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Stevens Pass 5/6/08: Skiers In The Mist

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Spring in the PNW. At least it wasn't raining...

Cloudpeak & I have been threatening to try the skinning thing for a while. With no lifts in the state running during the week and an offer from PhilT to show us the ropes, off we went. Some familiar inbounds terrain seemed like a good place to start. Admittedly there is nothing even vaguely epic here. But hey, it is May and things are slowing down - so I figure that any TR is better than no TR!

Stevens is closed for the season. Hence, the "lift system" was slow.


Let's try not to get too tangled up in skins & glue our first time out...


Cloudpeak heading into Tye bowl


Me. Phil could have just hit the delete button, but noooo...


I'm told the Volkan-English dictionary translates "Kuro" as "floor planks"


me and my happy floor planks in Tye Bowl


A couple shots of Phil in Tye Bowl




It was big fun. Big thanks to PhilT for taking the time to walk us through, very patiently, a bunch of the usual idiot newb stuff!

Several pics taken by PhilT. Used without permission...
post #2 of 13
I was gazing at the gray sky all day today, feeling grumpy that ski season is (needlessly) over, yet winter lingers on. Glad to see someone was having fun!

Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
Me. Phil could have just hit the delete button, but noooo...
You were closely inspecting the snowpack, right?
post #3 of 13
Hey! Great report.

Now you two have gone and done it. Once you start that skinning thing, you're going to be hooked. The "end" of the ski season suddenly has no meaning anymore. You've opened the floodgates. Well done.

Wait 'til you get out to the top of some little peak on a sunny spring morning with a couple thousand feet of PERFECT corn snow below you and nobody else around. Nobody ever believes me, but that beats powder skiing all to hell.

Since we're on the subject, I'll tell you a little story about an outing Ruthie and I did last week. We were up on Teton Pass and skinning toward a favorite little spot of mine. There had been a little skiff of new snow and it was about 7:30am. I was in front and we were skinning up through a open spruce trees.

I'm used to seeing all kinds of critter tracks on these little forays, so when I saw some intersecting tracks above me a little bit, I didn't think much of it. When I got there, however, it was plain that they were bear tracks. Two sets. One set of BIG tracks and one set of small tracks. Kind of like a mama bear with a cub walking alongside her. In the woods. Tracks that had been put down just in the last couple of hours. : That made the remainder of the walk in the trees just a little more interesting.

Anyway, I'm glad you got rigged up to do some skinning. You'll have fun.
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
Wait 'til you get out to the top of some little peak on a sunny spring morning with a couple thousand feet of PERFECT corn snow below you and nobody else around. Nobody ever believes me, but that beats powder skiing all to hell.
no. nonononono. That's just wrong.

But a thumbsup to the couple for hitting the skin track.
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
Wait 'til you get out to the top of some little peak on a sunny spring morning with a couple thousand feet of PERFECT corn snow below you and nobody else around. Nobody ever believes me, but that beats powder skiing all to hell.

Aside from the fact that I completely reject your notion that corn skiing is better than powder skiing, I'd like to point out that it is very rare we get sunny spring mornings to go ski perfect corn, it is washington after all.
post #6 of 13

Skins and shirts?

I enjoyed your photos. It provided a nice respite from being indoors this evening far away in Michigan.

Thank you for sharing the dream.
EJ
post #7 of 13


this is great skiing here phil(Im sure you know that already).

Great little TR next time they come ski whereever I am at i wont feel so bad hiking them
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilT View Post
Aside from the fact that I completely reject your notion that corn skiing is better than powder skiing, I'd like to point out that it is very rare we get sunny spring mornings to go ski perfect corn, it is washington after all.
Not to be argumentative, but...

Perhaps you reject the notion precisely because perfect corn skiing is so rare in Washington that you're unable to fully appreciate how great corn skiing really is.

I skied probably 50+ days of good-to-outrageous powder this past winter. I would gladly trade any one of those days for another day of this type of skiing a week ago on the slopes of Rockchuck Peak in Grand Teton National Park:





Dropping into an untouched, just-warming, perfectly-smooth slope of corn snow is, IMHO, the most pleasant, relaxing type of skiing there is. It's absolutely effortless, you don't feel any irregularities or inconsistencies in the snow, and your skis just glide over that buttery surface.

Perfect corn only happens in perfect weather conditions. A cold, clear night sets up the snow surface and you start up the hill before the sun comes up in the morning. The skinning is easy and fast and you can cover so much more territory than when you're breaking trail or fighting snow conditions. When you get to the top, you wear sunglasses and lightweight clothes, maybe even a ballcap and a t-shirt. In great corn, you can ski the steepest slopes on the mountain with utter confidence. You can also easily ski fast on really low-angle slopes and play around in the trees, bushes, and rocks.

I'm also convinced that very few resort skiers have ever actually experienced the kind of corn skiing I'm talking about. "Perfect" corn is an all-natural, organic product. It doesn't form inbounds at a ski resort. It only forms on huge, untouched faces where the snow builds up all winter and never gets skied. Then, springtime brings warming days and freezing nights. The snow surface gradually consolidates, settles, and smooths out until it's just right. It gets supportable and polished, just waiting for the morning sun to trigger that magical hour when the top layer is soft and silky. Aaaah.

I corn skiing.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
Not to be argumentative, but...

Perhaps you reject the notion precisely because perfect corn skiing is so rare in Washington that you're unable to fully appreciate how great corn skiing really is.

I skied probably 50+ days of good-to-outrageous powder this past winter. I would gladly trade any one of those days for another day of this type of skiing a week ago on the slopes of Rockchuck Peak in Grand Teton National Park:





Dropping into an untouched, just-warming, perfectly-smooth slope of corn snow is, IMHO, the most pleasant, relaxing type of skiing there is. It's absolutely effortless, you don't feel any irregularities or inconsistencies in the snow, and your skis just glide over that buttery surface.

Perfect corn only happens in perfect weather conditions. A cold, clear night sets up the snow surface and you start up the hill before the sun comes up in the morning. The skinning is easy and fast and you can cover so much more territory than when you're breaking trail or fighting snow conditions. When you get to the top, you wear sunglasses and lightweight clothes, maybe even a ballcap and a t-shirt. In great corn, you can ski the steepest slopes on the mountain with utter confidence. You can also easily ski fast on really low-angle slopes and play around in the trees, bushes, and rocks.

I'm also convinced that very few resort skiers have ever actually experienced the kind of corn skiing I'm talking about. "Perfect" corn is an all-natural, organic product. It doesn't form inbounds at a ski resort. It only forms on huge, untouched faces where the snow builds up all winter and never gets skied. Then, springtime brings warming days and freezing nights. The snow surface gradually consolidates, settles, and smooths out until it's just right. It gets supportable and polished, just waiting for the morning sun to trigger that magical hour when the top layer is soft and silky. Aaaah.

I corn skiing.
I resent the notion that I don't know what it's like to go out in the mountains and ski corn.



I also firmly hold that it is inferior to powder skiing.
post #10 of 13
Really, bob, that was a silly thing to say. With 12 months of season and the deepest snowpacks in the lower 48, we certainly see perfect corn here.

And I'd put it up there with anything short of powder.
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilT View Post
I resent the notion that I don't know what it's like to go out in the mountains and ski corn.



I also firmly hold that it is inferior to powder skiing.
I would hold THAT skiing to be inferior to powder skiing also.

No argument here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry_Morgan View Post
Really, bob, that was a silly thing to say. With 12 months of season and the deepest snowpacks in the lower 48, we certainly see perfect corn here.

And I'd put it up there with anything short of powder.
Maybe it's just a cultural thing. Maybe we have much lower standards here in Wyoming than you do in Washington. I still wouldn't trade a single day of this past season's powder skiing for the turns I had in Teton Park last weekend.

It's obviously just me. There's no accounting for tastes.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
I believe the corn v. powder debate is indeed a most worthy one. Being a bit of an empiricist, I trust evidence I can touch and feel. Therefore I believe I must ski more corn & powder - much more corn and powder - with Phil & Bob to test these assertions under various coditions.

Bob, when would you like the PNW contingent to show up for a Teton Corn data gathering session? (you just gotta skin really slow like...)

And you know you guys are always welcome in our neck of the woods in order to sample the local fare...

:
post #13 of 13
Stevens is my home mountain! How sad for it to be over! Looks like you guys are still having fun though. Good for you!

Here is me on Double Diamond


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