Pacific Northwest Ski blog (and a few other places!)

Lots or reports from skiing around the Pacific Northwest, with some East Coast excursions thrown in for good measure

February – Where’s the pow, La Nina?

The first half of February saw a slow return to cold, winter conditions. But moisture was still hard to find, just a smattering of snow here and there. Mostly where we weren’t, to be honest, despite last minute decisions of weekend venues dictated by weather conditions. Finding pow was as hard as getting agreement on the Federal budget in Congress. And then some …

It’s not all been grim though, by any means. An excellent cover, forgiving conditions and on Sunday a daytime dump, made for a weekend of steep exploration at Red Mountain. We had several excursions in search of the legendary Cambodia, and had a superb time failing. We got close though. The terrain around the back of Granite is as steep, and in places, the trees as tight, as anything I’ve ever skied. I love Red Mountain. Unmarked cliff bands and all.

Next, the forecast promised decent new snow at Schweitzer. About 6 inches did fall Friday night, but 50 mph winds closed down all but the two lifts up the Basin. With quite a few folks around, it made for a slow-ish day. But long traverses across to the terrain served by the Great Escape chair brought rewards aplenty. The wind loaded trees yielded untracked booty that last the whole afternoon. At last, a powder day! We racked up big horizontal and big vertical metres that day.

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The cold weather persisted into Sunday, giving a really fine day. With most of the mountain closed Saturday, we plundered some delicious snow in Lakeside and North Bowl. My run-of-the-weekend was Pucci’s Chute, a run of red Mountain calibre steepness. And an unmarked cliff.

Snow through the next week freshened everywhere up, and a tight work schedule for me necessitated a local Mission Ridge weekend. Cold, windy, clear and fast summed up the skiing. Soft in places, hard pack in others, it was a typical Mission mix. My new Fischer Watea 84s loved it on Sunday though. I think I quite like those skis!!

Red Mountain: 7800, 8200m vert

Schweitzer: 7300, 9400m vert

Mission Ridge: 8100, 8300m vert

Season totals: 34 days, 11 powder days, 274,800m vertical

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