Last Updated: June 8, 2017



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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My (lift served) ski season thus far...

It all started with a forgettable day of riding at Whistler on Dec. 16. High winds and poor visibility meant that Peak and Harmony chairs would stay closed. Following that, I decided to start Christmas vacation a day early and burned one of my five Crystal pre-paids. Four or five inches of pow over an annoyingly icy base made for an ok day of riding. Coverage was coming along nicely since the Pineapple Express we experienced in early December, but it still had a little left to go.

After returning from Italy, the pressure was on like never before to partake of the Northwest Christmas/New Years powder party before it all came to a screeching halt. The snow was flying at Snoqualmie Pass Thurs night, so I drove on up to sample the nighttime goods at the "Dark Runs". From entrance #1 to #4.5, I found some deep, wet and heavy pow. Ahh yes, the infamous Cascade Concrete! Hopeful that conditions at Crystal would fare a bit better, I took the following day off and made a beeline for the ski area. I got first tracks in Bear Pits before they opened Chair 6, but avi debris up high and heavier pow down low left me wishing I had not. Campbell Basin, however offered up the stoke I was looking for and I ended-up spending most of the day there before the grand finale in the South Country.

Expecting high pressure to set in for the following week or so as was forecasted, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it was again dumping at Snoqualmie, this time conveniently on a Saturday afternoon. While most of the other ski areas sported a modest 3 to 5 inches of new come Sunday morning, Alpental had been blasted with 9 to 12 inches of fresh. I joined Luke, Andy and Jared for a few laps on Chair 2 (or 17?) followed by some excellent runs from Knoll #1 and Piss Pass, easily making for the best day of the season yet. Scott and I returned to Alpy the following day for a serving of leftovers and found it unusually cold (17 degrees at base) with nice dry pow where untracked, but becoming progressively more crunchy down lower where most of the terrain had been bumped-out. Despite the cold temps and ok snow, it was a perfectly cloudless day and ski/skin tracks above Source Lake, The Phantom and below Kendal Peak reminded me how many b/c lines there are to be had in this little valley (photos by Scott).


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Christmas in the Dolomites (Dec. 23 - Jan. 7)

Web-cams don't lie. We were skeptically optimistic that the snow situation would improve prior to our departure, but were ultimately disappointed. Typical Dolomites early winter weather - arctic (-18c) bluebird for a week-and-a-half straight with snow guns running 24x7. For those that live for fast and firm groomers, conditions were about as good as they get. I logged a meager 5 or 6 days on the slopes, and am grateful for having gotten my edges sharpened prior to leaving Seattle. Sadly, the off-piste conditions left something to be desired. Nevertheless, the scenery and vistas continue to inspire a passion for the high places in me. I've been coming here since my early teens and these mountains will always hold a special place in my heart. It started snowing just a couple days prior to us returning home, but such a fine, whimsical snowfall that would take about two weeks before any real accumulation takes place (it was just too cold). Just as well I guess, considering Agata's ankle still isn't 100% - this way she didn't feel like she missed out on anything 'epic'. But hey, she joined my dad, Frank and me on the infamous Sella Ronda on the last day of 2007 (counter clockwise is best), so her ankle can't be that bad, right? Full report here.

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