Jacob Mandell sent this one over of an amazing looking trip into the Olympics recently. Below are a few words from Jacob along with his sweet video that capture some of the eye candy and great corn!
Tanner and I headed out to the most northwestern stretch of mountains in the lower 48, the Olympics. We walked in 7 miles of trail to Royal Basin, and were greeted with three amazing days of perfect corn skiing. We skied in Royal Basin, Deception Basin, Hal Foss Peak, and Mt Clark. Its an awesome area, but you have to do a little work to get back there.
Andy Traslin shot this one over the other day of a fun looking chute out of Squamish this past Feb. The target for he and Jamie Bond was the “Gun Sight Couloir” which was accessed from the Sea to Sky gondola. The pow may be mostly over now, but the BIG mountain fun is looking good here in the PNW!
Visit Tamarack Resort before they close this Sunday for the season. With 8″ in the last 72hrs and more snow on the way, conditions couldn’t be better. Skiers and riders who purchased a 2016-17 season pass to Bogus Basin during their Tier 1 sale (Feb. 15-21, 2016) get one free day of skiing (show your 2016-17 Bogus Basin pass or proof of purchase at the Sports Dome). Plus, on Saturday, Tamarack will be hosting the first annual State of Idaho Pond Skim Championship competition beginning at 1pm (registration starts at 11AM on the Canoe Grill Patio), followed by an after-Party featuring a live DJ. A Sunday Easter Egg hunt will wrap up the season with prizes that include a Tamarack 2016/17 season pass, summer Bike Park lift tickets and more.
We skied there recently and it was incredible. We were ahead of the big storm so not the best viz but we skied fresh tracks all day, on a Friday. As seen in our video, we had no trouble getting in long shots without any other skiers or snowboarders. Tamarack continues to be, as the locals say, where the powder goes to escape the people. Back in 2013, we compared Tamarack to Blue Sky Basin in Montana because of its well planned, upscale mountainside lodges and homes. But we’re starting to imagine that Tamarack might be more like Yellowstone Club, MT’s private, members-only ski resort? We wonder – because Tamarack remains so unbelievably uncrowded – we felt like we were skiing in our own private Idaho resort. With 2800′ vertical, Idaho’s 3rd longest (slightly more than Yellowstone Club by the way), and 1000 acres served by Idaho’s fastest and newest lift system, Tamarack is an impressive “private” resort.
Tamarack also remains on track to be a luxury four season resort. Since new ownership and management began operating the resort last year, there have been a series of multi-million dollar improvements -from continued real estate development to expanded snow making and terrain. We were anxious to check out the reopened 100 acre Wildwood zone. The patrolled side-country terrain is an easy ski/skate off to the right of the Summit Express lift. Even though it lost its lift (and thus was closed in ’09), we found it easy to ski back into the resort’s main trail system and catch the express lift. So easy that we ended up lapping that zone several times. With no crowds, no lift lines and high speed lifts, Tamarack offers as much vert as you can take in a day. In addition to the Wildwood zone, we counted the Staircase, Blaze and Pursuit expert trails (which were cleared and improved for this season) among our favorites.
This past Monday evening, the snow hammered down once again and the freeway was shutdown, due to spin outs etc. Just the kind of report we love up here (as long as you aren’t stuck off the Pass). Having had only a small window of time to ski the following morning/yesterday, I decided to walk up Summit East, if the Snow Gods kept adding to goodness already on the ground. BINGO, I rolled out yesterday morning around 6:30 AM and my timing was perfect catching a fresh, “guide like” skin track up the face. Turned out that skin track was set by Andrew Winstanley, who is seen rocking the East Peak chair line in the video below.
Boise is lucky to have Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area. It almost went under in the 1950s. But J.R. Simplot, Idaho’s potato king (and inventor of the 1st commercial frozen french fries), purchased and sold it back to Bogus Basin Recreational Association for $1; thus, saving it from certain demise. Today, the resort continues under the ownership of that non-profit, charitable organization created by the Boise community. Our hats off to them. Bogus Basin is an impressive ski area.
With 2600 acres, Bogus Basin’s terrain makes it Idaho’s 2nd largest ski area. Its terrain is spread out over two connecting mountains, Shafer Butte topping out at 7590 ft (1800 ft vertical rise) and Deer Point at 7,070 ft – all serviced by 7 lifts. Its night skiing operation covering 165 acres is Idaho’s largest. If stats and ski trivia are your thing, also consider this: its proximity to Boise (just 16.5 miles drive) makes Bogus Basin one of the largest ski resorts LESS than 30 miles from a major city.
On the day we visited, it had snowed several inches. As we approached the J.R. Simplot Lodge, we couldn’t help but notice that the base area was teaming with Bogus Basin staff greeting visitors and asking if they could help. We traded remarks about how this was the most well staffed base area we had ever seen. Even as the parking lots filled up to capacity, there were no lift lines anywhere on the mountain. The design of the mountain does a superb job of spreading out the crowd in all directions. We encountered none and skied fresh powder all day. Our team, TNT, Adam Roberts, Jeff Rich, Carl Simpson and myself, followed the “spring plan” (pictured below). TNT and Adam ended up stuck on the more advanced terrain off Shafer Butte and the Superior and Pine Creek Express lifts. We say “stuck” because they got disoriented by the 360 degree skiing off the Superior Lift, had a Groundhog Day (the movie) experience and kept ending up at the same chair. They enjoyed every minute of it but finally had to ask how to get out. So be careful: the 360 degree portion of the resort can really throw people off and make Bogus Basin difficult to navigate. But by the same token, it makes the area ski even bigger than it is. To assist folks in finding their way, the posted maps include an overhead 360 degree version (just remember you’re looking at an “overhead” map!).
Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area is located north of Boise, ID, at the end of a 16 mile drive up the very windy Bogus Basin Road.
With an annual snowfall of 500”, Pomerelle is known for being Idaho’s snowfall leader and usually one of its first ski resorts to open. I experienced Pomerelle’s famous deep powder on a past trip -one that inspired me to coin and use the name POW’daho for the rest of that Idaho tour. This time, however, there was no new snow. But still, Pomerelle had the deepest snow pack in Idaho: snow depth was (and currently is) 100″ at their base area (8,000 ft elevation) and 112″ at the top (about 9,000 ft elevation).
We pulled into their small lot at 9am on a Saturday and still got front row parking. Needless to say, there were no lift lines. Despite being Idaho’s snowfall leader, Pomerelle remains surprisingly uncrowded. The lack of crowds enables Pomerelle to groom their runs in the morning. That Saturday was no different. Grooming was underway as we got on the lift so we decided to follow and be guided around the mountain by the groomer. It’s easy to see why Pomerelle caters specifically to families and those learning to ski or board. Their soft, expertly groomed runs are easy to navigate and well designed along steady but gentle fall lines. We skied all of them and found consistently perfect corduroy run after run. That made for a super fun day even though our original plan to explore the backcountry was thwarted by very high winds. Speaking of the backcountry, theirs is easily accessible via a short ski and hike along the top ridge. We’ve heard a lot about their easy to get to backcountry terrain so plan to return for that another time.
Below is the 2015 White Pass Ski Area Winter Carnival edit of our weekend from on 2/28/15 and 3/1/15. We all had a blast at last year’s event, charging the perfect corduroy and “boot top” cold pow we found in their bc, BOTH days. Due to the incredible lack of snow on our home pass (Snoqualmie), it was no wonder to have run into so many Alpental skiers, getting a fix too. That isn’t what surprised me though, it was how many of the Snoqualmie Pass locs had never skied White Pass, well this is what ever single person had mentioned (in some way or another), “This place rocks! The people are so friendly and down to earth, and the “earth” they have to ski in and out of bounds is LEGIT!” If you haven’t been to White Pass yet, you owe it to yourselves to put it on the hit list, then I’m sure you will be itching to go back (just like I am, right now). Speaking of inching to go back, I wanted to mention this upcoming weekend is this year’s Winter Carnival at White Pass, so click HERE for all of the details.
*Also, as mentioned before, the White Pass Village Inn has great loft rooms with kitchens to make for a cheap trip with the crew. However, as we found out, coming in from the Eastside on Hwy 12, all the grocery stores on the way, don’t open until 7AM, so stock up prior.
After a day at Pebble Creek Ski Area, we couldn’t help but wonder how its steep terrain ranked. So, we sifted through U.S. ski resorts’ own published data while asking ourselves: Which U.S. ski resorts have the highest “percentage” of lift served advanced terrain while also offering beginner and intermediate runs? What we found validated our impressions: of the resorts that break out their terrain’s difficulty by percentage, Pebble Creek is one of the nation’s leaders alongside bigger name resorts. Upon closer examination of the data, what surprised us was: Pebble Creek is the nation’s #1 ski resort when it comes to having the highest percentage of advanced terrain with over 2,000 lift served vertical feet. Pebble Creek rates 53% of its lift served, 2,200 ft vertical feet terrain as being advanced. We realize that steepness is relative and this data doesn’t rule out steeper runs elsewhere. However, our experience and this finding puts Pebble Creek tops on our list for being not only Idaho’s best keep secret but also amongst the country’s best kept steepests.
Located on Mount Bonneville (Portneuf Range’s highest mountain), Pebble Creek’s slogan is “If you can ski here, you can ski anywhere” – something many must say that about their mountain. We say it about our Alpental which has 41% advanced/expert lift served terrain on 2,280 vertical feet. In fact, we found ourselves comparing Pebble Creek quite a lot to our home mountain and we all agreed that this area known as “the Rock” truly rocks. It wasn’t just the rocky and cliff zones that far exceeded our expectations but also the groomers. Seemingly taller than it is broad, some of Pebble Creek’s steeply, sustained pitched groomers are narrower than usual and that moved the dial many notches on the difficulty scale. High speed and steep skiers alike would love the G forces on the well groomed runs. The pitch is similarly sustained in the well spaced glades where our team found some of the best tree skiing all week. We noticed a high number of little rippers skiing without parental units – they conjured up images of how local skier/phenom and Matchstick Productions’ rising star, Sander Hadley, must have got his start and went on to out ski us all.
Pebble Creek has a small community atmosphere (+ thumbs up for being a very diverse one given the international students coming from the nearby college). Everyone was friendly, inviting and attentive – from the owners, management on down. We had Stefan Berkel of ski patrol show our crew the uncrowded frontside. Then, the TanSnowman of Panda Poles showed us the even less crowded side country which we seemed to have to ourselves the entire day. Then some local rippers, took us through the terrain park. We ended up having such a good time on the frontside and side country that we never ventured beyond. We relished the thought of having to return to explore the backcountry – yes, another trip is a must. Our team – TNT, Sting, Jason Hummel, Jeff Rich, Adam Roberts, Carl Simpson – loved this place.