No day has reminded me more of Pemco’s Northwest Profile #3: Skis in the Rain Guy than yesterday, March 8, 2014. At Alpental, home mountain of the Skis in the Rain Guy, truly nothing was dry except our sense of humor. To give you some idea of how wet it was, several cities in Washington set new rainfall records including Seattle with 1.27 inches (old record: 1.01″ in 1957). Snoqualmie Pass got over 3″ during its heaviest 24hr drenching. That’s more in the first week of March than we’ve ever received in the entire month. But like the Pemco ad says: “No ‘Pineapple Express’ is going to slow (us) down”. Seasoned Washington skiers and riders still came out in droves to enjoy yesterday’s Spree event at Alpental. The day of races, demos and fun raised $61,132 for the Outdoors for All Foundation whose volunteers provide winter and year round outdoor recreation for people with physical, developmental and sensory disabilities. Way to go. Rain aside, the ski and ride conditions are really very good now – soft and spring-like – but stay out of the backcountry where avalanche danger remains high. Live to ski another day.
Quick edit from Carl Simpson showcasing the March Lion, just before he became the big WET lion (we are all currently dealing with throughout the PNW). He’s causing real havoc, and isn’t quite finished yet. Turn it off already, or better yet just turn down the temps!!!
Quick recap of yesterday’s top snowriders @ the Freeride World Tour comp at Snowbird, UT.
Snowbird’s top podium spot for skiers was taken by Lars Chickering-Ayers
Below is what the 5th place run looked like, by Julian Lopez.
The “Wild Card” special guest/athlete was Sage who almost pulled off an awesome run… Check it!
Short edit from Tyler Tran and company, giving a little look at how they spend their time, when they aren’t slaying a BIG mountain face or getting waist deep in the WWU studies… “Dessert First”, Bellingham urban shots, Grouse Mountain, and Mt. Baker.
3/3/14 UPDATE @130pm: WSDOT estimates opening i90 at 4:30pm. WSDOT crews continue to work on clearing snow and other debris from the road. Crews will continue to monitor snow pack and slope conditions so the pass can be opened when it is safe to do so. ORIGINAL STORY: i90 over Snoqualmie Pass remains closed today after WSDOT began shutting down the highway about 12hrs ago due to heavy snow and slides. Closure is EB from mp 33 near North Bend and WB from MP 106 near Ellensburg. There is NO estimated time for re-opening. WSDOT has been working all night and morning but the snow came down hard and fast – a sure sign that our Cascades’ usual March madness has begun. 6″ has accumulated at the base of Summit at Snoqualmie’s Alpental ski area since 5am. That’s on top of the 14″ that fell in the 24hrs before 5am. Feb. is a tough act to follow but we’re off to a good start: Summit at Snoqualmie ended February with 136″ and 170″ of new snow at the base and top of Alpental, respectively! Conditions are deep and getting deeper. Needless to say, the heavy snow, high winds, previous freezing rain and WSDOT closures due to slides are all indications that the avalanche danger remains HIGH. As Alaska heli ski icon, Dean Cummings, would say – these are “strike 3 days”. That said, below is a quick little conditions update from the safety of Summit East’s groomers yesterday (with 7″ of new =half of the new snow that is now sitting on Snoqualmie Pass, WA). Off groomers wasn’t as much fun due to an ice crust that preceded the storm. TNT’s getting ready to head back out to seek some safe low angle skiing for today in the 14″+ of new. Stay tuned for updates. Ski with (eyes on) a partner and live to ski another day.
Here’s a deep low angle day Obadiah Ehly and myself spent this past Monday. This video was shot shortly after the first thin layer of frozen rain fell in the Central Cascades (the thin layer was 4 to 5 inches down and wasn’t too bad, however the layer that fell Monday night is another scary story). Look’s like this upcoming Monday might be another great low angle day for a number of reasons, the main two for me would be, 1) I want to live to ski another day (the steep terrain is very sketchy and might remain that way through Spring!?!) and 2) I like quality skiing (so the frozen layer will be less likely felt on flatter terrain, giving you the “bottomless” ski).
Here’s a little wake up call that should add a jolt to your morning cup of joe. This was shot a couple of days ago by Chris Danforth of Stevens Pass, as their patrol used a heli to drop a 50 pound charge on top of a hanging snowfield in the “Rooster Comb” sidecountry… Cleared it out pretty good, thanks for excellent patrol work! Again, nice wake up call/video as another system is rolling this way… Looking forward to some great “Cascade Crown” lift served action this upcoming weekend/week!!! Live to ski another day, and hone those powder skills making some lift served hot laps, TNT.
Here’s a Crystal clear math equation (with the answer provided by Tara and Carl Simpson in the video below), what is the sum of 11 feet of snow in 2 weeks?
Hope everyone’s legs are all rested to ride the March lion-it’s on the way in this weekend…Big and fierce (I hope). BTW, the backcountry is quite wicked right now, along with off piste terrain being quite variable, so this next storm cycle might be a good one to attack with the bros at one of the Cascade Crown’s many ski lifts serving your uphill needs (Cascade Crown being – Alpental, Mt. Baker, Stevens Pass, Mission Ridge, Crystal Mountain and White Pass).
11′ of Snow in 2 Weeks = DEEP FOOTY
Niseko, Japan joins the 2014-2015 Epic Pass offering five free days on top of 12 resorts in Colorado, Utah, and Tahoe and more in Europe. The partnership represents the first Asian partner for the company. Epic Season Passholders will continue to enjoy unlimited and unrestricted skiing and riding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, Arapahoe Basin, and Eldora – No Blackout Dates. For those wanting to ski Europe, there are 5 days at each of these world class resorts: Verbier, Switzerland; Arlberg, Austria (St. Anton, St. Cristoph, Stuben, Züers, and Lech); and Les 3 Vallées, France (Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Brides-les-Bains, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville, Val Thorens and Orelle, France). In 2008, Forbes crowned Niseko one of the Top 10 International Ski Resorts, and more recently, National Geographic voted Niseko as the best powder snow resort in the world, with an average 590″ of snow per year. Located 100 km south of Sapporo, on the island of Hokkaido, Niseko Annupuri is a part of the Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park. Seasonal winds from the Eurasian continent blow in some of the driest, lightest and plentiful snow in the world. Set against the backdrop of Mt. Yotei—an active volcano similar to Mt. Fuji—the Niseko region boasts not only epic skiing and riding, but also breathtaking scenery. Niseko United, as it’s commonly referred to, is made up of four base areas—Annupurri, Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Hanazono—that access one mountain, Niseko Annupuri (4,291 feet). For the adventurers, hiking trails lead from the highest lifts to the summit. An extensive lift system of 26 chairlifts and three gondolas accesses 72 trails. Being a volcanic island, Hokkaido is also well-known for its thousands of natural hot springs, or ‘onsen’. With non-stop flights between Tokyo’s Narita International airport and several major US cities, it’s never been easier for U.S. skiers and riders to visit Niseko. Niseko is typically open from November-May. This truly Epic (!) Pass will go on sale on March 10, 2014, at epicpass.com. Season Pass Benefits Access to Niseko is only provided to Epic Pass holders and not holders of other passes offered by Vail Resorts (Epic Local, Tahoe Local, Summit Value and Tahoe Value). All season pass products are non-transferable and non-refundable.
Carl Simpson recently celebrated another birthday with family, great friends and a long lasting storm cycle, that kept him right at his home mountain, Crystal Mountain. If you have yet to check out Crystal, the vid below gives you a good taste.