Our Whitefish Montana friend, Adrian Dingle, who usually goes back to VT for the Winter, is sticking around the Western USA this season. Super stoked for that fact and can’t wait to connect with him over at BIG Mountain later this season. If you click on this video below, you’ll see why I can’t wait to go ski with him. This adventure of his was filmed during a few days over Christmas, riding the lifts at a super sweet ski area, which sits on the boarder of Idaho and Montana, Lost Trail!
Moments before a big, cold, snow storm was knocking at the door.
A short drive from the heart of the Cascades, through Sandpoint, ID, is a super sweet, world class resort, known as Schweitzer Mountain Resort. Unlike other world class resorts, the one thing that stood out to me on this trip and prior visits, is the short lift lines, which are found everywhere across this 2,900 acre playground (that has perfect terrain for everyone in your group and/or family). I did this trip last minute, so I traveled solo but did run into some locs that toured me around their steeps and super fast groomers. Right as I made it up the main high speed quad (The Great Escape) I was able to catch the amazing view you receive from the top, moments before a big blast of snow that was knocking on their door. The grooming was to perfection, which allowed me to let ‘em run fast on our way to all of my personal guide’s (Kara Fitzgerald) favorite tree and chute runs, which offered great visibility while the snow storm started to let loose. I skied with her and friends until this mountain with fast lifts and long runs tired out the legs, then it was off to the Wang Shack at the top of the mountain for a brew with a bunch of other local rippers that provide a lot of laughs. Side note, if you want to visit the Wang Shack, you’ll need to do it this season, because it is being replaced with a brand spankin’ new lodge being built 100 yards to the lookers’ right. The new “Summit Lodge” is a 3.8 million dollar project which will provide amazing views, good times and food in both the Winter and Summer months, as you should know, not only does this sweet mountain provide world class skiing they also take massive pride in their downhill mountain biking (along with other Summer activities like frisbee golf, hiking, or maybe just a relaxing lift ride up to the lodge). If you’d like to learn a little more about the “Summit Lodge” click HERE.
Below is a short video of my full day at Schweitzer Mountain (music by the Miah Kohal Band).
There are many options for lodging at Schweitzer or down in Sandpoint. I recommend staying on the mountain at either the Selkirk or White Pine Lodge, which puts your right next to the chair lifts and the night life found at Taps and/or Pucci’s. Something else I learned this trip, the mountain has a bus rolling all day and into the night getting you to the “bus barn” located at the base of the mountain (not the base area). From there you can catch the free city transit which will get you to all of the fantastic shops and epic food to be found in Sandpoint, ID. If you like pizza and you’re in Sandpoint, I highly recommend Babs’ Pizzeria for the best NY style pizza found outside of NY city. So, in closing, this down home zone of Northern Idaho has everything you need for a perfect vacation anytime of the year, even if some of the group doesn’t like skiing or mountain biking, because the local shops, winery, and even a brewery will keep ‘em busy while you get your adrenaline fix.
Quick little video update from Carl Simpson, which shows how nicely his home mountain, Crystal Mountain Resort, has been loading up this December. A lot more snow has fallen since this video, so if you are heading up there or anywhere in the Cascades today, be sure you toss the phat boards in the rig. Live to Ski Another Day!
Jeff Rich has changed his address this month to 123 lot B, Stevens Pass, WA, therefore we haven’t seen a whole lot of his epic powder DAYZ this month (but they’ll be coming soon as the snow subsides or he runs out of clean skivvies . Luckily for our teaser, our friend and one of Jeff’s main ski partners, Jameson Florence, captured a bunch of shots which he’d sent over as a little Xtra Xtreme Xmas snow cheer (up) for the folks who can’t make it back to their home stomping grounds of Snoqualmie Pass, WA due to road closers/ power outage (this is the story I’ve been singing for a few days, heading home right after this post – pass is open but power remains unknown as PSE is in a struggle at Snoqualmie Pass!!!)/
Jeff Rich catching some air to take in some O2 then back into the deep at Stevens Pass, photo credit - Jameson Florence
Jeff Rich loving life at Stevens Pass, photo credit - Jameson Florence
Jeff Rich back up for another round of O2, photo credit - Jameson Florence
Jeff Rich might be holding tight at Stevens Pass, without internet to upload his video to go along with the pics above, but our young 16 year old Snow Trooper, Alex Ropka, has been bouncing back home after his powder dayz and has sent over a very nice edit of his “December to Remember”. Again, right after this post is live, I am rolling up to my home stomping grounds of Snoqualmie Pass, which won’t have power for the entire Christmas holiday, so I’ll be a self powered skier.
Below is Alex Ropka’s edit from Stevens Pass’ amazing “December to Remember”.
UPDATE as of 12/24/15, 10PM: East Bound lanes of Snoqualmie Pass have reopened. WSDOT estimates 1 a.m. will be the reopening time for West Bound lanes, though crews are still working so check WSDOT’s blog for updates. I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass is closed in both directions again today between milepost 34 in N. Bend to milepost 106 near Ellensburg due to aPOWcalyptic conditions. WSDOT is reporting >112 inches of snow over the last seven days and 25 inches in the last 24 hours. Trees have fallen into and are leaning over the roadway and there is high avalanche risk over Snoqualmie Pass. As a result of all this, the Summit at Snoqualmie is closed as well today. WSDOT has been working to clear the roads but they report that “The snow is so heavy, though, that by the time they clear avalanche chutes on one side of the pass, the ones on the other side fill back up.” For the full details, please visit WSDOT’s blog. Enough of the bad news. Here’s the good news: The Pass has already received more than a quarter of the total 300-400 inches of snow in a typical season. All this snow gives Alpental the 2nd deepest snowbase in N. Am. at top elevation (or 3rd at base elevation).
Tim Black sending into a pillow covered rock garden
Here’s a super fun one Tyler Tran put together with his brothers Thomas, Tristan and Tim Black, “Mt Baker #1- Smashing Baby Pillows”. Just enough snow in the lower zones to have some epic fun, but don’t fall (too often), as the holes and rocks are everywhere! Having skied with Tyler and Tim before and both contributing to The Snow Troopers, I know there was a lot of laughing going on not to mention the hootin’ and hollerin’ as they pulled of some tricky lines. Click play and start of the day in a machine gunner type of way!
Below are a couple of my favorites with Tyler and Tim…
Last Friday (12/18/15), Alpental ski area loaded the public for the first time this ‘15/16′ season! Like so many openings in past years, it was loaded with a bunch of fresh blower snow! I had heard originally, the mountain would most likely be opening the lower half, but this last system loaded the upper mountain beautifully and we were given a chunk of the upper mountain too! So nice, however, not all of the homies got to share in the goodness as the freeway was closed (so Jerad Merbs and myself tried to capture a little of what we found). I just looked at the Summit’s website to see if Alpental was on the agenda today and they have it listed as TBD, so be sure to check the link above for the latest and greatest for the Summit’s operating schedule today. It has been going off up there this past week, with really DEEEEEP cold blower snow! Remember, ski with a buddy and always “Live to Ski Another Day!” TNT
This past week/weekend Tara and Carl Simpson have been living life just how they love, skiing just up the road at their home stomping grounds of Crystal Mountain. When your car is covered with a massive amount of snow and it is sitting almost 2,000 feet below the lowest lift on your mountain, you know the skiing is ALL TIME! Take a look at Carl’s short POV then plan out your holiday at any of the “Cascade Gems”, because Santa is bringing a nice gift of SNOW that should be falling close to sea level. Live to Ski Another Day!
Over the past 10 days, Jeff Rich has spent all of his time destroying the powder at Stevens Pass that has been served up daily by the Snow Gods! He would have had an edit to share days ago, but the faucet was on full blast, keeping him right on his home mountain were he’s happiest! Check out the vid, get your stoke on and enjoy the Christmas break, which is looking just like remember it should! Keep thinking BIG SNOW!!!
Alpental’s opening weekend is off to an incredible start. 33″ of new, dry, light snow in the last 48hrs. 55″ at the bottom and a whopping 92″ at the top. The entire mountain skied soft and with the lack of lines/crowds (where is everyone?), there were plenty of powder stashes. Upper International opened end of day for those who stayed. It was worth the wait. See for yourself in this short conditions video. With another winter storm warning in effect and the possibility of another foot or more of new snow by tomorrow night, it’s about to get even better (details below).
WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 10 PM THIS EVENING TO 10 PM PST SUNDAY…HEAVY SNOW WILL BEGIN AROUND MIDNIGHT TONIGHT AND CONTINUE THROUGH SUNDAY….THE FORECAST CALLS FOR 1 TO 2 FEET OF NEW SNOW ON THE VOLCANOES INCLUDING MT. RAINIER AND MT. BAKER. SOMEWHAT LESS SNOW IS POSSIBLE IN THE MAIN MOUNTAIN PASSES, STEVENS AND SNOQUALMIE. HOWEVER THIS WILL BE A SNOWY PERIOD AND OVER A FOOTOF SNOW COULD FALL IN THE PASSES AS WELL.