Feb. 23/24 Alpental Side Country

The lift accessed backcountry saw very little action this week.   The heavy wet snow dump on Tuesday was transformed by clear cool weather into some sweet POW.   I was lucky to get out Thursday with Tom and Lori for a couple of laps, then today hooked up with Scott and my Sister's family for a couple more powder laps.   Kristin and Maddie had not had the full Alpental back bowl experience and were suitable impressed.   Great to get out with good friends, good snow, and blue skies.

Tom and Kevin at Piss Pass

Dropping into Stokes Bowl,  Lori and Kevin


Scott, Kevin, Jack, Maddie

Scott, Kevin, Maddie

Maddie and Kristin make the traverse out to Piss Pass

Maddie in Stokes bowl


Kris and Maddie

Feb 13, Grand Ridge - Both sides of i-90 and new Water Tower Loop

I have been getting some grief about lack of content on the blog here.   Well, mainly from my Dad.   While I do something active at least 3 days a week, I usually save the blog for really cool stuff and actual ski touring.   With all the good snow, I have mainly been skiing the chairlifts at Alpental and Hyak.   I did make it down to Issaquah for a bike ride on one of the warm, sunny days.   We are trying to keep our butts in some sort of bike shape.   Parked down on Sunset and rode the South side of I-90 past the high school and up the bus trail.   Crossed at High Point and rode the trail upward.   Did a loop on the freshly opened Water Tower, then turned around and bombed back to the car.   Great ride with Scott and Francine.   Thanks to the WTA for the great new trail!

Francine on the new Water Tower Trail at Grand Ridge

Scott and Francine

Jan. 30, Kendall Peaks Tour

Greg skins the upper slopes of Kendall Peak

Greg and I had not been in the Kendall Peaks area this year.   With some mixed precipitation the day before, I had hopes of a little fresh up high.   We had some nice pockets of soft snow, as we toured  up into the commonwealth basin.  Unfortunately, as we ascended through the trees, we could see that the skiing would not be much fun.  The snow was somewhat soft, and decent for breaking trail, but it had refrozen enough from the prior day's warming event, that it was not ideal for turns.   We told ourselves that once we broke out of the trees, things would improve.   Not so much.   Between old tracks and a firmish crust, not good.  We stopped short of the Kendall peaks ridgeline, perhaps shy 100 feet.  Conditions would have been good to top out, but with the prospect of no good skiing, we were not motivated to go higher.   We traversed East and crossed the ridge into the Kendall Lakes Basin.   Ski turns were on a firm supportive crust.  We managed a few decent turns then hacked our way through the trees onto Kendall Lake.   We went with my favorite emergency exit, for when the skiing just sucks, and skied the Kendall Lake approach road all the way out to the Hyak exit and called for a shuttle.   All in all, it was a good day.   Not stellar ski turns, but good views and we covered a wide variety of terrain.   

Getting higher.  Hyak in the distance.

Not powder

Kendall Lake

Jan 23, Pineapple

Greg was in for an early noon start.  With horror stories of solid ice layers, we headed for something that had access that wouldn't kill us.   We did find the ice layer, but it had enough new snow on top that it didn't sting too bad.   Not great conditions, but have skied much worse.

Greg heads up into Pineapple Basin
Kevin makes turns off the shoulder of Pineapple Pass

Greg cranks out the turns

Not too scratchy

No Fog - Greg Louie

Did you find the ice climber?

Jan. 19, Hyak

It's days like today that make me appreciate how great it is to live at Hyak and how cool it is to be be surrounded by friends that enjoy the snow so much.  Once again, grouped up with the neighbors, and skinned from Scott's driveway.   We had Scott, Diane,  Trapper, Melanie, Steve, Tucker, Francine and I ready for another day of fresh tracks.

Steve/Tucker, Melanie, and Francine
chat at the top of Rampart

Lap 1


Jan 18, Armageddon at the Pass

Well, according to the news, Snoqualmie Pass is covered in ice and rain.   Thankfully, the news is wrong, and the Pass has not dissolved under a deluge of rain.  What we did have was consistent temps around twenty degrees.  We had some frozen rain, but more like graupel.  Not snow, but frozen pellets and a lot of wind compacting it.   Probably about 8 inches of graupel covered by snow as today went on.  Skied fast and smooth!   Made a lap at Hyak with Ed, Francine, Scott and Diane.   Skiing was good enough for Francine and I to do another lap.

Ed Sewall, fast and smooth on the splitboard
Top of Hyak




Scott, Diane, and Sophie

Jan 16, Tokul

Squeeked in a ride between the freezing temps and forecasted rain.  Good to get on the bike.  Trails in great shape.
Kelly and Francine on Golden Spike, Tokul

Jan 15, Hyak

Short day with Greg and a little product testing.

Jan. 5, Back on Top, Mt. Catherine

Ski in the backyard.  Wrangled up my brother Kelly and avid partner Crispin.   Left the house with temps hovering just above the zero mark.  A good pace up the freshly groomed slopes of Hyak, kept us warm, and got us over the shoulder to glide out to the base of Mt. Catherine.   W meandered up Catherine on a skin track put in earlier in the week.   There were a couple of ski tracks, but plenty of room for more fresh tracks.   As usual the steep ski descent did not disappoint, and it was nice get good snow, four days after the last storm.


Crispin with Silver Peak in the distance

Ready to ski



January 2, 2017. Mt. Hyak

Day Number 6.    That's counting my first trip to the Lake Keechelus national forest parking lot.   .85 mile round trip on very flat ground.  I have very low standards as to what counts as a day of skiing.  Skis connected to feet and touch snow, count it!  

I started at the house, skinned up the road past the first sewer pond then headed up the East slopes of Hyak.   Lot's of tree blown down from the 2015 fall windstorm.   Generally worked left avoiding getting sucked up to high.  Eventually came to the edge of the powerline cut on the South slopes of Hyak.   This pic is on a powerline access road that connects into the main Hyak Hidden Valley ski runs.   This saddles out below the top of Hyak.   So I didn't actually make it to the top of Hyak.   Well, I did catch the chairlift up to the top.

I spotted this slope yesterday.   I skied it today from treeline on the left..  Very nice.  
Ankle really feels pretty good.  The touring has really helped get rid of the last bit of swelling and has gotten my muscles firing.   Aside from the one pitch here, I skied an easy groomer back to the base of Hyak.

December 31, Lake Keechelus

Cross country trails were in good shape.  Went out past the first bridge, then cross country to the Hidden Valley trail.  Skated back down to river, then slapped on skins for the slow slog back to house.

Rocking the pair of skis that marked my driveway last year.

Dec 11, It's getting Deep

Second cleaning of deck.   As I write, will need to go blow another foot.   Great start to winter at Snoqualmie Pass.   Alpental opening day was yesterday.  Scott was in the morning line-up with Matt and Heidi.  He reported fairly quick opening of Chair 2.  After one lap on chair 2, he said the line was so big he went home.   One and done!   Lines at Central and West looked very reasonable.  Noticed the Commonwealth was growing a cornice over the front of the building.   Could be an impressive cornice collapse when things warm up.  

December 6, 2016 OPening Day for Summit West

View from my desk.

Blog has been a little empty.  Still have another month before I can think about skiing, but that hasn't stopped the snow from falling.   Looking like an excellent start to the season.   Almost too cold.   Not used to this light stuff. 

Fibula   6 weeks out from surgery

Big pow skies for Francine

Digging out the deck from our
first major storm at Hyak.

Oct 17, Forced Relaxation

Unfortunately, my fibula fracture on May 20 decided to never grow back together.  Although I was pretty mobile and only had a dull ache, it was recommended that I get it pulled apart, scraped, and pinned back together.  Downside being six weeks of non weight bearing on my left leg.  Surgery was super smooth and easy.  Foot pain and swelling is less than the original break.   Hopeful for a quick recovery.

Kevin gets goldfish
 in the recovery room
Freshly plated fibula