or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Washington Cascades 2012 Instant TR Thread
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Washington Cascades 2012 Instant TR Thread - Page 5

post #121 of 151

Ended up heading for Stevens today. Sort of a mixed bag.

 

The good news:  A few lifts are running, there is plenty of snow & it skied quite nicely from around 10:00 to 1:30 or so. Interestingly the snowpack seems like it is still not fully consolidated. 

 

The bad news: Lift ops are limited. No surprise as they made clear what would be open. But the lack of 7th, DD, Chief, etc is definitely noticeable. Especially when they would have skied really well. Doubly so when the park has been expanded and a material amount of terrain off of Skyline is not available to be skied if you do not have a park pass. So really, think of Skyline as sort of 2/3 open... I usually seek good lift served off piste skiing (and found a reasonable amount of it today - all things considered). However, a lack of grooming was noticeable on a number of runs. A decent number of them had not been groomed recently and, especially in the AM, that was certainly noticeable. Especially given the limited number of runs available.  Lots of people seemed to find it rather challenging.  No cafeteria service was annoying. The website had said that "Granite Peaks Food Service" would be available. My bad for thinking that this meant the usual food service. The Bull's Tooth was open - but I sort of hate it since service is always painfully slow & the food is often meh. I guess they want me to brown bag... At least my latte downstairs was good & I could grab a couple granola bars and call it lunch. 

 

I'm actually rather disappointed in the way the "2nd season" felt today (my first day up there as part of said season). Stevens has a great mountain and ample snow. They should be able to get plenty of attention and traffic. But the way things were running it sort of felt like a few random squatters had opened up a few lifts...

 

There was snow. I had fun. I'm glad they are still spinning the lifts they are. A sweet deal if you buy next year's pass now. But what was not there made itself felt - and probably accounts for at least part of why the place was so empty today. It is a chicken and egg thing. I have to believe with a bit more in the way of lifts and services, they'd have people flocking to the second season.

post #122 of 151
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DesiredUsername View Post

Go ahead, make me feel bad for missing out  frown.gif

 

 

 

OK.

 

Mt. Baker, Friday, April 27

 

It rained all week but snowed last night, about an inch or a little more of densely fallen snow.  The sub-surface was not frozen and had drained of the excess water so that it wasn't soup, but had some firmness to it.  I got to the ski area parking lot at 8:50, put on my gear, walked to the lift (about 50 feet) put on my skis, and about 15 seconds later they started loading.  I was on the fourth chair on Chair 7.  I beat it for chair 6 and was rewarded with first chair, one other person got on a few chairs behind me, but there was pretty much nobody around.

 

Our early bird ways paid off with a creamy smooth surface, especially on Pan Dome.  I went after it with fervor, finding the skiing on Snagglepuss most to my liking.  By 11:15 the snow was getting pretty jerky and I was kind of tired since I'd been at Whistler for the last two days and had driven down to Baker just this morning. I went home early.  

 

Whistler sucked big time.  Baker was lots of fun.

post #123 of 151

 

Quote:

 I have to believe with a bit more in the way of lifts and services, they'd have people flocking to the second season.

 Mmm, I don't know about that. Did you see this article in the Times today?

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2018081006_skibiz27.html

 

The Baker spokesperson said they need exceptional conditions to get folks out this time or year, and Crystal says their spring business is down 25% compared to last year (which was COLD) due to the warm weather in Seattle. A lot of people just don't like spring skiing. I'm one of them. I haven't skied in 3 weeks, since it's been so warm. My friends who are casual skiers think it's weird I haven't switched to biking or hiking yet. Most people don't ski this time of year because they're just ready to be done with winter sports when the weather warms up and it stops snowing in the mts.

post #124 of 151
Well it's better than not skiing, but it is very heavy snow. Challenging conditions at Crystal today. It snowed a good part of the day, but very wet snow, on the cusp of sleet. I'm tired!
post #125 of 151

Alpental -- Saturday, 4/28

 

It was soft and sticky today, but thanks to the clouds, it was consistent through the day and wasn't quite as sticky as it has been.  Either that or I'm getting better at slicing through it.  In the morning people were cursing International, saying it was "full of avalanche debris", "survival, not skiing", and "the worst I've seen it".

 

That kept me on the lower mountain for a while, trying to ski out some of the bump runs.  I was actually wishing for more traffic today to help pack down the snow.  There were quite a few people, but everyone stuck to the two blue runs where the traffic got pretty scary at points.

 

Once I did go to the upper mountain, I thought it was pretty fun.  There was some avy debris, but is was soft and easy to power through it.  And up there the runs are consistently steep enough that gravity overpowers any snow stickiness.

 

It wasn't a beautiful, sunny spring day like we have been having, and it doesn't sound like it was anywhere near as nice as Baker.  I still had loads of fun and didn't want the lifts to stop.  I'll be back until they close, then I'll try to add to the traffic at Crystal.  Apparently I like spring skiing.  There will be plenty of time for hiking and biking soon.

 

How long is Baker open?

 

 

 

 

post #126 of 151
Thread Starter 

Mt. Baker, Saturday, April 28

 

My last day at Baker this year.  It started out bluebird and ended cloudy.  The snow wasn't quite as sticky as the day before.  After it softened up, most of the runs were really nice.  The sloppy glop on Honkers went past sticky.  This is where my BBRs seem to excel by plowing right through the stuff and making it fun.

 

I got what seems to me to be an interesting picture from chair 3 right at the top.  The cliffs are part of Mt. Shuksan.

 

IMG_2852.JPG

 

Depending on the weather I might hit Stevens on Friday.  We'll see.

post #127 of 151
Thread Starter 

Here is a nice year end blurb from Duncan Howat, Mt. Baker's Big Cheese.

 

http://www.mtbaker.us/1011/snow_report/

post #128 of 151

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post

 

Depending on the weather I might hit Stevens on Friday.  We'll see.

 

If the weather is good, I may head over on Friday also. 

post #129 of 151

Yesterday (Sunday), Stevens was fun enough. Still lots of snow. Still very limited lift ops - Skyline, Hogs and Tye. With a chunk of Skyline terrain, as noted before, now turned into park. The combo of temps and clouds left things mostly variable and sticky. Groomers mostly skied well. Off piste was really mixed. Set off some small but informative slush-alanches around noon or a bit past. We'd planned to do a bit of hike/skin and bagged the idea due to the conditions we found in the sections that were still lift served. We might have found good snow a bit higher, but we opted for lazy - especially as we had mixed clouds, drizzle, fog, and a tiny bit of sun. The idea of possibly hiking just to ski mank in a cloud did not appeal... I did dip out a few feet into the backside near the glades (no longer patrolled) and the snow was awful -- not consolidated, not corn-like at all, very sticky. Lots of tree debris in the trees o the front side. But they skied "ok".

 

Either a week of real snow or a bit of freeze-thaw would help a lot. But hey - it is still skiing on a ten foot deep snow pack in late April...

 

What was rumor yesterday is now confirmed.  All 2011/2012 passes will be re-enabled for this coming weekend. They will also let you apply money spent on spring season day tickets or a spring pass to next year's pass -- with the purchase deadline pushed out to June 30. They clearly bobbled the spring season marketing thing - and seem to be listening. Heck, I did not even have any issue with they way they handled it it. I was just stoked to be able to snag some more lift served days & was gonna buy a pass anyway. No matter how you slice it, Stevens is one of the great pass deals in the US IMO. Great mountain. Great snow.

post #130 of 151

I skied Crystal Friday, Saturday, and Sunday last weekend.  I've finally recovered after flying back on the redeye and going straight to the office.  The upper mountain conditions were pretty good, all things considered, though the snow definitely was heavy.  As a New Yorker, I'm not accustomed to so much snow, and particularly heavy, wet snow.  The steeper trails were more enjoyable all weekend because of the sticky friction on the more moderate grades, particularly after lunch.  I almost killed myself a few times trying to maintain speed on a straighaway leading to a flat or uphill section. 

 

I ended up doing laps on the Green Valley lift at the top, alternating between Green Valley and Snorting Elk Bowl.  It was really delightful.  I often had the place to myself and it was super quiet on the Snorting Elk Bowl side of the ridge.  The heavy, slow snow, though hard work, encouraged me to try steeper runs. 

 

Friday was generally cloudy and it felt wintry.  It snowed a good part of the day, though a very wet snow, on the verge of sleet. Saturday started out picture perfect, with sunshine, fresh snow coating the trees, and a nice partial view of Ranier from the top.  That didn't last long and the fog and cooler temps rolled in for much of the remainder of the day.  The snow was quite firm in the morning and I stayed on the groomers, but it softened up by mid-morning.  Sunday was variable.  One run sunny, the next foggy, etc.  By Sunday I was feeling like an old pro skiing on the dense "breakfast" snow, which often varied between cream cheese and maple syrup.  All-in-all a great trip, and I'm glad I managed to get away for a last-minute, long weekend (and a big thank you to my wife and daughter for the permission slip).  Nice to finally get a last-ditch ski in after this dismal winter.  I stayed at the Village Inn at the base.  It was convenient and comfortable, but quite "basic."

 

2012-04-28 at 09-41-12.jpg

Beautiful Saturday morning from the base

 

 

2012-04-28 at 10-23-19.jpg

Darwin, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever  avalanche rescue trainee puppy

 

 

2012-04-28 at 10-28-17.jpg

First chair Saturday (almost)

 

 

2012-04-28 at 11-11-57.jpg

Snow before the fog

 

 

2012-04-28 at 13-43-06.jpg

Ari?

 

 

2012-04-28 at 15-18-41.jpg

Not quite vertical

 

 

2012-04-28 at 15-57-52.jpg

Dropping in with the crowds on Snorting Elk Bowl

 

 

 

2012-04-28 at 16-04-08.jpg

Snorting Elk Bowl

 

 

 

2012-04-29 at 11-21-27.jpg

Powder Bowl from Lucky Shot

 

 

 

2012-04-29 at 12-50-55.jpg

The shy and mighty Ranier

 

 

2012-04-29 at 13-22-16.jpg

Small avalanche from (closed) Powder Bowl blocking Lucky Shot

 

 

2012-04-29 at 13-44-20.jpg

Southback

 

 

post #131 of 151

Nice report, thanks.

post #132 of 151

Nice TR.  I also love the Snorting Elk side.  

 

Spin, thanks for the update about Stevens.  I'm planning to go on Saturday. 

 

Then assuming Stevens really does close for the year, I'll be going to Crystal until they close, even though it's twice the driving time for me.  I'm hoping Crystal will stay open into June, so I can celebrate my 50th birthday skiing. 

post #133 of 151
Thread Starter 

Stevens Pass, Friday May 5, and Saturday, May 6

 

Friday featured Skyline, Hogsback, and Tye Mill chairs.  I ran into Cloudpeak and we skied for the morning together.  There was some new on top of the well consolidated spring snow, very smooth and consistent.  Tye Bowl was exceptionally nice and skiable until well into the afternoon.  It snowed on and off all day and the snow was light and "wintery" as it fell, but became very springlike when it got to the surface.  A very nice day all in all.

 

Saturday started out fantastic.  7th Heaven was opened instead of Tye Mill and there were 2 inches of new.  Since the run had been closed all week there were incredible fresh tracks to be made all over the hill.  Meadows was to die for and I was able to pick out several long, smooth sections among the avalanche debris on Rock Garden.  I cut hard right at the bottom of the Garden and was able to get the slope that goes down to the bottom of Tye Mill chair.  It was smooth and completely free of tracks.  I was having a ball until my boot broke!  A rivet came out and I decided that I had just skied some great runs and I wouldn't worry about it any more.  I was on the way home at 11:00, but I had a blast.  I'm pretty sure that it was my last day for this season.

 

54 ski days this season, a record for me.

post #134 of 151

Alpental -- Saturday May 5

 

It was a good day, but sounds like it didn't match Stevens.  The top of Chair 2 got 20" of new snow in the 72 hours before they opened and the top of it was actually light, cold powder. That was a very nice surprise for May.  But somehow on the bowl side of chair 2 the visibility wasn't great and that soft snow had gone missing -- Rollen was surprisingly hard and choppy, Edelweiss was full of slide debris, Gunmount was nice for a few turns then turned choppy where it narrowed.  I couldn't decide whether to take a hard-snow or soft-snow stance and just couldn't find a rhythym anywhere except the bumps near the bottom of the chair.

 

International, on the other hand, was a dream.  Cold soft snow forming into rhythmic bumps and a bit of light.  Here's a glimpse:

DSCI1761.JPG

 

But lower down, it was not so good:

DSCI1739.JPG

 

 

Also on the not so good front, the Cinco de Mayo festivities brought mid-winter lift lines. Well, I'm glad they're doing good business and hopefully that means they'll keep staying open late. I like having no lift lines, but don't want to pay for it.

 

One more day at Alpental tomorrow, then I'll see how Crystal is.  53rd day of the season -- that's a record for me too, by a long way -- thank goodness they keep data on those scanners.

post #135 of 151

Yes, lower international was filled up with avalanche debris, and nearly unusable except for a small path between the slides.  Snake Dance was the best way down, and I've never seen it so crowded there.

 

I have to say it was amazing to see all the parking lots filled to the brim, the lodge full, and long lift lines after the past month.

 

Did you notice how they closed down the traverse towards 2:00 p.m.?  You could see small snow slides coming over the cliffs from time to time - I think they were worried about a big inbounds slide.

 

Avalanche debris at Alpental.

post #136 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdstarr View Post

Yes, lower international was filled up with avalanche debris, and nearly unusable except for a small path between the slides.  Snake Dance was the best way down, and I've never seen it so crowded there.

 

I have to say it was amazing to see all the parking lots filled to the brim, the lodge full, and long lift lines after the past month.

 

Did you notice how they closed down the traverse towards 2:00 p.m.?  You could see small snow slides coming over the cliffs from time to time - I think they were worried about a big inbounds slide.

 

It was crazy, and I certainly did notice that closure -- my son and I were hoping to spend the afternoon doing laps on the bumps on Eisfallen but that didn't happen.  Today they closed it for "extreme avalanche danger" before lunch, maybe 11am.

 

But besides that, today was glorious.  It was sunny and warm, and while the snow got grabby in the usual spots it was worth picking up speed and skating through.  Upper international was still cold packed powder in the early afternoon (well, some pretty slick spots but I have edges).  Lower I was still unusable, but Snake Dance was a lot of fun early.  Late in the day, the Snake Dance bumps got too rutted for my taste, so I switched over to Felsen and wished I'd been there all along.  Beautiful corn, but not too soft.  I might have to hike back up and do that one again.

 

I did hear a rumor that they may open again next weekend, so I'll be checking the website.  Otherwise, I did get a couple of those Crystal groupons so the season isn't quite over.

post #137 of 151

Stevens on Saturday, May 5, last weekend of the extended spring season.

 

As Posaune noted, they opened 7th Heaven.  However, things can change quickly, I arrived about an hour after opening; when I first went up Skyline, 7th Heaven was closed.  Then it opened, and I took a run down Cloud 9.  Pretty much cut up heavy crud,  one of the worst conditions I've encountered there.   Shortly after they closed 7th Heaven and opened Tye Mill, which had the best conditions on the mountain, nice hard park on Skid Road, decent moguls on Roller Coaster, little more cut up half way down.   Even on Skyline or Hogback the conditions where OK on top, then half way down slow and slushy.  

 

All in all a fun day.  'Cuz I was skiing.   

 

 
post #138 of 151
Crystal on May 6, Sunday.

The snow was a little bit harder in the morning, but then warmed up to become nice and soft and then ultimately very sticky. Pictures were taken with my bad cell phone camera.
450
It was beautiful all day, Rainer was looking great! It got up around 50 degrees or so.
450
A lot of the snow was pretty cruddy, this was taken facing down a run that I believe is called Shepard.
I got to demo both the '13 Blizzard Cochise in a 185 and the Dynastar LPR105 in a 184, both were awesome skis. Unfortunately I was a bit more tired than usual since I hadn't skied in a few weeks and was on some longer and heavier skis than what I'm used to.

It was quite a nice day, but sadly will probably be the last one of this season frown.gif
post #139 of 151
I've heard several comments about small inbounds avalanches in the PNW resorts over the past few weeks, and recall a rather large one at Crystal last year about this time. Does anyone know why this is happening frequently inbound this time of year? Is it that the ski patrol doesn't do as much avy control in the spring - $ running out, playing e odds with less skiers on the hill ? Or, is the spring snow that much harder to control ? I finished up with 3 days at Stevens each of the past 2 weekends, and am planning to use my group on deal at Crystal next weekend, but I have go admit, I am keeping a cautious eye out as I'm skiing under some potential slide zones.
post #140 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by ILOJ View Post

I've heard several comments about small inbounds avalanches in the PNW resorts over the past few weeks, and recall a rather large one at Crystal last year about this time. Does anyone know why this is happening frequently inbound this time of year? Is it that the ski patrol doesn't do as much avy control in the spring - $ running out, playing e odds with less skiers on the hill ? Or, is the spring snow that much harder to control ? I finished up with 3 days at Stevens each of the past 2 weekends, and am planning to use my group on deal at Crystal next weekend, but I have go admit, I am keeping a cautious eye out as I'm skiing under some potential slide zones.

 

Most of the slides inbounds at Alpental lately have happened when the area is closed. I don't know whether they were  triggered by control work or not, but much of the debris is in the usual places. It makes a mess to ski around, but doesn't seem unusually dangerous.

 

There have been a few mid-day closures of significant parts of the mountain due to avalanche danger, and at least one significant inbounds slide when the area was open (that I know about anyway, I commented about this above).  You don't see this as often midwinter because the cause of the slide danger is different.  These slides aren't occurring because of new snow loading, they occur because the warmth is destabilizing the snowpack.  They can do all the control work they want in the morning when everything is firm and it won't make a difference, it is only in the heat of the day that things become unstable.  So they just have to close danger zones to keep people safe.

 

That's how I understand it anyway, but I'm no expert.  If someone knows better I'd love to hear.

 

I'll be at Crystal next weekend too, looks like it is going to be warm.

post #141 of 151
When I was at Crystal 2 weekends ago, there was a small slide on the steep Powder Bowl that blocked (for a short while) the blue trail Lucky Shot. There is a photo in my TR above. My understanding is that it was caused by skiers who had hiked up to Powder Bowl, which was otherwise closed.
post #142 of 151
Powder Bowl slid multiple times onto the Lucky Shot traverse when I was there on Sunday.
The traverse was eventually blocked off pretty well, and there were also several smaller slides I saw around the mountain.
post #143 of 151
.....are any of these slides going into open, inbound trails?
post #144 of 151
Powder Bowl slid on to the Lucky Shot traverse, which was open. They closed off the part of the trail where slides were occurring and routed people down and around that section.
post #145 of 151
Saturday, 3/12 at Crystal. Gorgeous day! Warm and not a cloud in the sky. Snow started out very firm in the morning, but warmed quickly in the sun. Things slushed up nicely, lots of bumps all over. Things were getting sticky and grabby on the flats, but the snow didn't turn too soupy despite the warmth. Overall, one of the best spring days you could ask for.
post #146 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

Saturday, 3/12 at Crystal. Gorgeous day! Warm and not a cloud in the sky. Snow started out very firm in the morning, but warmed quickly in the sun. Things slushed up nicely, lots of bumps all over. Things were getting sticky and grabby on the flats, but the snow didn't turn too soupy despite the warmth. Overall, one of the best spring days you could ask for.

 

How were the crowds? 

 

Almost went, but fear of crowds with limited lifts turned it into a mtb warmup day. So just be warned your answer could depress me :)

post #147 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post

How were the crowds? 

 

Almost went, but fear of crowds with limited lifts turned it into a mtb warmup day. So just be warned your answer could depress me :)

 

Well... I hesitate to  say. :)  It actually wasn't bad.  Green Valley started to get a little line mid-morning so we skied REX for a while, which had no line.  Came back to Green Valley during the lunch lull and the line had disappeared.

 

I'm sure it was a beautiful day for a ride, though.

post #148 of 151

Crystal Mtn  Sunday April 13

 

A beautiful spring day, sounds pretty much like Saturday except I never saw a lift line.  The bumps on middle Ferk's were getting a bit trenched at the end of the day and coverage at the bottom was, um, spotty.  But that sort of made it a new adventure. After enjoying that adventure a few times, we just stayed higher.  I may have pictures or video later.

post #149 of 151
Crystal MountIn, Sunday May 13

MAY 13 ! Skiing ! Need I say more?

Lower mountain, getting a bit "brown" in spots - but if you lap the upper mountain, good spring skiing. Agree that skiing around the brown spots adds to the adventure. Still plenty of coverage. Yes, can get a bit sticky, but that's to be expected with 60 degrees and blue sky's. They're reducing the number of lifts operating beginning next week - it'll be Gondola, Green Valley and that area - check their web site. I think they also lower their ticket price beginning next weekend.

I'll probably consider bringing my rock skis if I go next weekend - got no scratches this weekend, but the potential to scratch up your bases will increase with each passing week.
post #150 of 151
Crystal, saturday the 26th.

The day included bright sunny skies, then some overcast, and even a little light... sleet? Not quite sure what it was. Despite all that, snow was pretty typical spring conditions. It was the most crowded I've seen crystal yet this spring. Best guess is a combination of nice weather forecast plus the holiday weekend plus the first weekend with no forest queen running. Lines weren't bad, but trails were crowded. It got a little annoying in the AM, but after the lunch lull the people never came back. Over half of powder bowl, literally, slid today. Supposedly ski patrol went up there and did some ski cutting to trigger it. Lucky shot was closed for a little bit while they were doing that, since powder bowl always runs into lucky shot when it slides. I'm guessing this is the last weekend you'll be able to ski to the base. They'd pushed snow into a ribbon to make it all the way down there as it is.

All in all, I can't complain one bit. It was memorial day weekend, there were some fun slushy bumps, it's all gravy at this point in the season.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Resorts, Conditions & Travel
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Washington Cascades 2012 Instant TR Thread