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Mt. Rainier, WA – August Turns in Paradise

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04
Apr

 width= Just a quick visual conditions report in the 4,000′ zone down into the younger growth timber 3,000′ zone. Everything is still looking good going into our Spring season. The skiing was variable, but fun, seeing loose granular up higher in the open areas and somewhat firm snow in the lower timber zone ( without too much tree debris)… A little more snow would be nice to keep the skiing good to pass elevation. No new snow overnight at pass level but Alpental saw apx 6″ of new on top of Alpental for this mornings shred session.


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03
Apr


Two afternoons ago, April 1st, I decided to take a walk up the Kendall Clearcut (a Snoqualmie Pass classic, and one of our passage ways into the epic playground that lies North of I90). Two of my best friends, Dale Boehm and Robert Bolton, and our 3 kick ass ski dogs (Boots, Hobart and Trooper) have spent many days rolling in this area (more than most, I’m sure, Robert having had a cabin right at base of the old growth, up Yellowstone Rd.). Something we all learned during our many tours up the Kendall Clearcut besides how precious life and loved ones are to all of us, it was also fact that the Kendall Clearcut is great place to hone your guiding skills through the lower old growth/steep frozen pitches to the young growth that seemed to get worse every year, making it more like a massive maze with dead ends everywhere (meaning – a big ass tree well, or something that takes you away from the middle riser “lazy man shuffle”, as Dale would call a perfect pitch/pace).


As I began walking by the first group of cabins this past April Fools day, heading into the old growth, I realized this was the first time alone in this area… Wait, this was the first time I had ever toured in the “true” backcountry totally alone (at the very least my boy Trooper was always with me). I soon became somewhat depressed, having lost my Trooper dog on Feb 19th, Dale loosing his boy Boots early this season, and the thoughts that were making my walk even more intense, were the words Dale spoke to me on this past Saturday morning. Dale had given me a call, to tell me some bad news, but before the news came out, he mentioned something along the lines that he knew I’m (TNT) still hurting for our boy Trooper dog, and he hated to tell me why he had called. Dale, who has since moved back to his homeland of BC, Canada, was planning to take the sleds out with a bro (powder sled neckin’… very, very hard to turn down), but told him, he felt the need to hang with Hobart (the last of the 3 bad ass ski dogs) taking him on a nice walk etc… As retired bad ass ski dogs and their best buddies do. Anyway, as they were on a beautiful standard walk, Hobbie (as we loved to call him too) had a stroke. Dale had his wife (Hobart’s mom) call for their local vet, but it was Hobart’s time and our beautiful leader of the pups, took one more breath and passed in Dale’s arms. It actually is hurting me to type this post right now (tears streaming down the face), but I feel so blessed having spent a million feet of up and down beautiful mountains with all three of our pups, Dale and Robert… SO Blessed!


Hobart and his skier (Dale) living large!
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Soon, after the cycle of heavy duty thoughts flowed through my head, similar to the story I just mentioned, I had realize taking a slightly different course through the old growth, making it the most fluid trip I have ever lead up the mountain (or was I indeed the one leading this group of nobodies?). I soon realized I wasn’t alone (even though I was “in person” alone) as I popped out of the old growth and flowed through the young growth perfectly. Wow, quite trippy to me, almost like the pups finally could lead the way through those spots that always tripped us up slightly (but I never would listen to their lead when it was “in person” or should I say “in pup”, saying something like, “hey dogs get back over here and TRAIL)? All of the sudden I had a strong feeling of “NOT ALONE”, and the feeling remained the entire day (and continues today). It was also kind of fun when Sting showed up on the pass, gave a cell call just in time to catch me ski from the “Summit” down through “Bolton Alley” as she sat at Red Mountain Coffee. The last thing that blew me away, would be my extremely fluid ski through the old growth and back to the car with only doing about 5 herringbone steps (and getting the maximum steep ski the entire way)!?!? What a day, what a life, and always remember… “Live to Ski Another Day” and savor every single second! R.I.P. Hobart, Boots, & Trooper! The pups all left us in one season, so now they all can once again shred and rest in peace together for ever more (on the same beds, which believe it or not, Trooper dog- aka the red devil, would actually share his bed with ONLY these two brothers)!


All three of our boys doing what they did so well…
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I would be stoked if everyone would check out this very special trip Dale, Boots, Hobart, Trooper and myself did back in the 2005/2006 season… My first video ( a compilation of the year of NON lift skiing, the chapter in video below was the final one of that year’s video).

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02
Apr

 width=Just met a few new young friends in Summit Central’s terrain park last week, Kade and Ethan Lee (two brothers) along with their cousin, Cooper Lee. I met them shortly after noticing Ethan (11 years old) throwing down bigger than most of the older kids that day… Very impressive. They like to shralp Alpental too, so I’m looking forward to see more from these young rippers. Give the short vid a watch and make note of these guys that I’m excited to see grow their skiing, filming and editing skills.


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01
Apr

 width= Well, it’s no surprise to The Snow Troopers’ gang, that this year’s Crystal Mountain “Dirt Bag Ball” Queen is none other than Tara Simpson!!! That’s right, the year round BIG mountain skier (and Carl Simpson’s better half / #1 ski partner through life) has put in her dues as a local Crystal Mtn. “Dirt Bag” by spending countless days slayin’ the POW from opening to closing (hanging the entire time with the fast pace of Carl and the boyz), then closing down the bar and waking up in a trailer, car, tent, etc., the next morning keeping the powder dayz rolling. I was blown away with the amount of gifts Crystal Mountain showered Tara with at 2014 Dirt Bag Ball this past weekend, that will surely make the rest of this season and next even that much more memorable. As most of you already know who follow The Snow Troopers, once Crystal shuts down for the Summer, Tara’s playground grows by hundreds of miles, as she and Carl spend every chance they get exploring the endless lines you would need a thousand lifetimes to ski them all. Congrats Tara!


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31
Mar

 width=Alright, here’s one of the precious gems with in the Cascade Crown, Mission Ridge as seen yesterday! Little side note about Mission Ridge, if it looked that good yesterday, my guess is today should be status quo (except, bring your own friend, because mid-week they are hard to come by at this epic “person to acre” ratio resort, that has terrain which will give the expert a good case of jitters, and the super long beginner/intermediate runs that will have them all excited to get back on the chair for more)! This mountain is a great get away for the Cascade day skier or an excellent destination target, that will give you and the crew great memories, from the excellent terrain/views, the hopping new Wenatchee markets, pubs, hotels, the Columbia River and don’t forget to visit the super cool town of Leavenworth (oh yeah, Wenatchee has their own airport too). For more info, start off right here by clicking to the Mission Ridge Ski and Board Resort website, you’ll be glad you did. Edit below and photo above by Mike Rolfs, Thanks Mike!!!

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30
Mar

 width=A week ago this morning, Jeff Rich and company were taking the very somber detour around the Oso mudslide, as they were heading into the North Cascades for Ruby Mountain. The Oso Mudslide is such a tragic event that has taken so many lives (which the actual number is still unknown). My thoughts and prayers for all the families living though this nightmare (which is still taking place), so close to one of the most beautiful places I have been in the lower 48. If you would like to help our friends up in Oso, WA, just click this link to the RED CROSS right before you click play on Jeff’s video, that shows the epic zone which is found just beyond Oso, WA.


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29
Mar

 width=Last Saturday (3/22/14), The Summit at Snoqualmie held their second annual pond skim event, dubbed “Spring Splash”. Just like last year, the pond skim brought out droves of spectators taunting the skimmers to go faster for the big SPRING SPLASH! I wanted to give a shout out to the “Events Crew” for the cool “stadium style” venue they whipped out ( I say whipped out but having seen what it takes to push snow and put something together like this event, “whipped out” is quite the understatement). Also, a big Shout OUT for the brave little pond skimmers on 50mm underfoot skis and tiny snowboards, and our good friends the “T-Bagging Bandits” for rocking the slopes and plaza.


Below is a short edit, I put together capturing a little of the day of fun… Check it!


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28
Mar

 width=We’re having a hard time transitioning into spring. Another winter storm is underway. We’re looking at possible snow totals for the West slopes of the Washington Cascades of 18″ by tomorrow afternoon and 30″ by Sunday morning at elevations >4000ft or so. That will keep us firmly in the top #1 and 2 spots for the deepest snow base in N. America. Leading the nation is the King of Snow: Mt. Baker with a whopping 188″ at Pan Dome. Second place goes to our own Alpental at the Summit at Snoqualmie with 173″ at the summit. Neighboring western WA and OR resorts aren’t far behind. Tyler Tran sent this video over of the gang getting some turns up in the Baker zone yesterday, pre-storm. They spent the day up in the Swift Creek area, just out past Austin Pass, on what looked to be a pretty gwanchy day of skiing… But, it was skiing, and they were skiing the fresh :-) . Just wait until tomorrow! It’s snowing nicely outside our Central Cascade headquarter windows right now (at 2,600’ above sea level, Hyak, WA), making for another excellent start to a Spring weekend if you stay nice and high. By the way, Seattle broke a record for rainfall in March (and it’s not over yet).

 

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27
Mar

 width= Super sweet self edit from G3 athlete, John Wells, filmed earlier this month at Kicking Horse, working the leftovers. When I say leftovers, you might think of beat up pow, but I’m thinking John’s lovin’ this place because his leftovers are high above the standard traffic, on isolated shelves and spines. Looks like KH serves up some nice corduroy too. Below are some notes John in regards to the sweet Spring stoke video!



This is the place. Hands down, Kicking Horse if you haven’t heard has terrain for days and every time I ski there I am continually blown away. I waited patiently for the whole winter to jump on a snow & sun window and it all lined up for mid- March.


The steeps had seen a good 3.5 feet of snow in the last week and the rock ramps and fingers were caked with a bounty of storm snow and had a couple days to set up before our 3 day shred-athon. Groomers were top notch, as usual, giving us nice warm-up and cool down laps of 4,000 feet of mint cruising vert.


Bob Sather and I (John Wells) stepped up and slayed what the powder hounds had left us, which was a shit load of amazing spines, fingers, cliffs, and deep pow. This was the moment I had been waiting for all season. Skiing these lines is a special thing for me, having put so much time into KHMR and its intricacy’s of rock ribs, chutes, and rock fins I truly go to another place while skiing, strictly from memory. My muscle memory takes over and I really focus on the speed and tech of it all, giving me a heightened state of gnar.


The only way to finish a day at KHMR is up at the Eagles Eye for a cocktail, to celebrate how rad you got, and or how rad it got you…..see ya next year KHMR ! A special thanks to Kicking Horse. Cheers John Wells

 

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26
Mar

 width=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!


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