Knowing the NW conditions have been and remain somewhat boney in the lower elevations, the conditions are much better high with in the PNW Ring of Fire. This short vid below, from Carl Simpson, captures the Spring like conditions from earlier this month on Mt. Rainier’s Nisqually Chutes and a sweet, super long ski off Mt. St. Helens. Enjoy and think big SNOW!
An unusually long stretch of bluebird days continues in the Pacific NW. Coverage has been solid with plenty of terrain open for skiing and riding. Recently, Snow Troopers, Carl and Tara Simpson and Jeff Rich, together with mountain photographer, Jameson Florence, Rory Robinson and Amar Andalkar had a glorious day on Mt. Rainier. Carl reports: “they climbed from Paradise to Glacier Vista dropped down to the Nisqually and crossed the glacier. Then climbed to about 10600′ on the Turtle and skied to the Nisqually Bridge. Snow was soft from about 8500′ til we hit the shade…Firm above 8500′.”
Dean Cummings, Alaska heliski pioneer and big mountain, steep skiing icon, has been nominated for Avalaunch’s Winter Market Awards for Educator of the Year and Ambassador of the Year – congratulations Dean! Since he began pioneering routes in Alaska’s Chugach Range, this former US Ski Team Captain has been working super hard to keep folks safe thanks to his FREE Steep Life Protocols safety presentation. His presentation recently toured 31 stops in 23 cities across 6 states including our home stomping grounds. Those who joined us for the free presentations experienced first hand the valuable knowledge and passion that Dean has to share. Please take a moment to click on this link and vote for Dean as Educator of the Year and Ambassador of the Year! Then join Dean at his Steep Life Party next Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 at 6pm, Hyatt Regency Denver Strata Bar. All are welcome to join us for this fun event.
Our Trooper dog has been very sick – the vet says he’s dying. TNT, who adopted him as a pup and taught him to ’ski’ the steepest slopes, is beside himself. We need to send them both some positive vibes today — pray for Trooper dog. So many of our readers have come to know Trooper and enriched his and our lives by sharing in our adventures on snow. A year ago, TNT posted this short conditions report from his backyard, Summit East (aka Hyak). Always accompanied by Trooper, he did a night skin up the ski area. It was a typical deep January day having just received over 12 inches in the past 24 hours at Hyak and 3 feet in the last 72 hours at Alpental. The kind of day that we and Trooper live for. I’ve often said that TNT is super intuitive – note his choice of music from Lionheart and the lyrics toward the end of this video: “we got 1 life to live, never know when it’s over. fight ’til my last day but i still fight to keep my composure”. Thanks for being a part of our lives and for helping to keep Trooper alive. Feel free to send a personal note to TNT using the mail icon link at the top right of this page.
So stoked to see that Backcountry Ski & Snowboard Routes Washington, is available for pre-order now. Those in the area can join the authors, Martin Volken and the guides of Pro Guiding Service for the book release party on Tues., Feb. 11, 2014 at the Mountaineers, 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle. This all new guide book includes 80 of the best routes in Washington (plus one in British Columbia). The routes range from accessible day trips suitable for relative beginners to more challenging multiday traverses. This guide book is a must have for anyone looking to ski or ride the best of Washington’s backcountry. Each route includes the following elements:
* Starting elevation and high point
* Elevation gain and loss
* Route distance
* Time required
* Recommended skill and fitness levels
* Best season to ski
* Maps and permits info
* Driving directions, from nearest major town or junction
* Detailed route description
* Backcountry Ski & Snowboard Routes: Washington also includes an introduction by legendary Northwest skier Lowell Skoog.
Martin Volken, owner of Pro Guiding Service and UIAGM certified Swiss Mountain Guide, also wrote the definitive book on Backcountry Skiing Snoqualmie Pass and co-authored the classic Backcountry Skiing: Skills for Ski Touring And Ski Mountaineering. Add those to your library too. In addition, be sure to check out Pro Guiding Service’s wide range of ski touring courses and trips – one of our favs, Intro to Ski Touring starts tomorrow. Watch our video from the class and sign up now. Live to ski another day.
Finally the ENTIRE “Cascade Crown” was blessed with the goods last week, beginning on the morning of the 9th, then a huge re-load Saturday night through Sunday. Here’s what the snowriding was like at one of the six gems, Crystal Mountain. Thanks to Carl Simpson for the sweet eye candy edit of their two great dayz last week!
Speaking of our Cascade Crown, that gives us so many options for folks East or West of the Crest, I wanted to let everyone know of a great deal for those that might be needing a ride out of the city up to the mountains to get their fix too! Our friends at Seattle Ski Shuttle are offering a ski shuttle originating out of West Seattle, with some strategic stops along the way, OR just hire the shuttle bus for an office ski day, b-day party, etc.
Just wrapped up our mini PNW tour with Dean Cummings and on our Mission Ridge/Stevens Pass stops, our trip’s park team (the Tran Brothers) were M.I.A. Then I remembered the first time I met Tyler Tran (at the Red Bull Third Shift standing on the top podium spot), when he told me the park action usually happens in a dry spell and they’d rather climb for some sweet turns on a natural BIG mountain park. Looks like Tyler Tran, Thomas Tran, Ashton Ritchie, Mik Metzler, and Tim Black jumped on a perfect opportunity to ski a huge, freshly loaded, natural park… Mt. Baker, via the Squak Glacier.
Here’s a nice looking tour the gang hit just before our last blast of snow ( Jan. 4th and 5th) when a Snow Trooper had to work a little harder for the goods. Below are a few notes/excellent pics from Jameson Florence, along with a sweet video from Carl Simpson.
Jeff knew that there would be some good turns to be had on rock mountain but with a long, steep, icy approach spent the better part of an hour that morning convincing the team to go. He succeeded in talking Jim Dockery, Eric Rouse, Franklin, Carl Simpson, and myself Jameson Florence into the day trip. We drove up the spur road as far as the down trees would let us and started to walk. For over an hour we bushwhacked through dense alder and very slippery icy dirt. With only a few crashes to our knees and faces we finally made it to skinnable snow and punched a track to the promise land.
Soon the conditions went from thin and sunbaked to creamy powder, all thoughts of having to walk back down that trail quickly vanished into certain face shots in the near future.
below is a short video by Carl Simpson of the powder dayz on 1/4 and 1/5/2014
This is the moment we and all Alpentalics have been waiting for – Alpental OPENS tomorrow, Sunday, 1/12/14. All of Summit at Snoqualmie’s areas will be open 9am-4pm except Summit East/Hyak. It’s going to be a great day: snow is piling up fast. Mid-January has a history of bringing Snowmageddon to Washington’s Cascades and this one looks to be (finally) shaping up to meet expectations. Could we have a blower day like the one in our video intro below? If snow forecasts are right, we’re looking at a possible 36″ in the next 24hrs or so for the West slopes of the WA Cascades. Be prepared for a deep one and live to ski another day! GO SEAHAWKS!