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Q's about Going to WA Cascades in February - Page 2

post #31 of 39

It's interesting how the WSDOT treats the roads at the various mountain highways.  One thing I've noticed is that they sand the corners but not the straight stretches.  This makes the approach to Stevens Pass, which is a not too windy major cross-state route, seemingly much less safe than SR 542, the Mt. Baker Highway, which is notoriously curvy and narrow with several extreme hairpin turns.  542 is so windy that the plows just sand the whole route so that it's like driving on a gravel road.  Since it's not a through highway there is little to no traffic going the other direction in the morning (Don't count on this!!) and there aren't any semis. 

 

In either case, the state does a good job of snow removal.  While the rest of the government is falling apart infrastructure-wise, they seem to almost always have things well in hand.  When it snows in the lowlands I just have to worry about getting from my driveway in Bellingham to the city limits where the state takes over the plowing.  After that I can count on the roads being drivable.

post #32 of 39
Thread Starter 
OK, so I'm sitting in the airport waiting to go to SEA -TAC looking at increasingly depressing forecasts for extreme cold and wind exactly when I'm going to be in WA. It looks about equally cold everywhere, but my concern is more about the wind. Is any area more susceptible to lift holds for wind? The idea of a gondola sounds appealing when it's 5 degrees F and 20-25 mph wind, but not if it ain't moving. The resort websites aren't saying anything about it that I can find. Guess the slopes will be empty anyway what with the Hawks spanking Bronco butt.
post #33 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowBalz View Post

OK, so I'm sitting in the airport waiting to go to SEA -TAC looking at increasingly depressing forecasts for extreme cold and wind exactly when I'm going to be in WA. It looks about equally cold everywhere, but my concern is more about the wind. Is any area more susceptible to lift holds for wind? The idea of a gondola sounds appealing when it's 5 degrees F and 20-25 mph wind, but not if it ain't moving. The resort websites aren't saying anything about it that I can find. Guess the slopes will be empty anyway what with the Hawks spanking

SnowBalz

 

Great!  You're making it out west.  Yes, the Cascades are in a cold snap now, but as you are from the east and used to the cold, it shouldn't be much of a factor for you.   Bring a good neck gator for your face and you should be fine.  The Cascades can get windy like anywhere else, but there really isn't any specific  area that is noted for wind.

 

You are going to Crystal RIGHT?!!  We want some feedback on your trip.

 

You are going to have a ball

post #34 of 39
Thread Starter 
Yes, I have experienced extreme cold in VT and the Adirondacks, but it's sort of like the scene in "Groundhog Day " (just watched it for the 50th time) where after Bill Murray's character nails a mailbox, one of the drunks says "if we wanted to hit mailboxes we could have let Ralph drive." As in if I had wanted to experience that kind of cold, I could have driven there in 6 hours. But even if the weather gods are angry at me, it's OK. A new state, new ski areas. Good Times. Might even see Rainier, eh? Yes, I certainly will do Crystal. Although they have the harshest forecast of the areas on the Crest for Wednesday and Thursday. WPP
post #35 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowBalz View Post

OK, so I'm sitting in the airport waiting to go to SEA -TAC looking at increasingly depressing forecasts for extreme cold and wind exactly when I'm going to be in WA. It loeoks about equally cold everywhere, but my concern is more about the wind. Is any area more susceptible to lift holds for wind? The idea of a gondola sounds appealing when it's 5 degrees F and 20-25 mph wind, but not if it ain't moving. The resort websites aren't saying anything about it that I can find. Guess the slopes will be empty anyway what with the Hawks spanking Bronco butt.


Can't recommend one place over another for wind.  Yes, it will be cold, we're not used to this kind of cold and you should experience small crowds.  When it gets cold like this we almost never have much cloud cover, so the views should be good.  I went skiing yesterday at Baker and the snow was still good in many places even though it hasn't snowed in several days.  Interestingly Baker had the least snow during the last dump, so if it's skiing OK there, the others should be even better right now.

 

I would normally offer to show you around when you get to Baker, but I can't ski this weekend.  If you show up on Friday I could do it.  I was planning on being at Stevens at the end of the week, but it's too damned cold so I'm putting it off.

 

Have a great time.  I hope the snow forecast for Saturday is correct and you get some new.  That would be sweet.

post #36 of 39
Thread Starter 
Scotsracer asked me to let them know how it went, and I'm half Scottish, so here goes: Crystal Wednesday, Stevens Thursday, sick day on Friday (the real kind, not the going-skiing kind of "sick" day), Baker Saturday. Crystal & Stevens were cold. Really, really cold. As in the lift dude at the bottom of Green Valley chair at Crystal told me it never got above -10 degrees on Wednesday and was -16 first thing in the morning. Warm clothing and face coverings helped, and it wasn't intolerable, but still impossible to ignore that kind of cold. The snow was ok where groomed except on the steeper pitches where it was pretty scraped off. The single diamond ungroomed stuff was tough for me. Rainier was visible in all its glory. Pretty empty, what with 700k at some parade in Seattle.
Stevens was not as cold in degrees, but more wind in one's face coming down the mountain, so felt colder. Better snow overall, especially on the front side and easier pitches, where it was excellent. A bit hard on the back side, perhaps due to the southern exposure, pitch, and/or more skiers. Scored a parking spot 30 yards from the lodge at 9:40 a.m., so you can guess how uncrowded it was.
Baker was worth the trip, although also requiring sharp edges and good balance. Apparently, I don't have the latter, because I know I had the former having tuned my skis myself before the trip. Mid 20's and mostly sunny never felt so warm. The "Baked" Slalom (in honor of the young lady with whom I shared a chair who sparked up a joint at 11:00 in the morning and proclaimed, "Another day in Paradise") was interesting to watch, and the slopes were not crowded except in that general area below Chair 8. Mt. Baker itself was a nice view, but not as amazing as Mt. Shuksan. Wow! IMHO, up there with the Matterhorn and Maroon Bells for sheer awe-inspiring grandeur. As an Easterner where safety bars are mandatory pretty much everywhere, and the father of a 10 year old, didn't care for the lack of safety bars. I understand Baker has the lowest prices of the three, but personally, I'd rather pay the extra $10-15 for a ticket and get a safety bar, and maybe a footrest too, or even a hi- speed quad or two. But I get the impression that isn't happening any time soon.
Western Washington is incredibly pretty and I hope to go back to the Cascades some time after it snows 3-5 feet, not right before.
post #37 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowBalz View Post
\
The "Baked" Slalom (in honor of the young lady with whom I shared a chair who sparked up a joint at 11:00 in the morning and proclaimed, "Another day in Paradise")

I have never once had this happen at Baker, and I ski there a lot and have for over 20 years. How do you rate?

 

Glad you had a decent visit even though it was a week too early.

post #38 of 39
That's a pretty solid week!  Good thing you didn't take my advice and try to go out to Mission Ridge... I thought I'd hit it for the first time this season during the storm cycle that started coming through this weekend.  I grabbed my girlfriend and gear and drove to my grandparents place for the weekend only to end up with my damn skis (purchased brand new at the end of last year) in dire need of a good base grind from all the dust covered rock that I hit.  Snow quality was phenomenal (by Washington standards) in the places where it was, especially on Sunday, but the hill was insanely bare - especially in the chutes and sidecountry bowls I wanted to explore.  I found myself in no more than an inch of snow standing on rock slabs on more than one occasion.  So, I guess, in the midst of my rambling, my point is that my advice was terrible and I will never question Christy's wisdom:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christy319 View Post
Every winter I keep an eye on Mission Ridge, hoping to ski there, but whenever I look at the snow stats/forecast, I swear to god it's a 30" base with no recent snowfall recorded and none in the forecast. I don't understand how they even get the 200" they say they get.
 

 Anyways, glad to hear you had a good time.  Next time you come hopefully we won't be having such a rough year with the snow.

post #39 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowBalz View Post

Scotsracer asked me to let them know how it went, and I'm half Scottish, so here goes: Crystal Wednesday, Stevens Thursday, sick day on Friday (the real kind, not the going-skiing kind of "sick" day), Baker Saturday. Crystal & Stevens were cold. Really, really cold. As in the lift dude at the bottom of Green Valley chair at Crystal told me it never got above -10 degrees on Wednesday and was -16 first thing in the morning. Warm clothing and face coverings helped, and it wasn't intolerable, but still impossible to ignore that kind of cold. The snow was ok where groomed except on the steeper pitches where it was pretty scraped off. The single diamond ungroomed stuff was tough for me. Rainier was visible in all its glory. Pretty empty, what with 700k at some parade in Seattle.
Stevens was not as cold in degrees, but more wind in one's face coming down the mountain, so felt colder. Better snow overall, especially on the front side and easier pitches, where it was excellent. A bit hard on the back side, perhaps due to the southern exposure, pitch, and/or more skiers. Scored a parking spot 30 yards from the lodge at 9:40 a.m., so you can guess how uncrowded it was.
Baker was worth the trip, although also requiring sharp edges and good balance. Apparently, I don't have the latter, because I know I had the former having tuned my skis myself before the trip. Mid 20's and mostly sunny never felt so warm. The "Baked" Slalom (in honor of the young lady with whom I shared a chair who sparked up a joint at 11:00 in the morning and proclaimed, "Another day in Paradise") was interesting to watch, and the slopes were not crowded except in that general area below Chair 8. Mt. Baker itself was a nice view, but not as amazing as Mt. Shuksan. Wow! IMHO, up there with the Matterhorn and Maroon Bells for sheer awe-inspiring grandeur. As an Easterner where safety bars are mandatory pretty much everywhere, and the father of a 10 year old, didn't care for the lack of safety bars. I understand Baker has the lowest prices of the three, but personally, I'd rather pay the extra $10-15 for a ticket and get a safety bar, and maybe a footrest too, or even a hi- speed quad or two. But I get the impression that isn't happening any time soon.
Western Washington is incredibly pretty and I hope to go back to the Cascades some time after it snows 3-5 feet, not right before.

Well, you better get on a plane now, because that is what is being forecast for this week. Oh, it will be much warmer, so you will get to experience Cascade cement!

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