Quick post from a couple dayz at Crystal this past week with Rory Robison, David O’Donnell, Tara and Carl Simpson, before I get out this Saturday morning to see what the grip of new Spring snow is skiing like at the home mountain of Alpental. I’m sure Tara and Carl are probably doing the same thing, right now at Crystal. Have an AWESOME Saturday Snow Troopers! photo credit- Carl Simpson
Many Northwest resorts received snow this week – lots of it. The top of Alpental at the Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington received a whopping 19″ this week bringing the total snow base to 187″! Alpental remains at the top of the list of the nation’s ski resorts with the deepest snow base, followed by neighboring resorts here and in Oregon. Most ski resorts are closed now so if you want to keep skiing and riding in May and through spring and summer, check the list below. Here in the Pacific NW, there will be at least one lift running all summer at Timberline, OR. Beyond the lift served areas, WA’s deep snow base and glaciers will offer something for the ski touring/splitboarding crowd all summer long.
Here’s a great late season powder day, Tim Black and Thomas Tran captured last Friday (4/18/2014) in the Mt. Baker backcountry. The snow keeps on falling, even in the lower elevations, so our Spring/Summer season is looking quite good!
Good new for Earth Day 2014 here in WA: Snow levels have dropped to ~3000′ and it’s SNOWING at Snoqualmie Pass.That zone is forecast to receive up to 10″ by tomorrow. But that’s just a third of what’s forecast for up at Paradise (5400′ elevation) in Mt. Rainier National Park – they are looking at up to 30″ of freshies this week. It’s no wonder Paradise is known as the snowiest place on earth (that is, of all places where snow depths are monitored). With our 14hr days, backcountry tours are getting bigger and better. Be sure you’re prepared. If you’re in our zone, check out gear, classes and guided trips at Pro Guiding Services of N. Bend. Live to ski another day!
A ski touring fan I met in the parking lot of Summit East ski area, about a month ago, brought to my attention a couple “for sale” signs (hanging in the windows facing the lots). I have grown to NOT notice the signs (having seen them checkered across the windows for years), only the new faces when they change ownership. I wanted to bring this to light, seeing these units turn over and over, but never to a friend in the “year round” BIG mountain ski touring world (like the person in the lot – who seemed interesed?). Another note about Summit East, it only operates on the weekends, making it a great place for the quick 1,000′ vert walk/ski, like so many of my friends drive up from the city to do in carpool mode… Why not condopool mode it, so I have a rotating “condo door” of touring partners. Especially right NOW, when the getting is getting real good in the high country. Be sure to PM us here on the site or our fb page if you are serious about more info on places for sale on Snoqualmie Pass, WA. Oh yeah, another selling point, besides the great Spring ski touring, is that Alpental is still open on weekends, typically ’til Cino de Mayo, with the deepest snowpack in N. America ( the terrain is not to bad either )
4/20/2014, will be a very good memory for this Snow Trooper. 1st, an Easter Sunday that was filled with a lot of sun, followed by filtered sun for the final lift served hours on N. America’s #1 deepest snowpack (not to mention the most “LIFT SERVED” sidecountry too). 2nd, the protected 18” of fresh snow found in the back bowls, far exceeded my expectations, so I took the short walk up to Pineapple pass. Giving me a little more late season powder skiing, with only 4 other skiers in Great Scott Bowl wrapping up the very fine day.
So, wondering where to ski and who has the snowpack?
1. Alpental, WA – 179” @ 5,420’, open weekends & Cinco de Mayo
2. Stevens Pass, WA – 149” @ 5,845’, open weekends ‘til 4/27
3. Timberline, OR – 147” @ 6,000’, open daily
4. Mt. Bachelor, OR – 146” @ 7,300’, open daily -TBD
5. White Pass, WA – 145” @ 6,550’, open weekends ‘til 5/4
6. Grand Targhee, WY – 134” @ 7,860’, open weekends ‘til 4/27
7. Crystal Mtn., WA – 120” @ 6,230’, open weekends ‘til mid May, TBD
8. Mt. Hood Meadows, OR – 109” @ 5,250’, open daily thru 4/27
9. Snowbird, UT – 99” open daily thru TBD
10. Alta, UT – 99” – open weekends ‘til 5/4
Below is an ultra short vid of the day…
This past Friday (4/18/2014), Jeff Rich and Chris Olsen enjoyed an awesome ski day on Mount Pilchuck, with not another one or two plankin’ living soul for miles and miles. Mount Pilchuck is a peak found off the “Mountain Loop Highway”, about 60 miles NE of Seattle. On a clear day it offers epic views from the “old fire lookout”, which now can be a welcomed skier or hiker shelter on a not so perfect PNW outing. Be sure to check out the short video Jeff put together of their day on Ole Pilly.
Crystal Mountain, WA has some BIG plans in store for us. We’re not just talking about tomorrow, Sat. April, 19, 2014 when they’re packing in 3 fun events: Bikini & Board Shorts Downhill, King & Queen of the Hill Freeskiing and Riding Competition (video below) AND Washington’s Jr Freeride Championships. Sure, Crystal Mtn. looks like the place to be tomorrow – but even more so in years to come: we are super stoked to share news that Crystal will be adding TWO new chairs for the 2014/15 season, TWO MORE new chairs out of B and C parking lots and a new slopeside hotel! For next season, we’ll see a new fixed grip double “Chair 6″ (which replaces the High Campbell chair taken out by an avalanche on March 10, 2014) and a new Quicksilver fixed-grip CTEC quad (replacing the double). TWO MORE lifts planned for the next couple of years will be Kelly’s Gap Express and Bullion Basin out of the B lot and C lot, respectively. The latter will provide access to some of the best ski-touring terrain in the area. Crystal’s goal is to build both of these lifts within the next 3 years, with one as early as next summer. Lastly, in the next few years, Crystal will be breaking ground on a new 150 room hotel where the Chapel building is currently located. The hotel will start with an initial 45 rooms spread out over three floors with additional rooms built as single-family cabins scattered along the hillside. More slopeside rooms, lifts from B & C lots – wow, now that’s good news – Crystal, you rock!
All eyes are on our WSDOT teams as they began work this month on clearing snow off two of Washington’s most popular mountain passes: North Cascades Highway SR20 and Chinook Pass -gateways to some of our favorite backcountry skiing terrain. The WSDOT teams are working hard (as usual) to get North Cascades Highway open by mid-May and Chinook Pass open on Friday, May 23 in time for Memorial Day weekend. The opening of Cayuse Pass usually happens between those two (or as early as May 2? this yr per Mt. Rainier NP’s site – which also has White River Rd. to White River Campground pegged for a 5/23/14 estimated opening). When WSDOT measured snow depths back in mid-March along the North Cascades Hwy, the summit of Washington Pass measured almost 10 ft, which is double the depth of last year. Snow on the highway below the Liberty Bell avalanche chutes averaged 35 ft deep. As of yesterday, the West and East side crews are 11 miles apart (at MP 153 and Spiral Gulch MP 164 just 1 mi. east of Liberty Bell Mtn, respectively). The forecast is calling for up to 9″ of new snow by tomorrow at >4500′ but we hope WSDOT continues to plow on through. Once open, the North Cascades Highway, a Scenic Byway, provides the northernmost route across the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington and access to the 684,000 acres North Cascades National Park complex (with over 300 glaciers, the most in the U.S. outside of AK). Cayuse Pass located at 4,675 ft elevation and at the junction of State Routes 123 and 410 is about 5 mi west of the 5,430 ft high Chinook Pass summit. Cayuse Pass connects to Chinook Pass and White Pass on the east side of Mount Rainier National Park. As we count down to this year’s opening, check out this video featuring WSDOT’s Avalanche Specialist, John Stimberis, and Crystal Mountain’s King of the Hill, Andy DeVore, from a past opening day at Chinook Pass. Also, study up on Backcountry Ski and Snowboard Routes Washington, the definitive guide by Martin Volken and his team at Pro Guiding Service. Live to ski another day!
This past April first, began a 3 day powder fest for Matt Heffernan and a few friends. When you see the vid below of the deep pow they choked on for 3 days, you might think the April Fools joke was on all of those who didn’t make it up to either Big or Little Cottonwood Canyons. Knowing Matt has spent some post season time destroying the big jump lines of Mt. Hood, I’m hoping we can talk him into heading a little further North to join us for some Spring BIG line skiing here, in the Central Cascades! Photo credit – Matt Heffernan / Skeier – @Doctor_Grey