It’s a welcome sight when, just past the small town of Naches, the gloom and fog that cloaks the Yakima Valley in winter slowly evaporates. Replaced by vivid dark blue skies, a snowy wonderland is revealed as we drive the 30 or so remaining miles to White Pass for a Sunday ski day. This La Nina winter has brought consistent cold weather and heaps of snow to the Cascades, so an excellent day was looming.
It certainly was a glorious day. The snow was creamy and soft on the groomers, and the north facing steeps like Hourglass and Execution were covered in chalky, forgiving softpack. And then there was the mesmerizing views of a cloud-capped Mt Rainier (oics here) and the surrounding Cascades peaks. Days at White Pass don’t get much better than this.
In fact the only downside of the whole day was the crowds. White Pass is getting too busy for its single, top-to-bottom fast chair, and the mooted expansion is badly needed. Ten minutes waits were common, and the lines persisted until late in the day. Also the bottlenecks where the intermediate runs converge become precarious to navigate due to the masses of riders competing for an escape. Collisions are a common sight. But with two more lifts, and a wad of new blue groomers, White Pass could become a very attractive venue indeed.
Day 16: 7150 meters vertical
Season totals so far: 16 days, 7 powder days, 117,800m vertical