On our occasional visits to Stevens, I’ve always contemplated the ribbon of snow that plunges through the trees from the top of Big Chief Mountain. On this trip I finally discovered its name – Wild Katz. The conditions were good, especially on Sunday. A first descent down the 1400ft vertical Wild Katz was a must.
A pre-lunch Sunday ride down neighboring Double Diamond confirmed the overnight freeze was softening. Double Diamond is steep, but not scary steep, and apart from a little frozen mid run rubble, it was fine.
About 1.30pm I hopped off the Southern Cross chair and pushed up to the entrance to Wild Katz. From the ridge, the snow and the first pitch looked tasty indeed.
It didn’t take long for the gradient to reach the sort of numbers that are common at Red Mountain. You know it’s steep when you stop to take a pic and your uphill hand touches the snow when down by your side (and I don’t have long arms. Maybe short legs ? :)).
As the run got steeper and narrower, I was quite delighted the snow stayed mostly soft and creamy. What looked like a small cliff band had enough snow on it to hop over easily with a couple of quick kick turns. The trees on the edge offered occasional relief from the fall line, and held tasty remnants of the inch or two of snow from the night before.
The steepness was more or less unrelenting until the trees finally opened up near the bottom. Phew. What a great run. A Pacific Northwest classic.
The whole weekend held many other highlights. Saturday was weather-wise as weird as an interview with Marshawn Lynch. Calm and sunny one minute. Crazy and puking the next. About 2pm the off-groomed softened and we rollicked around on the back side, lapping the face under the power lines in perfect corn snow. Not a bad way to end a day.
Sunday was finally Spring. We went straight to the sunny back side, and by 10.30am everything was riding beautifully. Corona Bowl was a soft sugary luge run around big bad ass bumps. A run down Polaris Bowl and then into the steep, narrow creek bed that hugs the ski area boundary was truly spectacular.
And then there was Double Diamond and Wild Katz …
A great ski weekend! And another 2 days on our Max Pass. Shame Stevens isn’t on there next year. That’ll probably keep our visits even more occasional.
Saturday 8700m, Sunday 8000m vert
56 days, 463,200m vert, 16 powder days