Hmm, ski partners kind of bailed on me today. Luckily, Collin from Ladder 10 called as I was getting ready to leave work. He was ready for a good workout, so he broke trail from Sahalie up to the Commonwealth, where we ran into Gordy. Seemed he had driven all the way from Port Townsend and was very happy to find two other people to break trail. Snow conditions were 3 - 4 feet of totally unconsolidated snow. It was a little windpacked, but not enough to keep the rocks at bay. Made it to the Kendall ridge then enjoyed some very nice turns back down. Nice day!
With the snow getting deeper, it was time for Alpental. Rounded up the weekend crew; Seth, Greg, Scott, Eric, and Holly. We had a nice skin track to follow, and cruised up the Edelweiss side to the top of International. Talked to the ski patrol getting ready for an anticipated Tuesday opening. They were all friendly, but warned they would be throwing explosives after today. As we passed gunmount, the skies turned blue and we could the surrounding peaks poking out of the cloud layer. Had excellent turns down International, then Seth and I headed up for another lap, with a quick detour to ski Lower Rollen. Starting to shape up like an excellent ski season.
A cool 11 degrees, but nice sunshine and fresh tracks. I have been waiting about 15 years for this day. The day that Scott O. got some quality telemark gear. He had a whole new setup(K2 Work Stinx, BD O1 bindings w/ free pivot, and new scarpa tele boots to drive the package). We chased Matt and Heidi up the groomed track, then we headed for Dodge Ridge, where Matt had scouted out untracked snow. The snow was smooth and deep! Scott was ripping on his new tele setup, and we managed 3 laps of fresh pow. Francine cruised for two laps (knee feeling good). A nice start to the season at Snoqualmie Pass.
The weather forecast was lousy. Something like 7,000 foot snow levels and rain. But, Greg was on a streak! He had to get his November turns in, and this was the last weekend of the month. With little options for snow, we decided to try out the slopes of unopened Mt. Baker ski area. We arrived to a steady drizzle and took refuge in the lodge, which had kindly opened up food service for the multitudes of people that were taking advantage of the snow. We saw plenty of snowboarders and snowshoers, but not any other skiers. We eventually left the comfort of the lodge and toured up the ski slopes. The snow depth was about the same at the top as the bottom, which is saying, not much! We managed to pick our way through the rocks and despite the weather, were happy to get on skis.
The Volcano tour by Oldtown Oufitters. We had a full crew for this Mountain bike ride. The van drove us up into the hills, where we then proceeded to ride through the rich farm land. It was amazing to see how well tended the fields are, on the steep hill sides. Corn was in abundance, with some sporting green beans as the secondary crop, after the corn was harvested. The locals all had large machetes, and often a horse carrying supplies. They didn't seem to mind sharing their footpaths with a bunch of crazy gringos on bikes. Unfortunately it was on this ride that Corrinne went over her bike handlebars and broke her radius/ulna mid shaft. We improvised a shoddy splint using an extra bike seat and some corn stalks. Corrinne managed to hike down to the van far below and started her journey back to Seattle for surgery to put her back together. The rest of the group continued back to town, riding all the way back to the Oldtown Outfitters shop, near the town square.
Our hotel room was quite charming, loaded with antiques, with views into the central courtyard. From the roof of the hotel we could look out across the city. We tried the Hookah bar out one evening. In the shot are Tonya and Andy smoking the Hookah hard. Other nightlife included O'Reilly's bar, where the bride's father broke out his bag pipes and played some traditional Irish songs. I think the patrons were pretty stunned to hear bag pipes in Guatemala!
Our first day in Antigua. A small city nestled in the hills. Antigua is about one hour from the airport in Guatemala City and a tourist destination for people from Guatemala City and around the world. Most of the city has walled streets surrounding the town square. Here and there are the remains of old cathedrals. During the day the wood gates, like in the picture above, open up and lead to courtyards, espresso shops, restaurants and several night spots. The police presence was extremely high and we felt very safe. Unlike Guatemala City, reports of crime are very low. Prime focus of Antigua seems to be shopping for native crafts, restaurants and night life.
Time to get the dust off the skis. Headed to Paradise, at Mt. Rainier, for the annual fall rite of getting in the first turns of the season on the Paradise snowfield. Hooked up with Greg Louie, who was working on month number 50, for his streak of skiing every month. Also, had Michael T. who flew in from Switzerland to get in some good ski turns. We checked out the new visitor center, then started the hike to Pebble Creek. From Pebble Creek we strapped on the skis and worked our way up to Camp Muir. The sun came out in full force, and the weather was perfect. Enjoyed creamy turns on the way down, then made quick work of the hike back down, dodging the groups of tourists that the good weather brought out.