This past Friday the 21st, Jeff Rich, Jameson Florence and Chris Olsen were slaying the fresh at their home mountain of Stevens Pass (which you might remember being in the social media spotlight recently, for the planned avalanche control work on Rooster Comb and the near miss that took place on March 20th, in the Fluer de lis). In the short video below, Jeff and the crew get the Pencil Chute (a sweet line apx ¼ mile from the incident the day prior) & some, taking their time with safety and ski cuts in mind. Live to ski another day, and always know your limits!
Southwest backcountry from last Monday, with Chuck Freeman and company. This trip was to Heaven’s Hill, a classic zone outside the “Ski Santa Fe” ski area. Love this town and area, and it’s been a decade or so since I’ve been… We will have to get a “Four Corners” road trip planned in the future, knowing how many sweet SW ski areas there are in this part of country ( which also happen to offer a jump start for some excellent backcountry).
3/23/2014 UPDATE: NWAC report on this incident reads: Around 4:45 PM on Saturday afternoon 2 skiers and a dog descending the looker’s left (or skier’s right) avalanche path on the south side of Granite Mt (visible from I-90) triggered a slab avalanche that stepped down to a deeper slab. Upon review of crown photos (below) and conversations with local avalanche professionals from Snoqualmie Pass it seems most likely that the initial slab failure on this cross loaded path included the Wed/Thu storm snow and the second slab of similar depth included last Sun/Mon storm snow with the bonds between these layers weakened by strong solar input and potential melt water in the upper snowpack during the afternoon. The best estimate right now is that both slabs were at least 1 foot in depth. The skier caught and eventually killed in the slide left the ridgeline at about 5200 ft in elevation and skied onto a steep (40+ degrees) slope. The avalanche became a large and destructive wet slab funneling down to around 2300′, entraining increasingly saturated snow lower in the avalanche path and at times gouging to the ground. Initial size estimates are at least D3/R3. The other person was in a safe zone and not affected. The skier who was caught was buried under 20 feet of debris but was recovered Sunday morning by local search and rescue efforts. Another party of two lower on Granite was not caught and aided in the preliminary search efforts. We don’t believe the upper snowpack structure that led to this accident is common throughout the west slopes. However, we are increasingly concerned about wet snow avalanches on Monday, including those in isolated areas that could lead to wet slab avalanches. ORIGINAL POST 3/22/2014: We heard an avalanche close to home on Granite Mountain off i90 Exit 47 claimed the life of a backcountry skier yesterday. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the lost skier. The avalanche struck on the face of Granite, looker’s left – we were able to see debris all the way down to the waterfall. This is the same danger zone that released last year in early April and claimed the life of a climber. It’s a sad reminder to us all that conditions, while they look nice under the sun, can still be dangerous given the recent snowfall and warming temperatures. Learn more about avalanche safety and forecasts at NWAC.us and shop for avalanche classes and gear at proguiding.com.
Crystal Mountain’s Ski Patrol opened Powder Bowl just after 1pm today to hikers only with access along the west ridge (since the High Campbell Chair was taken out by an avalanche). Carl Simpson sent us some video of the goods waiting for those who made the hike. Looks like plenty of nice fresh lines and powder -over a foot of new snow fell last week so it was clearly worth the effort.
Our friend Joey Mara, sent this one over last night from his home mountain, Stevens Pass, showing the good “CHOKER” times found on the first day of Spring. I was out late yesterday (at another gem within the Cascade Crown of jewels), and the recent snow seen in Joey’s POV vid is still skiing very nicely. Looking like a great weekend to head to the mountains! If you are up at Stevens Pass today and want to check out something intense, the Nordic Center will be hosting a biathlon all weekend. Also, put the Retro Fool’s Day event on the calendar for April 12th!
NOAA just released their 2014 spring weather outlook. If they’re right, the entire West coast could see warmer and drier conditions than normal for the next three months. That’s bad news for drought stricken California which just experienced its warmest and 3rd driest winter in 120 years of record keeping.
This upcoming Saturday, March 22nd, The Summit at Snoqualmie celebrates the first weekend Spring /the final weekend for ops at Summit West, by hosting the 2nd annual “Spring Splash – Pond Skim”. Only 50 “skimmers” will get the chance to cross the “even longer than last year’s” pond, from 1PM to 4PM. For more info on Summit West’s “Spring Splash – Pond Skim” final weekend bash click HERE. Below is a look back at last year’s pond skim.
Good one, sent over from Carl Simpson ripping the fresh around Crystal Mountain, with his wife Tara, this past March 10th and 11th. He also got a couple clips of heli avy control work near the huge slide that took out chair 6 recently. (photo credit – Carl Simpson)
Yep, calling this short edit the “Luck of the Irish”, because I was quite blown away by the lack of people and huge amount of untouched deep POW I found at Summit Central yesterday morning. If you are thinking about hitting the Cascades for the goods today, it should be a banger day at Alpental (where the lifts have yet to spin this week ). GET it!
This past Saturday (3/15/14), the Summit at Snoqualmie held the first ever jr. freeride comp., which took place down the Edelweiss chair line, giving everyone on the mountain a chance to spectate and ski. Conditions weren’t choice by any means, so these young rippers really had their work cut out for them as they showed off their BIG mountain skills, on a somewhat firm “Spring like” day (you could hear the loud slapping of their boards after stomping the drops of Rollen Rocks and the Fan). (above – girls 12-14 yrs: 1st place – Oli Mosely (left), and 2nd place – Anna Thompson 2nd place)
Below: 9-11 yrs: 1st place – Quincy Claesgens (center), 2nd place – Alec Lawrence (left of center), 3rd place – David Stonich jr. (who happens to be 6 yrs old ), along with Connor Kelly and Tanner Swanson.
Comp results below