Cold, stable air moved in over Central Washington for New Year. Not exactly conditions conducive for new snow, but the frigid weather kept the goods on the ground in darn fine condition. Mission Ridge skied beautifully for 2 days, and as the photos show, the scenery was rather spectacular. Even the New Year debauchery was top quality 😉
Stevens Pass lies little more than an hour from Wenatchee (at the base of Mission Ridge), and that’s where we headed after New Year for 2 days. Stevens is one of those places we’ve visited only 2 or 3 times, and never hit good conditions. This time we had our local tour guide, ‘Rus, a perennial season pass holder, a base worthy of February, and a mostly deserted mountain that was skiing beautifully.
What a difference local knowledge makes. Understanding of aspects that hold good snow, pointing out the best lines, and picking off unskied high-speed groomers, our guide was a font of wisdom. I had no idea that Stevens had terrain on the back side that rivals Crystal’s Northway area. Plummeting through tight trees, mini-bowls and open bump fields, this was about as good as skiing gets without boot deep pow. Corona Bowl’s razor-sharp entry bumps protected heavenly wind-blown snow on terrain where falling is as advisable as watching reality TV. Head sharp left off the Southern Cross chair, cruise Polaris Bowl through open trees, and steer left along the boundary line into an unmarked creek bed/chute that is as scintillating as scary. This is absolutely mountain of hidden treasures.
The frigid weather shouldn’t go without a mention. The temperature at the base hovered around 1oF for both days. Rolling over the Cascade crest from the east was a river of cold air, a flowing mass of cloud that hugged the mountain top. At 20-30mph, this was serious wind chill. I still have minor tingles on the end of the toes on my left foot. They’ll go away soon. The memories of these 2 days won’t.
Mission Ridge 8900m, 9400m vert
Stevens Pass 8300m, 7000m vert
Season Totals: 25 days, 11 powder days, 225,100m vert