Here’s the ski video to go along with the earlier post of our Oct. 11, 2012 trip to Mt. Rainier – the day the mountain was on fire with fall colors. That day marked TNT’s 109th consecutive month of skiing. While most (if not all) folks we know outside our zone (who don’t live in AK) have to fly to the southern hemisphere to keep going during the summer, TNT stands out as having skied every summer and fall month entirely in the Pacific Northwest. Unlike past years, this October ski happened under the sun in warm temps as Washington continued its record 80+ day dry streak (which just ended yesterday). Our route to the Paradise Glacier started from the Paradise parking lot, up the Skyline trail past Pebble Creek (that’s our usual route up to the Muir Snowfield). Snowline was above Pebble Creek (as opposed to at or below) and the Muir Snowfield looked smaller than we’ve ever seen. Snow was hard with large, dirt covered sun cups more like craters, making it easier to hike than skin. Along the way, we met Stefan Lofgren, the U.S. Forest Service Mountaineering District Ranger who was returning from measuring glacial mass. Some of the Mt. Rainier glaciers he’s been measuring have shown a net negative balance for the last 10 yrs with the exception of 2010-11 when they were net neutral. Watch the video to hear him talk about this. And if you love snow as much as we do, check out ProtectOurWinters.org whose mission is to engage and mobilize the winter sports community to lead the fight against climate change.
The North Bend Mountain Film Festival opened last Sunday with Powderwhore Productions’ Choose Your Adventure which we reviewed in an earlier post. The Festival continues today at the North Bend Theatre (125 Bendigo Blvd. N., N. Bend, WA) with a Mt. Everest film, 40 Days at Base Camp and each Sunday afternoon through November 18 with snowboard films like Mind the Video Man, and a TGR double feature of Jeremy Jones’ Further and TGR’s The Dream Factory. It then switches to a 4-night event December 5 through 8 featuring the Banff Mountain Film Festival, the North Bend Amateur Film Challenge and Warren Miller’s Flow State. Check the schedule below. Sunday shows are all 5pm, doors open 4pm. All other shows are at 7pm. Get tickets here.
10/14 – 40 Days at Base Camp – Filmmaker Dianne Whelan will introduce the film and host a Q & A after the film. Beer garden sponsored by Alpental B.A.R.K. In this film, Dianne Whelan immersed herself in the challenging and captivating world of base camp at Mt. Everest. With spectacular footage of the mountains’ landscape as a backdrop, 40 DAYS AT BASE CAMP is an intriguing and intimate portrayal of three climbing teams and their journey to the peak.
10/21 – Mind the Video Man – Sponsored by Boardshop 5420 in North Bend. This film explores progressive freestyle snowboarding with those in the vanguard and those about to make their mark, while asking the question, “What’s happening with the snowboard video, where is it going next and how will that impact our culture.” Riders: Jesse Burtner, Scott Stevens, Ryan Paul, Ted Borland, Sean Black, Brandon Reis, Brandon Hammid, Nial Romanek, Chris Beresford, Sam Hulbert, Jaeger Bailey, Kyle Lopicollo, Curtis Woodman, and many more.
10/28 – Teton Gravity double feature: Jeremy Jones’ Further (click link for film info & trailer) and TGR’s The Dream Factory.
11/4 – TBD
11/11 – splitboard mountaineer Kyle Miller in Person. ProGuiding in North Bend is sponsoring the evening and will host a “pre-func” in their store.
11/19 – Reel Rock 7 Tour (climbing films): The Dura Dura featuring Chris Sharma and Adam Ondra, The Shark’s Fin featuring legendary alpinist Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk, Wide Boys featuring Brits, Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker, Honnold 3.0 with Alex Honnold doing the Yosemite Triple: in under 19 hours he climbs Mt. Watkins, El Cap and Half Dome, 95% of it free solo.
12/5-7 – Banff Mountain Film Festival
12/8 – North Bend Amateur Film Challenge Winners and Warren Miller’s Flow State (click link for film info & trailer)
Great turn out for this past Wed.’s showing of Powderwhore Productions’ 8th annual ski movie, “Choose Your Adventure” at the Mountaineers, Seattle. If you missed it, go see it tonight in Bend, OR @ Pine Mountain Sports 730pm or check for a show near you at http://www.powderwhore.com/tour/. This film is by far one of the most enjoyable ones we’ve seen in a while. The action and photography are stunning but it’s the story, humor and soundtrack that keep you glued to the screen. This is not one of those extreme action sports films that jam in so many cliff hucks and/or park tricks that eventually the audience grows numb to even the biggest air. Sure, the film is big on action -it’s got world class big mountain pros like our friend Chris Davenport, Hugo Harrison, Alpental-raised Andrew McLean and many others- but it distinguishes itself by also introducing local backcountry die hards, focusing solely on the backcountry and delving deep into the characters who live to ski it. This is a great ski/ride film for all ages, skiers, boarders and non-skiers/boarders alike. We think it’s especially good for those who don’t get the earn your turns mentality because it reveals the passion that drives our sometimes over the top (and hilarious) private pursuits for untracked terrain. The local characters and stories they told resonated so well with us and the audience and drew cheers and many, many laughs. 2 thumbs up! Check out the dates, killer trailer and go see this very entertaining and funny ﬁlm which also features Jake Sakson, Seth Wescott, Dylan Freed, Noah Howell, Matt Reardon, Drew Stoecklein, Forrest Coots, Ian Provo, Neil Provo, Chuck Mumford, Darrell Finlayson, Bob Athey, PY Leblanc, Jason Thompson and Todd Stuart.
We headed up to Mt. Rainier yesterday on what was supposed to be the last sunny fall day before rain moves in. As we left the city in a cool mist, we were expecting a cold start on the volcano. We were surprised to find warm temps and full on sun at the Paradise parking lot when we arrived. The day continued to get warmer – feeling much like mid-70s under the sun by late afternoon. We originally planned to make it to Camp Muir but we were waylaid by the show of fall colors. We decided to take our time to enjoy and photograph the stunning views. TNT ended up skiing Paradise Glacier – he’ll have a “ski” video up shortly so please check back for that. If you have the opportunity to visit Mt. Rainier this week, we recommend it highly. As you can see from our photos, the fall colors are spectacular right now. Just remember that Stevens Canyon is closed for road work so you have to take the south entrance through Ashford. By the way, the rain today finally ended Washington states’ 80+ day dry streak.
11/1 update to this post can be read here.
10/20 Update: Timberline Mt. Hood opened the Palmer lift for weekend ops on 10/13 and A-Basin opened on 10/17.
Original post: Have you bought your ski pass yet? Some major ski resorts are scheduled to begin 2012-2013 operations in just a few weeks in early Nov.: Copper, Keystone and Wolf Creek are scheduled to open on Nov. 2nd, Mammoth Mtn. on Nov. 8th and Breckenridge on the 9th. See the list we’ve compiled below for the Rockies and Western U.S. resort nearest you. Dates are subject to conditions of course so check the resort website for updates. See you on the snow!
Our friend Craig Moore wanted to get the word out about the 2nd annual Northern Rockies Avalanche Safety Workshop at Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish, Montana this Saturday October 13th, 8am-4:30pm. Registration is only $20 in advance or $25 at the door and is open to all recreational backcountry enthusiasts and pros alike. 240 turned out for last year’s event. To sign up, go to www.avalanchesafetyworkshop.com.
Live to Ski Another Day!
Andrew Eckels and company were out getting after it on Mt. Baker this past September 30th, 2012. Below is a video and a short report of their last adventure.
A Facebook post about skiing under the full moon and Pat and Ben’s lack of September turns inspired a trip to the Coleman Glacier on Mt Baker. I tried to sell Ben and Pat on skiing under the full moon on Heliotrope while hanging out with my friends Heather and Georgia. They are new to summer skiing, and didn’t have the gear to go to the summit of Baker, but they were stoked as hell on the idea of skiing under the moon, and asked to join. Plenty of detours and last minute packing put us at trailhead at 1 in the morning, where we woke up Pat and Ben. We hiked through the moonlit woods relishing the mystical night scenery, and made it to snow by 3 in the morning. The snow was hard and we were tired, so we went to bed right on the trail. Pat and Ben woke us up at 8 and we leisurely made our way up to the top of Heliotrope, giving the snow time to soften.
After an hour of soaking in the views and hanging out, Ben, Pat and I set off for the summit, while Heather and Georgia, hung out waiting for the sun cups to ripen. We wore harnesses and had a rope, but the snow was so firm, and the route so clear and lacking significant snow bridges that we never pulled it out.
By the time we got to the Col at 9000 ft a lenticular cloud had engulfed the summit in a white out with high winds. This was the third time this exact scenario played out for us in a year. We decided to turn around and not risk having to navigate the glacier in a white out. The skiing was great for September. We were back at Heliotrope in no time and ended up meeting Heather and Georgia at the bottom. After a leisurely transition we all walked out and made it to the car just before dark, and celebrated with a meal at chair 9.
Two weeks ago, Canadian ski mountaineer, Greg Hill, was at Mt. Manaslu attempting to reach the 26,759-foot summit and be among the first to ski the world’s eighth highest peak without oxygen. In an earlier post, we reported that poor conditions and a huge avalanche ended that trip. Greg, who assisted in rescue efforts, provided his account (and astounding photos) of the tragic day on his blog, www.greghill.ca. We recommend reading it and gaining insight from one of the most experienced ski mountaineers of our generation: Greg skied one million vertical feet in a single season in ‘04/05 and then topped that by achieving a new milestone in 2010: being the first to ski TWO million vertical feet in under 365 days. We again express our deepest condolences to family and friends of lost ones and, on behalf of those affected by the Mt. Manaslu avalanche, we wanted to thank Greg and everyone who aided in the rescue. Let’s show our appreciation for Greg’s efforts and contributions to the skiing world by supporting his upcoming film, Two Million Reasons. It documents the remarkable journey he undertook, while averaging 5500 ft a day upwards all year, up 71 mountains, down 1039 runs, in 4 countries, and the strength of his family that supported him through it all. Watch the trailer here and the film when it hits the big screen.
Every year the Farmers’ Almanac issues a Ski season outlook and yes, we read it. Most of the time, it’s pretty spot on. In fact, we read their weather outlook all season long when planning big road trips. We’ve been doing that for over a decade now and folks wonder how it is we always catch the big dumps. Well, not always -but a lot of the time. This year’s Ski Report: Where to Hit the Slopes in 2012-13 by Caleb Weatherbee is forecasting a great season with heavy snow and colder than average temperatures for Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. New York’s Adirondack and Catskill ranges is also looking at a good season, but not so great further south in Pennsylvania’s Pocono and Laurel Mountain. Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York will see snow in early November for an early start to the ski season. “A series of showers in December should keep the slopes covered for the holidays, with a few heavy snowstorms expected to pound the region in January and February.” Northern plains, Rockies, and Southwest can expect a milder than normal with average snowfall season. Average precip for Colorado usually means about 300 inches of snow given its high elevation resorts so this is good news. Colorado and Montana are already seeing snow this week and unlike last season, they’re forecast to get more along with the rest of the Rockies in early November plus two heavy storms toward the end of the month. Snow’s supposed to continue through Christmas with regular storms predicted through March. Eastern Canada will also see snow in early November and regularly throughout December, January and February. The Canadian Rockies is expected to have a decent season with milder temperatures and average precipitation. For us in the Pacific Northwest, they are reiterating their forecast for a warmer and drier season than normal. However, with WA having some of the snowiest places on earth at Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker, we’re betting we’ll do just fine.
First snow that was visible from Sanpoint, Idaho was actually above the sweet little town of Hope, Idaho. The peaks of the Cabinet Mountains that tower above Hope, received apx. 2″ of new snow two nights ago. Getting pumped for the new season, I had to take the pups for a long walk up towards Round Top Mountain, which happened to be our last two “Idaho” ski days this past June. Access can be gained from fs. trail 444 located just 1 mile past the hope cemetery, however the trail can only be traveled by atv’s. So if you’re looking for easy early season or late ski season car access, head to Clark Fork, ID and take Lightning Creek rd( see original post HERE).
Looking down on Lake Pend Oreille from the NW face of Round Top Mountain.
If you look at a topo map of this zone(or see the video thumbnail at very bottom of post) you will clearly see why this might be the best ski zone in all of Northern, Idaho. Not only is their huge relief but also a huge lake effect. Lake Pend Oreille’s 60+ mile stretch of open water allows the storms coming in from the West Coast funnel right between the Monacrh Mountains & the foothills of Sagle, slamming right into the Cabinets. This effect is also very evident by the vegetation in the Cabinets (looking much more lush like the West slopes of the Cascades) vs. the vegetation in the Selkirk foothills, where Schweitzer calls home (looking more like the East slopes of the Cascades, with mostly jack and ponderosa pine trees). If you ever were to move into the Sanpoint area and happen to spend all your free time alpine touring, I would recommend Hope, Idaho & a sled or two. Also, “Hope, Idaho” has a funny kind of ring, when you say it out loud.
After 3 hours of walking in a Fall snow storm the weather cleared a little.
A look back at our second to last ski day on Round Top Mountain this past June.