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

Riding in the Washington Cascades Sunshine

January often brings ‘the doldrums’ to the Pacific Northwest. A period of high pressure gives sunshine in the mountains with little new snow for a week or two. This year, the last half of January is very doldrums-like. Still, the base is good and the occasional little top ups and cold temperatures keep the skiing kinda fine.

A Sunday at Snoqualmie was never going to be quiet. We started at the Summit East parking lot, and when we clipped in the bindings, the snow arrived. Good timing indeed. We explored Summit East quite extensively, and there is some good fall line, bumpy terrain there. By the end of the day, with a couple of inches new snow on top, these runs were ripping wonderfully. And East is not a busy spot.

We then skied from Summit East to Summit West, skirting smallish lines in Central – very respectable for a Sunday really. The killer runs were under the Wild Fire chair in West. Short but steep, bumpy, with trees to hop around and snow covered boulders to drop. And no wait at all.

The lines midweek at Alpental typically comprised the ticket checker and me. There were maybe 100 people there for a morning of high-speed frontside groomer and bump shredding. The bowl off chair 2 was pretty solid, so I avoided that, and after 20 laps of the quad, I was rolling back down the freeway to Seattle.

It wasn’t really a lot busier at Mission Ridge on the weekend. Lodges were packed with racers and families, but most chair rides required a 1 minute wait maximum. The mountain was still riding well despite having little new snow for a week. And the views were pretty darn awesome. The Pacific Northwest is a beautiful part of the world.

Snoqualmie 5900m

Alpental 8300m

Mission Ridge 9200m, 7100m

Season totals 29 days,  236,300m vert, 8 powder days


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