This past Sunday (4/12/15) the Cascades were blasted with enough fresh, cold snow at the 4,000′+ level, that the Stevens Pass management gave the green to fire up the Skyline and 7th Heaven chairs. The video below was sent over by our young friend, Alex Ropka, a local Stevens Pass ripper, who loves to get out ski, film and the best part EDIT… That way we all get a peek of the peaks, some of us may have missed. I know I did, because I chose to stay here on Snoqualmie Pass and ski in the higher zones (getting greatly rewarded too), but my bro Jerad Merbs (who was going to roll with us) bailed for the Stevens Pass lift served action. Jerad reported, not many people, great snow and skiing, but did take some good shots to the boards. However, It was so good he went back this past Tuesday as well. Below is the short edit from our 16 year old friend, Alex Ropka, enjoy and get out to Stevens today as this will be the last day per their schedule/weather.
Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, LLC has announced plans to create a base to base gondola connecting the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows ski areas. The planning process to design the Gondola Connection is now underway. The gondola would make it easy for skiers and riders to explore both mountains with a single lift ticket or season pass, without needing to travel between the two by car. “For decades, skiers and riders have talked about connecting these two world-class resorts,” said Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, LLC. “Over the last four years, we’ve made significant improvements to enhance the skier experience at both Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. The base-to-base gondola will offer our guests the ability to easily explore and experience the unique attributes of these two mountains via a brand new aerial connection, while simultaneously reducing vehicle traffic between them.” The planned gondola connection between the two mountains is due to a partnership between Squaw Valley Ski Holdings and Troy Caldwell, the owner of the private land dubbed “White Wolf,” located between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. The estimated completion date of the project will be subject to Placer County and US Forest Service approvals once applications are submitted. “Connecting Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows through White Wolf is literally bringing my long-time dream to fruition,” said Troy Caldwell. “I’ve waited years for this to happen, and am pleased to have reached an agreement with Squaw Valley Ski Holdings to allow skiers and riders to easily move between these two incredible mountains.”
Plans to connect the two mountains have commenced, and include the possibility of the lift to be constructed as a high-speed, detachable gondola that would operate between the base of Squaw Valley and the base of Alpine Meadows, traveling over the KT-22 Peak. There are no plans currently being contemplated to allow skiing or other non-skiing activities along the lift route or on the White Wolf terrain. Squaw Valley Ski Holdings and Troy Caldwell will work with mountain planners at SE Group to design and construct the gondola connection to ensure good stewardship of the high alpine environment whose natural beauty is integral to the overall Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows experience. The planned base-to-base gondola will be carefully designed to minimize the overall footprint and potential visual impacts to the adjacent Granite Chief Wilderness, as well as maintain the scenic beauty of the area.
For more information about the Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows connection, watch the video or visit squawalpine.com/gondola.
This April Fools’ Day (2015), was a memorable one for sure, not only for the great POW we found up in the higher elevations above Snoqualmie Pass, but all of the pre/post-powder antics. This adventure started with a call from Adam Roberts (Mt. Baker loc), giving a shout just prior to April 1st, right after a weather update. The report was for a Winter storm convergence zone, that would end up at our parking lot. We set out the morning of the 1st (for 1 one of 2), with Jerad Merbs, Goods Woods, Steve Griffith, Frank Sosa, and Adam Roberts. Having a little too much fun on the road in to the TH, we had a little low speed mishap, after hitting a patch of ice (hidden beneth the blower pow), which sucked us off the road. In the video, the truck looks to be sitting fine, however we had to build up the road on the downhill side to prevent the truck from flipping down into the 20′ deep draw. A solid 3 hours after our departure from the Hyak parking lot, we were back on the road, heading once again, towards the TH (which we ended up a half mile shy, because the snow became too deep). Overall we had an excellent time for the entire two huge days (minus the stuck truck, which was a pretty cool team work effort to get it out and driving down the road). Live to ski another day, and don’t try to drive into our powder stash!
Here’s a fun one from a guy I’ve known since he was rocking it after high school, Drew Hurter. Now he’s a local B-Ham guy that calls Hwy 542 his home zone, and is now back skiing with us again through other local WWU Snow Troopers, like Tim Black, Tyler & The Tran Clan. Below are a few words in regards to their quest for powder or even “Chowder”, followed by Drew’s sweet edit.
After a season of chowderless turns in Washington, Tim and I packed up for a good old fashion spring break road trip (last week of March, 2015). We split our time between the Bozeman area and Cooke City finding plenty of pow along the way. Thanks to everyone that helped us make this trip possible. Enjoy!
WOW! If you were thinking ops like the Chugach Powder Guides were your closest fix for amazing powder skiing right now, think again (that is if you call your left foot heli and your right foot copter, like so many of us do year round). This video was taken by Carl Simpson this past April 2nd, 2015, up out of Mt. Rainier’s Paradise parking lot, where he and his ski partner Tara, Joined Amar Andalkar, Alicia Brannan and David O’Donnell for miles and miles of beautiful powder turns. Man I wish I had caught this one, but we were having a pretty good time here in the Central Cascades too (the Snow Gods taking care of the core). photo and video credit / Carl Simpson
The second annual “Bonnington Traverse” was far from a smooth trip. Greg, Matt, Matt, Peter, Tanner, and Jacob set off in two 20 plus year old cars to Nelson BC in search of snow. On the way Jacob’s 25 year old Subaru Loyale died, which lead to the six dudes piling into one small Toyota Corolla for a few hours. The hike from the car began as a road walk, with skis on our backs with little snow in sight, but as we gained to about 5000′ the snowpack became deeper and deeper. As we reached the Grassy Hut for our first night we noticed cold powder on north aspects. The following day we were rewarded with cold blower Kootany powder all day with intermittent snow fall. The following day we reached the Stead Hut and had more good turns with heavy overnight packs. A warm front came in the following two days turning all the cold powder into deep, dangerous mank. We made the best of the bad snow with the creation of a long bike style jump line.
The return to the states was equally exciting. Jacob ditched his car in Canada and procceded with Tanner off on an epic hitchhike to Bellingham.
Well, the March lion was a little late to the Cascades this year, and due to his delay, all efforts were focused on the higher zones. This past Tuesday (3/24/15) we woke up to a fairly low snow level (however, above Snoqualmie Pass), allowing us to access the powder pretty quickly, but with a good amount of effort. After day one, skiing the Snoqualmie Pass area from apx 4,500′ to 5,500′ and a wet snow/muddy steep trail out, I decided to break out my Townsend Design knee brace, for my “good” ACL to ease on the mind and add support for the rando boots while in slick, scramble mode. For those of you that know me, you’ve seen the BRACE throughout the years, always on, as I have only skied one lap EVER with out my brace & it felt like a wet noodle, knowing with one bad tweak, it will be all over (unless I go in for reconstructive surgery – which I have though of for a bit, years ago, but never wanted to go through the down time of 6 to 12 months or more). Now I roll with one for the “bad” ACL and break out the brace for the “good” ACL on days with “testy” ski conditions.
Below is a recap of the three recent days (3/22, 24 & 25/2015) all edited together with music from my bro Soulfuli (please note: EXPLICIT lyrics)… This edit took me a few more days than I expected, receiving some really good news this past Friday (that put my focus elsewhere), on a day which happened to also be the 27th year (to the day) since I lost my best friend, Mike Mosman, to a drunk driver that hit / killed him while trainning for the “Tour de Tucson”, and the 6th year since we all lost Shane McConkey. Yesterday, was the day to wrap up this edit, and just shortly before I was to dive into it, I learned of the horrible news, that a local, born and raised (at Hyak, WA), friend earlier that day lost her life on a frontage road we all drive, bike, walk or run, multiple times a day!?! My heart sunk when I learned this news! It seems like just a short moment ago, that I was swinging into her party this past Tuesday, to give her a hug and say, “Happy Birthday.” I expected to be pitching horse shoes this week at the newly built pits at the Aardvark Express (which she had her eyes on, as we played our very first game this past Friday night). We will miss you, Sarrah Powers, but never forget you. RIP, sweet friend.
This past week was the birthday of a super cool, all around solid guy, that happens to slay big mountains for lunch, and huge traverses for dinner. That guy is Jeff Rich, a Stevens Pass loc, that I’m so happy to call a good friend! This past Tuesday (3/24/15) Jeff headed down to Crystal, where he connected with Tara & Carl Simpson, along with a grip of others, including local Alpentalic, Greg Ireton. We had tossed around leaving the pass, to connect with everyone, but with the low snow level we stayed home to ski Snoqualmie Pass, but Carl’s vid makes me wish I’d taken the 5hr (RT) drive. Happy Birthday Jeff!!
Here’s a little peek of some great skiing, below a BIG peak. With the recent snowfall in the Cascades the conditions seen in Carl Simpson’s video below have change from great skiing to EXCELLENT skiing.
Mt. St Helens as seen from Mt. Rainier 3/16/15. photo & video credit / Carl Simpson