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Cascade Range, OR – Road Tripping for Powder

Cascade Range...

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Whitefish, MT – A Great Place to Visit or LIVE!

Whitefish, MT...

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Sierra Nevadas, CA – Hitting the Jackpot

Sierra Nevada...

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Cascade Mountain Range, WA – Searching for Good Snow

Cascade Mount...

26
Oct

Still a little bummed that we all were locked out Mt. Rainier NP earlier this month when all the snow was falling, keeping us from our main NW staple. However, with the park back open, it still provides the easy access to the higher elevations where the snow is still hanging in there for a good ski. This past Tuesday, the 22nd, David O’Donnell, Tara and Carl Simpson rolled towards Rainier’s Paradise lot in search of a little steep fun. After a nice walk to Camp Muir, lunch and a Rainier brew, the crew headed for the main Nisqually Chute. Conditions looked sweet in the to steeps, but got a little thin and boney nearing the bottom. High pressure in NW has just given Seattle a 10 day stretch of fog ( 3 longest on record ) and the Cascades full on sun, so there is still a chance to get those Fall color hikes in for a bit.


photo credit above and video edit below all courtesy Carl Simpson… Enjoy, then “Get INTO the Mountains!”

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24
Oct

The 2014 Helmet line up for Scott Sports has a few new additions that caught my eye, especially the models with the MIPS Brain Protection System (BPS) inside some of these good looking brain buckets. Below are a few of our favorites for the upcoming season, that will help you not only “Live to Ski Another Day” but look great too!


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22
Oct

This past weekend, Jacob Mandell and crew headed up for Mt. Baker to harvest a little corn and take in some sun soaked views. Below are a few words from Jacob, along with his short edit of the epic day.


With most of the regular skier crew out of town or sick, the all splitboard crew of Woods, Patrick Longly and Jacob Mandell went out to try and tag the summit of Mt Sherman, a sub summit of Mt Baker. After a 4:30 AM alpine start under moonlight we began climbing up what we thought was the ridge that would lead us towards the Talum Glacier, unfortunately once light reached us we realized we were slightly off track. We instead opted for some amazing corn riding on the Squak Glacier, which definitely did not disappoint. Everyone agreed, it was some of the best corn turns we had ever ridden.


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18
Oct

The Tusk Guide Pack, by H2O Outdoor Gear is an extremely functional pack designed by Alaskan helicopter skiing pioneer, Dean Cummings. Not only is Dean a BIG mountain guide and world class skier (former U.S. Freestyle Ski Team Captain and 1995 World Extreme Skiing Champion) but also a prominent leader in outdoor safety and avalanche awareness education (Avalaunch Educator of the Year in 2011 and 2012). That wealth of experience and passion for the Steep Life shows in the long list of features in this pack. It’s evident that the “Tusk” Guide Pack was designed by a “real” skier and it’s our pick for backcountry skiers like us who want to “Live to Ski Another Day!” It’s the largest of the H20 Outdoor Gear packs, intended for backcountry skiers and ski patrollers who carry some weight. Take a look at the video below to hear Dean tell you all about the “Tusk” Guide Pack. After you watch the review, be sure to watch the wicked ski descent that inspired the name and demonstrates how your focus in the backcountry needs to be in other places, not your pack. For more information or to puchase, visit h2ooutdoorgear.com.


“Tusk” Guide Pack Review by Dean Cummings


Dean Cummings skiing the Tusk!

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14
Oct

This past Winter our friend, Robert Jarlenäs (along with a few of his bros), spent a couple early season months in Nendaz, Switzerland exploring a little of the endless backcountry, served up by an amazing network of lifts. Below is Robert’s early season video. I also posted up a map of all the ski areas they could access from Nendaz. Huge area with so much lift served backcounty access!





















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13
Oct

October 9th, Carl Simpson, Jeff Rich, David O’Donnell, David Britton, Amar Anadalkar, and James Fletcher, all headed up the Mt. Baker Highway for the Hannegan Pass TH parking lot. Enough snow had fallen during the last week or so that the crew didn’t have to make the nasty “Summer” approach up the goat trail, above Hannegan Pass (just over 4 miles in, on the Summer trail). Instead, they were able to ditch the trail runners and go to “skins on” mode at the campsite just a half mile below Hannegan Pass. Nice to see everything filling in nicely up high… Time to wrap up all the lower elevation Fall chores, before it’s GAME ON! Take a look at Carl’s video below, showing the snow conditions up in the North Cascades earlier this week.



above: ski skinner/Jeff Rich, photo credit/Carl Simpson. Below: Carl’s edit of the Ruth day

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11
Oct

As most of you know Crystal Mountain opened last Wednesday, for a half day on the 2+ feet that fell in the Cascades. If you follow the site a little, you might have seen that the Simpsons’ were both there riding the gondy, which in a way, led them to Chinook Pass the following day (with David O’Donnell and Rory Robison). Heading North on the PCT for a couple miles led them to Sheep Lake and a pocket of goodness on any aspect.



above: Sheep Lake/photo credit Carl Simpson,


below: short edit Carl put together of their 10/2/13 day, out at Sourdough Gap.

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08
Oct

This past Friday the 4th, Jacob Mandell, Cory Tarilton and Andrew Eckels wanted to get a little of the new snow everyone has been itching to ski. Liviing out of Bellingham, it only made sense to head up the Mt. Baker Highway. This time the powder hound noses of the three schoolmates, led them into the Twin Lakes area, Below are a few words from Jacob in regards to their day.


split boarder – Jacob Mandell, photo credit Cory Tarilton



With snow levels falling and a huge low pressure system rolling into the northwest the stoke was high for some early season powder skiing. The crew of Jacob Mandell, Andrew Eckels, and Cory Tarilton headed out to chase the powder off the Mt Baker highway near the border of Canada. We were greeted with an amazing amount of snow for the time of year, with some turns feeling like they were from mid-winter. After harvesting lots of powder turns, all agreed it was some of the best skiing we had done this early in the year. Hope the rest of october keeps delivering the goods!


Below is a sweet short video that Jacob put together of the excellent October day.
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05
Oct

Big snow falling in the Cascades to kick off October, had the “year round” ski community chomping at the bit for some easy access powder turns (Or at least we thought). However, along with the government shut down, so came an end to our easy access powder skiing. The go to location for “skins on” at the car WAS going to be Mt. Rainier’s Paradise parking lot, which would have led us to some excellent skiing on Muir snowfield. Once Rainier was out, we focused our ideas towards the volcano to the North, Mt. Baker. Only to find it was a no go for many reasons, one of which might have been a mid-week shutdown of Hwy 542 for drainage maintenance (not to mention the Glacier Creek Rd still being short of Heliotrope’s TH)? Lucky for us, the Crystal Mountain ski area crew sent out their snow report Monday from the top of the gondola (apx 6,900′), with well over 20 inches of new snow. Enough snow had fallen that the Crystal management would offer a half day ski for a very lucky 75 people. Two of those lucky powder hounds just happened to be Tara and Carl Simpson. After their choice day at Crystal Mountain, Carl felt the snow depth was good enough to give Chinook Pass a try the following day (Wednesday). Bingo!!! Carl reported good coverage in the Sourdough Gap zone, so this Snow Trooper was in rally mode to head up for a little of the same on Thursday.


Below is a calming 2:22 video of the day, eh.


Our friend Cristin Kloeck, joined Trooper and myself for sunshine, a little powder and epic views. When we made the apx 2 1/2 mile slog along the Pacific Crest Trail to Sourdough gap, I thought how lucky we were to be traveling the trail with knee deep snow on most sections. On the flip side, I couldn’t help but think of all the PCT through hikers (Mexico to Canada backpackers) that are pinned down, on the trail and in hostels up and down the Cascades of Washington state, wondering if they can complete their massive journey. We made it up to Sourdough Gap just in time to catch Eric Yotz and Pavel Dolezen testing the goods. Even seeing them and their skis survive the low coverage hitting NOTHING, I was still a little nervous for the first couple turns, not wanting to end the season before it began. The turns were excellent all the way down to Crystal Lake. I think the skis will go back in storage and keep the trail runners out for a bit longer. Also, If I do bust the skis back out before Winter is ON, most likely it will be on a glacier.



above – Naches Peak/Chinook Pass as seen from Sourdough Gap

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03
Oct

Crystal Mountain, WA 10/3/13

Friends from out of town heard that Crystal Mountain, WA opened on Oct. 1st, 2013 for skiing and riding and emailed us asking: “REALLY?”. Yes, REALLY – they opened but just for 1 single half day and we have the video below to prove it. Conditions were incredible. OCTOBER 1st POW – amazing! As you can see from the photo to the left, some are still hiking to it today. In case you were wondering, all our resorts in the west slopes of the Cascade Mountains received snow this week. Some more than others – Mt. Baker already has a foot at their base. Could this mean some resorts will open super early? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, don’t forget to buy your ski pass and enjoy this fun video courtesy of Snow Trooper, Carl Simpson. Live to ski another day!

 

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