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Lots of tree removal at Stevens Pass this off season

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I have noticed there appeared to be a lot of tree removal that happened in the off season at Stevens Pass, WA this year.  It wasn't obvious at first because the mountain looks very different than usual right now due to extremely low snow cover.  There are a lot of trees and shrubs that are normally completely covered and currently exposed, so it doesn't always immediately stick out to that there are also trees that are supposed to be there but are gone.  But some areas are obvious, areas where there used to be trees dotting a slope that is now bare and wide open.  I ran into a Mountain Host yesterday that said he heard they took out about 1000 trees around the mountain (no clue if that #'s accurate or an exaggeration).


I'm not a fan of a lot of what they've done.  So far from what I've noticed, it was done in areas where there were spotty trees and they just took them all out.  Those slopes will ski completely differently now, and you've now lost some areas that would hold pockets of snow longer on a powder day.  You also just lost interesting features to ski around (I like trees!).  I know they're balancing the needs/wants of all their guests, and I'm sure there will be people out there that see this and love it, but I am mostly bummed about it.  There are definitely spots on the mountain that won't be as fun to ski anymore, IMO.

post #2 of 3

I haven't been to Stevens yet this season.  Where are the trees cut?  They did the same thing last year on the back side and I liked some of it but didn't like some too.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

As I said, it's hard to spot some of it still because the mountain looks so different than normal, but one area that really jumped out at me:


After you come down Cloud 9 on 7th Heaven, you go down the last very short steep section before the trail makes a right turn and heads along that (usually moguled) ridge towards the top of Hogsback.  Instead of going down that short steep section, you could traverse to skier's right and get a handful of unmoguled soft turns through those sparse short trees.  Those trees are all gone, so that slope is now completely covered by diagonal traverses, no one seems to be staying on the ridge and then actually ski down the fall line anymore.  I know it's a super short section, not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but those were usually a couple soft powdery turns after everything else is already getting cut up.


Also, lower down on Aquarius Face (further to skiers right), there was a vertical line of a couple big trees that people tended to stay away from, you could pop in between them and get a couple fresh turns after most of the face was cut up, those guys are gone now.



A couple other areas I noticed that they'd started working on last year and have now finished:


On the backside at the bottom, skiers right of Borealis, just before Outer Limits heads into the woods, they've been steadily removing trees there the last couple of years, and finished this year.  It's clear cut and wide open now.  There's still the denser pocket of trees between that and borealis, but they've basically made a new run now (I wonder if they'll add it to the trail map).  I liked that area when it was spotted with trees.  They were pretty sparse, I would have never considered it "gladed", they just add some character to the slope and kept some people off it.


Under the skyline lift, right before the chair crests the last ridge, while you're underneath Lower Annie's, there used to be some trees on the skiers left side of that trail that you could ski amongst early season (they'd be covered later in the year).  They started taking those out last year, and finished this year, they're all gone.  I don't think this one really hurts/helps that slope much, but I did thing it was fun to ski between those trees before they got all covered up.



I'm sure there are a lot of other places (if 1000 is accurate, there have to be a *lot* more trees gone than I've noticed).  Some of it could be very good.  There could be places that were too tight to ski that are now more accessible.  And I totally understand that there's probably someone out there thinking "that wasn't too tight to ski, I loved that spot.  now everyone will be in there."  I get that you'll never satisfy everyone, and I don't have any right to expect them to only do what *I* want.  So I'm not mad about the situation, just a little bummed, at least until I find the spots that I happen to think are now better than before.



Edit: That's actually a great thing to add to the discussion.  If I notice an area that's been thinned and I now think skis noticeably *better* than before, it would be worth mentioning.  And I'm not terribly worried about divulging secrets (not that I think I know many); my assumption at this point is that if the ski area has taken the time to cut down trees, it's in a pretty obvious location that already gets skied relatively heavily anyway.  It just might ski a little better now than before.  Probably a better discussion for after we get a few more feet of snow though.

Edited by jaobrien6 - 1/4/15 at 2:47pm
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › On the Snow (Skiing Forums) › General Skiing Discussion › Lots of tree removal at Stevens Pass this off season