked quite sweet down in the lower zones (similar to the epic opener at Crystal, the day prior).
Jacob Mandell just sent over this short, sweet vid of a day spent out of his new digs in Glacier, WA this past Monday (12/1/14). Andrew Eckels, Woods, and Cory Tarilton joined in for the low coverage day, that offered some excellent turns (as seen in the vid). On a current, frozen, side note, the Cascades have been blanketed with a thick layer of ice today, at and around pass elevations. Hoping we have now seen the last of this inversion, where the warm moisture rolls over the mountains from the West colliding with the cold air East of the crest, causing it to freeze the rain just before/or shortly after it hits the ground. Gnarly, stuff folks… “Live to Ski Another Day,” and think snow!
Crystal Opener, this past Monday (12/1/14), done a different way by Jeff Rich, Tara and Carl Simpson. A different way for (at the very least) a couple of reasons, like some epic “different” angles/views of the mighty Mt. Rainer, and a FULL day of untracked pow! Be sure to check out the beautiful video below that Carl whipped out really quickly (as usual), using the clips he and Jeff Rich captured of the “Dec 1 = Day 1 of Lift Served” fun!
Our Friend Josh Langdon, out of Flagstaff, is another one of those real skiers, that knows great quality (having shredded the gnar for many years, in world class fashion, on the steeps of Jackson). That’s why he and his family spend all 4 seasons in some of Arizona’s finest country, Northern AZ! This latest edit from Josh is a compilation of the past two seasons, getting some great turns in their private 12,000+ foot volcanic playground. Many of you know, Arizona is my former home, and if I had landed in Flagstaff on my journey North, I might still be there too! I really hope to get down there in the near future to soak up some the awesome SW HIGH desert goodness and ski with Josh and his strong AZ crew. The mountain zones of Arizona are so cool to me, as they always felt like an island oasis is a massive ocean of desert. I grew up in a tiny version of N.Arizona, down in Tucson’s Santa Catalina Mountains (a 7,000′ rise from cacti to aspen, but not enough elevation to get the great skiing seen in Josh’s vid below). Thanks for the share Josh, Arizona rocks!!!
Day one of December just happens to be day one for Crystal Mountain’s 2014/2015 season! If you are wondering what kind of conditions await you this morning, then be sure to click the super sweet, DEEP pre-opener that Carl Simpson and Jeff Rich captured the past two days and put together quickly for our monday morning jolt (to call in sick)! skier(left)/Carl Simpson, photo credit/Jameson Florence.
Easy come, easy go, all in just a few days… So, may the good times start to (once again) FLOW! Thought I’d put the running shoes away for the year, but yesterday I found myself putting them and the waterproof clothing on, just like Crispin’s fine boy Geebs (seen to the left, making good use of his dad’s tire bags). I then headed down Denny Creek for Franklin Falls. The rain has washed a lot of the ice and snow off the trail making it somewhat safe to get close for a pic (which wasn’t the case this time last year – needing crampons). Franklin Falls was epic, making me think a run down to check out Snoqualmie Falls could be worth while too. As you can see from the pic below, it was well worth the drive down to the city of Snoqualmie, to finish off my micro runs for BIG waterfalls. If you do make it out to Snoqualmie Falls, I recommend walking down the the river via the somewhat newly redesigned trail and boardwalk, as it is far easier/safer, than the old route, for all members of the family to get in a beautiful “pre-turkey feast” walk.
Below is a short video I put together of our new snow being washed away by the 10 inches (or so) of rain that we have received in recent days (which is still coming down hard). However, the weather experts are calling for the snow level to drop below the Cascasde’s lowest pass elevation this Friday night. Think cold snow!
Take 2, because this one looks like a different version of yesterday’s video that was filmed on 11/23, but it’s actually YESTERDAY’s grand ski day, had by Jeff Rich, Hugh Gren, Tara and Carl Simpson. Thanks to Carl, we can enjoy it too, via his sweet short vid below and the pic to the left with a signature. Think cold snow!
Here’s a quick conditions video report from yesterday (11/23/14), where Carl Simpson skiing was skiing with friend (and super fun guy), Hugh Gren on the freshly covered slopes of Crystal Mountain! A good start this past weekend, that makes me think about the song everyone’s been singing for months now, “It’s all about the BASE…”