Happy Memorial Day to all skiers & riders. Many of us saw fresh snow for the long weekend – here in Washington, New England and overseas, the winter like weather just keeps coming. Crystal Mountain (WA), Mt. Hood (OR), Mammoth Mountain (CA), A-Basin (CO), Aspen (CO), Whistler Blackcomb all opened this weekend for lift served turns. Here in Washington, the National Weather Service forecasted snow for the West slopes of the Cascades above 4000-6500ft all week and Crystal Mountain received 6″ by the time this weekend got started (it’s a cool 32 degrees at the summit right now). Overseas, our friend Tom Greenall reports the same – he spent the day on the Aiguille du Midi of Chamonix, France skiing the Rognon variation of the classic Vallee Blanche route. Here’s his video. Send us yours from this weekend to share.
News just in that at around 7pm today, the Skagit River bridge on i-5 (milepost 228) in Mt. Vernon, WA collapsed. Both direction of i-5 are now closed in the area. This is the route we normally take to get to or from the Mt. Baker zone. Traffic is backed up and being detoured to side streets.
Here’s a recent trip (by off season standards) to the Shuksan Arm with Andrew Eckels and Jacob Mandell. Below are a few words from Andrew along with a short video of the day.
On Thursday May 9th Jacob Mandell and I set out to ski some lines far out on the Shuksan arm. Missed alarms and forgotten gear led to a late start and we found that the north slopes had pretty gloppy snow by the time we were dropping in. We decided to go for a South facing chute we had scoped a while back and after an exiting down climb to get in we reaped steep corn turns! After one yo yo of fun mellow corn we climbed back to the arm and skied slow motion but consistent glop back to the car.
Very excited to have met Tyler Tran, another one of Andrew Eckels’ Western Washington University ski friends, this past February as he won the “Red Bull Third Shift”, which was held at Summit Central. I was quite surprised when we interviewed Tyler after the Red Bull event to learn they spend most of their time big mountain skiing and hit the park in between the storms. The video below is a nice blend of powder and park Tyler Tran style, Check it, then check back for some Summer vids we hope to kick out with Tyler, Kevin, Andrew and the gang!!!
We’re excited to hear that WSDOT is planning to reopen Chinook Pass this Friday, May 17 at 10 a.m.!! This is one of our favorite backcountry zones in Washington – it’s located on SR 410 between the towns of Enumclaw and Naches at 5,430ft- about five miles east of the Cayuse Pass summit and at the east entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. Check out the goods in video below from last year’s opening day.
On this nice and warm day in Western Washington, a day when it had one of the two hottest cities (Seattle & Phoenix) in the U.S.A., a lot of people were thinking of a cooler place. Here’s a cooler time/place from last month with the Cascade Crew getting some lift served goods.
Another sweet one from high above Wedgemount Lake in the Whistler/Pemberton area. The video below features some of Mt. Cook’s sweet steep goodness. Below are a few words from Andy Traslin in regards to the April 21st trip.
Owls couloir has been the objective but Mt.Cook keeps blocking. I’ve been wanting to ski this line since I did the Wedge to Currie traverse from parking lot to Pemberton in under 22 hours with my brother and a couple of elite mountain bike racers back in the 90s. It’s close but far as day trips go. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Wedge area from the introduction to mountaineer days. Neck belays, grovelling on the south side of Wedge up the boulder fields and cornice drops on the NE arete. So it seems interesting to come back years later to feed my couloir addiction. Surprisingly you can have some cool adventure skiing so close to Vancouver. There’s a good bet you won’t run into many people on these couloirs. So thanks to the weather blocking the access in the morning and afternoons. We were able to ski some fun lines on the over looked peak of Mt Cook on the north side. Just be prepared to do the 5000 foot stair master approach with 2 by 4s on your back.
With sunny skies and temps hitting the mid to high 60s and above this weekend, the snow is sure to be soft, sticky and slow. You’ll want a good warm weather wax. I’ve been using Swix’ HVC Warm liquid topping all week on what everyone is calling sticky and slow snow and it’s working like magic. TNT and everyone else felt severe drag and stickiness as we got lower down the mountain. But I glided just fine – no friction with Swix’ HVC Warm on my 105mm skis. This is Swix’ new HVC (High Velocity Cera F) fluorinated product. It’s easy to apply and will last for a few days if it’s over a recently waxed/clean base. The good news is that unlike some warm weather base products, this one doesn’t affect my skins – they adhere just fine. Only down side is price. $200 per bottle BUT you can easily get 20 wax jobs out of it so think of it as $10 per app. Add it to your wish list.
Alpental, WA is going to be off the hook this weekend – blue bird and in the mid to high 60s (meaning it’ll feel even hotter). Come join us for the Back Bowls Booter Buddies event and the Cinco de Mayo celebration (and TNT’s birthday) on closing day. It currently has the #1 deepest lift served snow pack in N. America with 181″ at the summit and 90″ at the base. Lifts will spin from 9am to 4pm. Bring your current or next season’s pass from any other ski area and ski all day for just $25. Lift tickets are discounted for non-passholders as follows:
Adult 9am-4pm: $40
Adult 1pm-4pm: $35
Youth/Senior 9am-4pm: $30
Youth/Senior 1pm-4pm: $25
Cayuse Pass is opening tomorrow, May 3, 2012 at Noon! TGIF! Washington’s Cayuse Pass summit is located at the junction of State Routes 123 and 410 at 4,675ft (and just five miles west of the Chinook Pass summit which remains closed). Seems like it didn’t take our WSDOT crews very long to clear this one even though the snow was 30ft deep in places. The stretch of road to be re-opened is between the gates on SR 410 just south of Crystal Mountain Boulevard and on SR 123 at the Mount Rainier National Park entrance. That amounts to eight miles of SR 410 and nearly 14 miles of SR 123 that’s been untouched all winter until now. Cayuse Pass connects to Chinook Pass and White Pass on the east side of Mount Rainier National Park so there is plenty of backcountry terrain. WSDOT asks everyone to stick to what’s open and not venture beyond the closed gate towards Chinook Pass which is still closed. As of 4/30, WSDOT was still performing avalanche control beyond the closures (after our latest spring storm which dumped 15″ of snow on Snoqualmie Pass on 4/29 alone). WSDOT is working to have Chinook Pass open before Memorial Day weekend. Mt. Rainier’s website has the opening scheduled for May 21st! Keep checking back for updates. Enjoy the blue bird, 65 degree weather tomorrow and please note that the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center issued a special statement today due to increased avalanche danger as a result of the warm up. Be safe out there. Live to ski another day.