One of the joys of living in Seattle is access to local ski hills. Between a Mission Ridge season pass and a MAX Pass, I can ski virtually anywhere (except Baker) and get great lift discounts. The downside is weekend crowds, but they don’t kick in until after Xmas (and never kick in at Mission). Before then is luxury 🙂
Big early December storms have put down a solid base everywhere. Another two feet and it’ll be ride anywhere time, but for now there’s still the odd tree top and cliff protrusions on steeper terrain.
Decent snowfall Tuesday was followed by a warm up and rain, and this left Snoqualmie Summit somewhat firm on Wednesday. The groomers were decent at Summit Central, but off groomed was more like east coast skiing. I ended up doing laps on the Armstrong chair at Alpental, where it was virtually deserted. Grooming was minimal but the bumps and snow covered boulders were fun to ride. Fun for effectively free anyway.
Saturday at Alpental
Thursday was a mostly clear day at Stevens Pass. Groomers were soft and carving beautifully early, and if you were judicious, there was soft packed powder in the gullies and trees. We spent most of the morning lapping the back side on the Jupiter chair, and the afternoon on the front where the snow was probably better. A bad lift line was 2 minutes, so we happily jaunted around the mountain like a President-Elect with a twitter feed, aiming the skis randomly at any target that looked worthy of attention. The payback was typically positive.
By Saturday morning, a few inches of new snow had fallen across the Cascades. Xmas Eve, Seahawks game, some freshies – the perfect recipie for a day trip to Alpental at Snoqualmie. It was still firm underfoot but the 2-3 inches on top softened things up in places. The lower groomer off International was killer high speed fun, and there were plenty of bumpy steep-ish lines through the middle of the lower mountain to have fun on. I gently explored, with the odd trip to the top when the visibility cleared out.
On the lift at 9.30am, in the car at 1.10pm. It was mostly deserted. I rode most lifts alone, and weirdly only talked to Scots and Irish folks. It was that kind of day. Merry Xmas 🙂
Snoqualmie/Alpental 8300m, Stevens Pass 7700m, Alpental 9300m vert
Season totals 11 days, 84,100m vert, 6 powder days