Fri, March 20 - Bike Kelowna, BC, "Smith Creek" trails

Today, Friday, we check out of our unit at SilverStar Ski Resort.  Maddie made us pancakes. The Weber clan got the car packed and were out the door by an impressive 8:30am.  Jimmy was fully enclosed in suitcases and gear in the way back of the Landcruiser.  Gone are the days when all 3 kids fit in one row of seats.

Kevin and Francine were planning on mountain biking Ellison Provincial Park in Vernon.  We woke up to a couple of inches of snow on the mountain.    Remember, we brought our mountain bikes on this trip, due to the funky ski season.  We finally made it out of the house around 10am.  On the way down the hill, we stopped in the Sky Ride bike shop and Francine bought a couple pairs of shorts and Kevin bought a bike jersey.  We stopped at the next store, Attridge Sports, and Kevin got new Snowboard boots and bindings.  Turns out that the sales person helping us was the manager of the Silver Star Bike Park.  We may have to come back to ride the park in 2016, after they finish adding a 35Kilometer cross country trail called Beowolf(sp?)

When we left the store, it was raining again, so we canned plans to ride in Vernon and made our way south to Kelowna to ride the Smith Creek trail system.

Met Paul Hoyne, a brewery startup consultant at the trailhead, and he joined us for our ride.  We grunted up the "Gruel Climb" trail to what we thought was the top, around 7 miles.  Looped down to an intersection we had seen earlier.  Here, Kevin opted for the direct downhill trail "Feel the Love".  Paul and Francine chose to descend the same trail we climbed.  Sweet trail system and trails were in perfect shape do to the rain in the morning.  12.55 miles.

On to Summerland (just north of Penticton BC) to get a room for the night.

March 14 - 19, Ski Silver Star, Vernon BC

Saturday, 3/14 - Nice sunny day.  The backside runs have been icy, so they haven't been grooming the Black and Double Black runs.  But, with the warmth, they actually groomed Holy Smokes (black).  Conditions were chilly, and before heading to the backside, we had to warm up at the Paradise Camp hut.  It was weird to see no one inside, as in the past, it was always packed.  We also hit Minerva's (black) which was real soft and smooth.  Nice groomer day, with light crowds.  Good thing they had a Freeride Competition and a Bumps Competition this weekend to bring people to the hill.

Weber Clan at the top of the Alpine Meadows Chair

Sunday, 3/15 - Cold and Clear.  All the warm slushy snow set up, making for a firm day.  Had to stay on the groomers.  Maddie skied from the unit, rode the baby chair, Silver Queen, skied to the bottom of the Comet Express, rode that and went home.  The rest us of  checked the groomer report and took note of the groomed runs.  The backside groomers were nice.  Made a mistake and followed Jack on El Dorado, but it had sweet grooming and faster snow than Saturday.  Turns out it was the only groomed run to the bottom of the Putnam Express.

Jim, Jack and Maddie

Kevin and Francine

Monday, 3/16 - Sunny, and we got 3 centimeters of snow, which made for real nice conditions on the groomers.  We thought today would be quieter than the weekend, which was quite sleepy.  But, apparently everyone arrived on Sunday, and came out today.  Apparently, Ontario and Vancouver are all on spring break.  I guess we were spoiled over the weekend with the empty slopes.  The ungroomed runs with the inch of fresh snow skied alright.  After lunch at the condo, we headed to the backside to hit all the groomers.  Since Wee Willie was so fun on Sunday, we hit it again.  Unfortunately, Francine crashed on the shaded, icy corner, and ended her ski week.  No swelling, but pain behind the knee in the ski boot with forward pressure.

Tuesday, 3/17 - Sunny again.  Firm in the morning and softer later in the day.

Wednesday, 3/18 - Ran down the hill to the town of Vernon for some supplies, and everyone hit the slopes for the 12:30pm afternoon ticket for soft runs.  Everyone enjoyed getting off the groomers to hit the bumps off-piste.

Thursday, 3/18 - Last day.  New snow overnight.  3 centimeters and snow throughout the day.  Temps were a bit warm, with rain at the bottom of the Putnam Express.  Snow in the village and condo, which made for sticky snow.  Francine did the Maddie drill from Sunday, and snuck onto the baby chair-Silver Queen and Comet Express to call it quits for the day.  Luckily we can ski home from the top of the Comet.  The best run of the morning was Split Decision, the run back to the condo for lunch.  Jack, Len, Kris, Maddie and Kevin went back out after lunch.  Might be our last skiing for a while.

We check out of our unit Friday morning.  Thanks to Len/Kris, we all had a sweet ski-in,  ski-out unit in the Ridge development.

March 13, Penticton B.C. Mountain Biking??

Off to find snow.  We were headed to Silver Star Mountain in Vernon, BC to ski for the week with Kristin/Lenny and the three kids, Maddie, Jack and Jim.  Jim is on spring break from University of Idaho.  Maddie flew in from New York.   And Jack is in Seattle.

Had a nice easy drive on Friday, March 13th.  With warm and dry temperatures predicted for our week, we brought the mountain bikes.  We hit Penticton BC around 4pm, and made it to the Poplar Grove parking lot to ride the "3 Blind Mice" trail system by 4:30pm.  Rode the Lookout Loop for 11 fun miles in 2.5 hours.  The trails were skinny and fun.  They worked the terrain to include techy rock sections with great smooth dirt.  Not sure how they would be in mid-summer, but they were great today.

From the parking lot, rode the Kettle Valley Railway for half a mile.  Then hit Ridlle Road and climbed to the Pearly Gate trail head.  Managed to find the Lookout Loop markers and followed these for our whole ride.  Once we made our initial jeep road climb, we found the trails to be well marked.

White Tail to Mice to Three Witches to Cougar to Bobcat to Lynx to our far point at about 7 miles where the trail made a turn back to the car.  We hit Yellow Brick road to Three Witches to Narnia to Jack&Jill.  Turned around on Jack&Jill and rode back to Narnia to Roller Coaster to Three Witches to Tsweet Tsue. Down Riddle Road to the KVRailway to car.

Tsweet Tsue had corners similar to Flowtron at Tokul West, which caused Francine to do some walking.  Kevin thought the corners were a blast.  Great trail system, and we only covered a very small portion of the lower part of the "3 Blind Mice" trail system, maybe 15%.  We had great views of the lake.  Seems like it would be brutally hot in the summer.  Looks like we started at 557 Meters and climbed to 820 Meters.

Jumped in the car and after a funky dinner in Penticton, made our way to the condo in Silver Star by 9:30pm to meet Kris and Jim.  Len, Jimmy and Maddie flew into Kelowna, and had an eventful trip via a cab driver that could not find the house.  I think he drove them around the village for about 40 minutes.

Soaring Eagle

Hooked up with my sister, Kris, nephew Jack and their dog Ziggy for nice ride at Soaring Eagle park on the Sammamish plateau.  

Feb. 29, Anthony Lakes, Day 4

Francine skins up the shoulder of Lees Peak  (with Angell Peak in background)
We were checking out of our house, the Orville Chandler Ranch.  It was super nice, with views of rolling meadows and the Wallowa mountains in the distance.   House comfortably slept four couples and was about a half hour from the ski hill.   We had planned to check out another ski resort, but with good snow at Anthony Lakes, and no good snow anywhere else, we drove up for another day.   Don was heading home, so it was just Francine and I.   We planned to return to the Angell Peak Basin area and ski a couple of laps.   We had half-off lift ticket coupons, from staying at our house.  We used them to buy a single ride on the chairlift.   6 bucks for the two of us to get a ride to 8,000 feet.   From the top of the lift, we skied down to Hoffer lakes.  From the lakes it is about 1,000 feet vertical to any of the surrounding peaks, Gunsight, Lees, and Angell.    We toured up into Angell Basin and skied a lap off Lees Peak and Angell Peak, then headed home.   The relief is not that huge here, but the skiing has plenty of steeper lines.   Some looked quite impressive.    Awesome trip!  We will be back.  The great snow quality could definitely spoil someone from the northwest, where our snow always seems to be thick and heavy.  At Anthony Lakes the wind would blow and refresh the slopes.

Lap 1, off Lees Peak

View of Lees Peak as we ascended ridgeline to Angell Peak
Views from the ridgeline.

Kevin, lap 2 off Angell Peak


Low Angle Pow at the finish.

Feb. 28, Anthony Lakes, Day 3

Francine rode the lifts this morning.  Her feet were still recovering from her touring boots, and she really liked the inbounds terrain.  Snow has been great!  Don and I started at the car, and toured up into Angell Basin.   It's about 1500 feet of elevation gain from the parking lot to the top of Lee's Peak.   We did one lap, and were in the lodge by noon(3 hour tour) to meet Francine.  Francine showed up at 12:30 with a big smile.  She could have skied longer, but the boys were done.

Don skinning up through the trees.

View from the top, looks good.

Don gets some powder on Lees Peak.

Nice day.
Don on Hoffer lake.  We finished on the short pitch right behind Don.
 Our run started off the top of  Lees Peak, the rocky thing in the back.
!,000 foot drop to the lake.  We skipped the sporty line that diagonals through the rocks.
I did see tracks on it both days, next time!

Feb. 27, Anthony Lakes, Day 2

Another great day skiing.  We poked out into the backcountry after lunch.   We found some pretty steep stuff!  

Don Hecker, Anthony Lakes side-country



Steep with lot's of trees

Don H.

February 26, 2015. Anthony Lakes, OR.

First day of our trip to Anthony Lakes we were greeted with 6 inches of new snow.  Thursday was half off lift tickets and Francine and I skied for 40 bucks including parking permit.   Great day with fresh snow.  Ski hill has one lift with 900 feet of vertical, topping out at 8,000 feet.   Terrain had great variety and snow quality was excellent.  We were in Anthony Lakes with Don Hecker and former co-worker Larry Jensen and his wife.   They checked out the cross country trails while we skied. Anthony Lakes motto was, "were still the same".   Super cute small town hill that I will definitely be revisiting.

Don Hecker


Lunch, soup was good!  Wendy, Don and Francine


Feb. 24, Tiger Mt. Off the Grid

More mountain biking:  Couple of rides at Grand Ridge, Tokul, and even rode to the top of the ridge above Roslyn, where we found Jake with a trail tool raking out the trails.  Weird year, it felt wrong to be riding Roslyn so early in the year. 

Don enjoys primo conditions on off-the-grid at Tiger Mt.


February 12, Alpental Side Country - tour

Dan gets a hop in his turn,  Chip's Couloir - top of Sharon Bowl

Well, I missed the final day of lift served skiing at Alpental yesterday.   Well, maybe they will re-open?  Unfortunately, the snow is definitely gone.  I was amazed at the difference in snowpack, since I skied 5 days ago.  It seemed like almost another foot had melted away.   You can still link turns, top to bottom, but there is no way they could run the chairlifts.   I hooked up with Dan Larson and Francine for our tour today.  The snow was springlike and skied quite well.   We managed to ascend up through snake dance, just outside the rope boundary.   We climbed up into the zone adjacent to Nash, just further North, outside the ropelines.  We worked this area over back in December, and it was kind of depressing to see that it actually had less snow now.   Anyhow it was a beautiful day and the turns were good, as well as the company.

Francine digging her new skis

Francine and Kevin


Feb. 10, Rocky Top, Yakima

Francine headed higher in Yakima.
Had to escape the rain at the pass, so headed to Yakima hoping to find dry dirt.   Dirt was barely dry enough to ride without causing too much trail damage.   The main loop is about 11 miles and gets more fun as the ride goes on.  On a more negative note, Alpental has shut down operations until they get more snow, effective after today.   Bummer.

Feb 6, Day 26 - Alpy

Rain was the story of the day.  Rained all day long.  Word was they had about 5 inches of mank, yesterday, up top.  Anyone hoping for a little more snow at the top of Alpy, sorry.  Nash opened up today and skied very well.   By the end of the day the soft slide debri was pretty smoothed out.  Once again, have to say, I have never seen Alpental so low on snow.  Left side of lower I was quite rocked out.  If they run lessons this weekend, I would imagine the lower slopes to be virtually unskiable after Saturday.  Sessel was fine today, but the snowpack is just too thin.  Get Nash tomorrow, it's going , going , gone.  Rode the snowboard from 10-2:30.  Everyone out, maybe twenty people, enjoyed the good skiing, despite the rain.

Feb. 2/3 Whistler

Annual Rick trip.  Probably one of the lowest snow years in a longtime at Whistler, but thanks to snowmaking all the main runs were in good shape.  Good times.

Jan 30, Alpy Shot

Rob and Bill, Chair 2 Alpental

Bill and Rob stopped by the house and motivated me out onto the ski slopes.  Lowest coverage I have ever seen up top at Alpental.   Spring skiing was fun, just watch out for obstacles.

Jan 28/29 Schweitzer

With Scott Sumner scheduled for rotary cuff surgery on Feb 2, he was running out of ski days.   He had been trying to make it to Schweitzer to visit his buddy Carl.   We loaded up the truck and made two days of skiing.  Perfect spring conditions, with firm groomers in the morning, and getting just warm enough later in the days to enjoy soft bumps on the frontside.  Ground was barely covered in snow, but as long as you stayed out of the trees you were okay.

Sunshine ;)

Scott and Dianne

Francine and Heather H.

Dianne - smooth

Jan 22, Stokes Bowl, Snoqualmie Pass

Greg Louie drops into Stokes Bowl
Greg Louie spent the night after skiing a great day at Alpental.  He had some brand new Atomic Backland ski touring boots.  He had recently attended the Salomon/atomic product release at Steven's and had managed to score some new boots.  He was excited to get out for a tour and try them out.   Unfortunately freezing levels had gone up and rain had soaked the snowpack from top to bottom.  We toured out from Alpental Lot 4 towards source lake then up through big trees.   The trail out was really kind of a pain in the neck.  As we climbed out of the valley we began to realize that not only was the skiing bad, but the avalanche danger was not something to be messed with.  We decided to drop draft dodger and wrap the cleave to get out of the high alpine as soon as possible.  A couple of ski cuts on a steeper slope, set off good wet snow slides that started about six inches thick, over a firm crust, and quickly gained speed.   All in all, it turned out to be a good day outside.  Even if the snow was super thick and heavy, and our rain gear was soaked, it was still nice to get out.

Greg and Scott


January 21, Alpental - Opening day for Nash

Nash was nice.   Powder laps all afternoon.

Francine, Greg, Rich Honda(guest appearance from Maui) Jack, Kevin

January 19, Alpental, Chair 2 opening day.

Scott Sumner makes fresh tracks down Lower Rollen

Got out about 10:00 and did some laps on the lower mountain.  Did three or four laps of fairly untracked mank.  Decided we were ready for chair 2, so slid down to Chair 2 load shack.  Jonny was working and introduced us to the new liftie, then invited us in the shack to dry off.  After about 15 minutes patrol came through and gave the word to start loading.   Usually one would expect twenty or thirty people waiting in line for the chair.   Scott and I were the only ones there!  Nice.  Typical for early season Alpental, International was not open.   Also the ridge was shut down until almost 2:00.   However Edelweiss was totally untracked for our first run, then we veered to gun mount.  Great start to the season at Alpental!  Looking forward to Wednesday when Nash should be open.  Cascade powder lasted most of the day and Scluct still skied sweet, when they dropped the ridge ropeline late in the day.

Scott, Meister

The view from first chair

Still a little thin, Breakover Trees