With a big dose of water hitting the Cascades under 4,500′ today, I thought a wave skiing video of Chuck Patterson riding Jaws (in Maui) would fit our current WET theme. This new passion of Chuck’s was sparked by a project of Mike Douglas back in 2009, when he and another skier/surfer brought it to life. Pretty cool video on a warm rainy PNW day. BTW, the Cascade snow level is dropping way down tonight!!!
A few weeks back, Dean Cummings (owner/lead guide of H2O “Heli” Guides ) was rolling through the PNW on his “Steep Life” tour, when he mentioned getting some footage from his heli of Chris Davenport skiing a beautiful early season line, this past October in Valdez, AK. The shoot was for a “Wild Turkey” ad, I guess that would be called a “Turkey shoot”, which features Chris Davenport boot packing up a ridge as he tells his story, reaching the summit, clicking in, and letting it flow. Having skied with both of these powerful, “World Champion” BIG mountain skiers on a few different occasions, I couldn’t wait to see the video go live and share it with everyone. A little side note about Davenport, not only is he one of the most dynamic skiers I have ever seen fly down a mountain (and happened to capture on video), but this Red Bull athlete can fly up the mountain too, using good old human power. I am certain, Chris would be a top competitor on the randonnee rally tour, having seen him climb 7,000′ to my 3,500′ on the last day of his “14 day assault of 15 NW volcanos”, dubbed as the “Ring of Fire Tour” (which gave Chris and Jess McMillian a 14 day total vertical well over 70,000′… AMAZING)! Check out the video then go live your own adventure (with in your limits)!!!
Just like most of us, Tara and Carl Simpson are ready for the 2013/2014 season to ramp up and start producing the goods for some serious lift assisted downhill powder skiing. In the “off” season, up here in the PNW, Tara and Carl are out getting after it more than most ( it also helps that their nice sized crew of awesome friends are constantly planning Summer dayz, which keeps the motivation HIGH). Now everyone is settling in at their home mountains, putting the Summer boards away, and waiting for the real GO time! The Simpons’ have spent a bunch of days this past month getting some great skiing in at their home stomping grounds of Crystal Mountain, with or with out uphill aid. Below is an edit from Carl capturing some of the highlights of November.
below Tara Simpson climbing for the goods/photo credit Carl Simpson
Last Sunday, the 24th, it was time to take Trooper dog for a walk behind the house to Silver Peak. My original thought, was to ski a little wind loaded hoar in the NW bowl… WRONG! The main reason I went for Silver was due to the snowline allowing me to drive almost to Windy Pass. Not enough snow to take the Winter route to the bowl, so I walked the road, where 1 jeep (or something) had made it all the way to the fire pit, located at the base of Silver Peak (very impressive).
below you can seen the runnels that were mostly locked up good n tight!
If I had a rad jeep, I would have missed the best skiing of the day, THE ROAD, which was mostly covered with an average of apx one half inch of hoarfrost (which is shown in the beginning of the vid where Trooper gets a nice time lapse of us – Trooper is such a great camera dog, always getting the great angles).
below is a short video of the typical conditions up here on Snoqualmie Pass, WA
As far as the skiing in the bowl, it was mostly locked up tight and the steeps were runneled with deep tight trenches, as if Paul Bunyon had a giant groomer that laid corduroy that had been rained on before the week of sun and below freezing temps ( I had some full rockerd fat boards that actually worked quite well for the funky contoured slopes of variable snow the mountain had to offer).
below – Chickamin Peak
BTW, as I was amazed by the alpenglow on my way back to Hyak, thinking the next trip this week would be on a nice SW pitch (which will take a little more work up here but, should pay off). Have a great Thanksgiving!!!
below – Alta Mountain
“The Pass Life” photo contest is wrapping up, so cast a vote for the shot that says it best… “The Pass Life”. Big things have been happening up here on Snoqualmie Pass, WA and we can thank EVO Gear’s Bryce Phillips not only for his hard work in helping move the ski industry the right direction on a world wide level, but also a HUGE thanks is needed for all of his hard work right here on his home stomping grounds of Snoqualmie Pass, WA. Bryce’s recent hard work on Snoqualmie Pass is not a ski industry project (technically speaking), but a construction project! This isn’t a cabin get away for him and his ski buddies, it’s a ski community of 50 Townhomes, a Bar and Grill, a Museum, and a BREWERY!!! 12 of the 50 units are standing and we are beyond stoked for the good things that should follow Bryce’s HUGE move to get Snoqualmie Pass into the correct century. So I’m asking a few things from everyone, 1st- Visit The Pass Life fb page and give it a LIKE, 2nd- Check out the photos of the new project in full swing, and 3rd- Please give a vote for this pic Cory Tarilton captured of our very own Andrew Eckels going huge at Alpental! visit this link to VOTE FOR CORY!
To vote for Cory’s photo above click HERE
Being a SW boy originally, I would often travel though SE Colorado. So much Southwest goodness to “soak in” on a trip to this awesome corner of Colorado, everything from young amazing mountains that offer stunning views, ghost towns, one of the 7 cities of gold (Mesa Verde – a mind blowing must see), take a ride on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gage Railroad, but most of all seek out the cold smoke of Durango Mountain Resort (which will put you in “Purgatory”- a state between work and responsibility ). Many thanks to our friends at Peak Travels for the video below, which will give you an excellent taste of what will be waiting when you visit this SW gem, Durango Mountain Resort.
Here’s another fantastic looking get away, located just a few clicks outside Fernie, BC. Island Lake Lodge/Catskiing offers excellent terrain for most levels, fine dining/lodging, epic views, and loads of POWDER! Remember this powder stash, especially when there is a trip being planned with a family member(s) or maybe the extended family that doesn’t ski, because they will have a blast in Fernie, while you are blasting through cold blower! Below are a few words from Island Lake Lodge in regards to the very accessible lodge and cat operation.
For 25 years Island Lake Catskiing has been at the top of the list of must ski destinations for every serious skier or boarder. Vast, spectacular terrain topped with 12 metres (40 feet) of snow that consistently makes for some of the best skiing in the world. Island Lake is the ultimate destination for luxury catskiing, spacious rooms with soaker tubs, five star cuisine, full service spa and guest service second to none. There is good reason as to why it’s challenging to get a booking at this world class resort. ~ Island Lake Lodge
Below is Island Lake Catskiing seen through the lens of Freeride Media
Northern Arizona has been on my radar in recent days, due to the current weather slamming them and mostly because of this short clip Josh Langdon shot of his bro, Ryan Seumptewa. In this 30 second vid Ryan takes a turn where no one had done before, on this breath taking “White Line” route found high in the red rocks of Sodona! When I say breath taking, I mean for the spectators!!! That’s the first Sunday morning video I hope will add a little adrenaline jolt to your coffee and get you ready for the 2nd vid.
The next video, shows how Josh and the gang shift gears when the snow starts flying, in their rad home town of Flagstaff, Arizona (which sits at 7,000′ above sea level). Just outside of town you will find the 9,200 foot base area of the Arizona Snowbowl, which is where the video below originated. The lift system gets them a nice jump start to the amazing terrain the 12,000+ San Francisco Peaks have to offer. Check it, then go visit this really cool zone and see everything from the ghost town of Jerome, to the red rocks of Sodona, and MOST of all, ski the Arizona Snowbowl (and their back country).
Wondering where to ski this weekend on cold crisp snow that has been groomed up to perfection? Oh yeah, forgot, only 20 bucks and LOTS of sunshine too! The mountain I recommend is Mission Ridge, which is located on the far Eastern slopes of the Cascades in a zone which only gets a fraction of the snow the other Cascade areas receive, but the snow they get is preserved by the “East side’s” colder Winters. I love this mountain for the cruisers and views, but what puts it much higher on my list than other cruiser mountains, like Idaho’s Schweitzer for instance, is Mission Ridge actually has and offers some really cool, BIG mountain lift served terrain with NO lift lines!
Get it this weekend if you’re close or put it on the hit list for a family destination get away, that will please everyone in the group, including the money manager (If you are coming in for a destination visit, I highly suggest staying in the super cool town of Leavenworth, WA – in pic below).
below is a great one which showcases what some locals might not want seen…
Our friend, Zack Giffin, gives his take along with a tour of his home ski area Mt. Baker, WA. As I have told so many before, I am a huge fan of Mt. Baker and the surrounding endless peaks of the North Cascades, but most of all my dog, Trooper, is welcome to ski everywhere with me and the gang (even on the actual Volcano, Mt. Baker). However, The Snow Troopers call it our home in a way, due to the fact our backcountry here on Snoqualmie Pass meets up with theirs around Stevens Pass, aka the Mt. Baker- Snoqualmie National Forest (I guess we just refer to our home, as the Cascades)!