Dec 24, Brandon Kern Hyak Invitational Randonee Race

Hmm, got an email last week from Brandon.  He wanted to do a casual randonee race at Hyak on Christmas Eve morning.  I told him that it sounded like too much effort.  The format was two hours of racing up and down the front of Hyak.   Greg Louie thought this sounded like fun, so he quickly forwarded the invite to his list of ski partners.  Well, race day dawned, 33 degrees and raining.  Since lift served skiing was going to be poor today, Francine and I motivated out of bed and made it to Hyak at the early 7:50 hourish.  I told myself I only had to do one lap.

Turns out we had about 15 hardy souls willing to get out of bed early to ski in the rain.

Of course, Seth was race favorite, with a history of dominating when it came to pain suffering.  Here he trails Brandon.  I think Brandon managed to keep the lead for two laps before Seth made his move.

John Stimberis about to get lapped by Seth

Seth, the machine


Turned out to be a great way to spend the morning. I even managed to do 3 laps as I tried to keep an enjoyable pace.

Early Results:
Seth Davis 6 laps, 6,000 ft.
Brandon Kern 6 laps
John Mauro 5 laps
Greg Louie 4.5 laps
Heather Kern 4
Crispin Prahl 4 +
Holly Walker 4
Kevin Curd 3
John Stimberis 3
Elissa  Eng 3
Melissa 3
Francine Curd 2
Ann 2
Cindy 2

Dec. 20 Catherine Again

It's funny, some years I never even ski Mt. Catherine.  This year it seems to be the fall back tour.  Greg wanted to get out for some exercise, so depite what looked like lousy conditions we headed for Catherine again.  Got our exercise, but the skiing was pretty awful.

Dec 13, Mt. Catherine

Dragged Tom out for another tour of Mt. Catherine.   The 3,000 foot ascent/descent took a little under four hours, from the house.  Snow was not blower powder, but for how long it has been since our last snowfall, it is holding up surprisingly well.  Didn't see many tracks leftover from the weekend.  I think the powder snobs are holding out for more snow.

Dec. 12, Hyak Lap

Plan was to do a little Mt. biking in Issaquah, but with a huge fog bank in the city we decided to join Tom and his buddy Brad for a ski tour at Hyak.  Weather was bluebird and the mountains were out.  Brad was taking his first tour, so enjoyed the easy skinning at Hyak.  Unfortunately the snow was a little crunchy for his powder skis.  However, was perfect day to test the new equipment.

Francine and Kevin pose for possible xmas card photo.

Dec. 9, Mt. Catherine

Started at the house with the intention of skinning up to Nordic Pass via. the start of the Mt. Catherine tour.   Tried to follow the drainage to Nordic Pass, but eventually decided to just climb to the top of Catherine.  Snow was actually pretty decent and had a good ski down.  Seems even steeper with less snow.  Ground coverage was a little lumpy but still skied well.

Dec 5, Silver Peak

Beautiful sunny day for a tour out to Silver Peak.  Managed to get sucked into the Frog Lakes vortex on the way home.  Still not sure why I always have to get turned around when I use Nordic Pass to get home.   Good day for a long tour.

Francine and Greg on the way up.

Nov 30, West

Did a few laps at Summit West with Francine and Tom.  Francine had new skis, with the new dynafit radical speed bindings.  Francine, instantly, liked the new setup.  She couldn't believe how much easier it was to tour with the dynafits over her Fritschi bindings.  Another sucessful dynafit convert!  Skiing was actually quite good, with 4-5 inches of soft mush over softpack.   Could have had a little sunnier weather.

Classic Summit West weather

Francine likes her new skis!

Tom Davies

The new bindings, sweet.

Nov 21, Alpy

Wow, what a year.  7 days of touring already.  Mixing up the ski partners, I got out with Greg Louie, Don Hecker and Francine.  I guess if you can't have bluebird weather like last Saturday, snowing hard is a good alternative.  Snow was getting deep with 6 -10 inches of new.  Snow was definitely a little thicker than this weekend, but we all enjoyed getting out.  Skied one run down Nash and called it a successful day.  Probably the longest tour Francine has done since she blew her knee.

Francine Zigs up Schluct.  

Etta - Future Patrol Dog

Greg slashing down International

Francine, first International lap of the year


Nov 19, Alpental

Kevin -  Lower Rollen

 Wow, what a great day.  Hooked up with Seth to power out about 5,000 feet of powder.  We were somewhat suprised to find about a dozen skiers at the top of the mountain.  Despite following them down Nash there was plenty of powder to enjoy.  Lap 2, we couldn't resist laying first tracks into Edelweiss bowl proper.  Then another quick shot on Lower Rollen before another sweet run down International.  Today was the most skiers I have ever seen touring at Alpental.  Pretty obvious that this earn-your-turn thing is catching on.

Seth - Edelweiss Bowl

Seth - First Tracks!

Nov 18, Hyak

Struggled to keep up with Frank.  He was on fire.  Still waiting for him to get old and slow down a little.  Also dragged out Scott Sumner for his first day on snow this year.  Pretty nice first day with almost a foot of new.

Nov 17, Hyak

Nice to be able to ski in the backyard again.  All the brush work over the summer has really paid off.  Made one backside run and a couple on the frontside with Frank and Tom.

Frank and Tom at the top of Hyak

Frank cruising the backside

Nov 16, West

Area a little more skied out today.  Patrol was out putting pads on the chair towers.  Made two quick laps with Francine and Tom Davies.

Nov. 14 Summit West, Snoqualmie Pass

First ski day at the pass, thanks to about 6 inches of new over the previous rain soaked foot, the snow was actually pretty good.  Coverage looks excellent already, and Summit West should only get better as the week progresses.

Nov 11, Moto - Sasse Ridge Trail

Scott with Cle Elum Lake below
Hooked up with Scott for what looks to be the last motorcycle ride of the year, in the Cle Elum area.  Despite temperatures  just above freezing, the trail was in great shape.  The snow was falling by the time I reached home.  Hopefully ski season is starting next week.

November 2, Tokul East

Francine in the Woods,  Tokul
Francine had the day off work, due to transformer work at the pass.  Made the best of it, with a loop at Tokul.  The trails were in great shape.  Unfortunately, the loggers, look like they are getting ready to cut another swath of destruction.  Ride included Tether Ball, Safety First, first section of Golden Spike, Middle trails back to bottom, then up to Crazy Ivan.  Nice.

Nov. 1, Taneum Motorcycle Loop

Got out with Eric, Mike Reimer, Matt Karaus and young guy Ben.  I think Ben was only 28, which had to be the reason he was so much faster on his Honda CRF 250.   Rode up Woods n Steel, East on Cle Elum Ridge Trail to catch N. Fork Teanaway trail from the bottom, all the way up past the Taneum Shelter to Windy Pass and back on the ridge trail.  I managed to pinch flat my front tire, right before windy pass.  I was planning to ride home with a flat front tire, but luckily Eric had all the tools, including a spare front tire and air cartridges to inflate it.  Our Pit crew managed to change out the flat in under 20 minutes.  Sure made the ride home a lot more fun!  Thanks Eric.

Eric fixing my flat                                                             Photo by Matt Karaus

Oct. 17, SKI Camp Muir to Pebble Creek, Mt. Rainier

DAY NUMERO UNO!  First day of the new season, hooked up with Greg and Frank for some of the best conditions we have had on the Muir snowfield. 

October 7, Miller Peak Time

Hooked up with my soon-to-be neighbor Scott Sumner, for a motorcycle ride up and around Miller Peak.   Trail was in perfect condition, with even a little fresh snow on the sides, as we neared the summit.  This is a classic ride, and was glad to get it in before hunting season starts full swing, and the snow really flies.

September 26, Armstrong Pass to South Lake Tahoe

Final day of riding.    Drove up to the top of Oneidas road, paved, for another point to point ride.  Climbed 4 miles on sweet, mountain biker designed single track to Armstrong Pass.  Ron, a friend of Lisa's, works for the forest service and designed these fun, swoopy, trails.   The grade was amazing.  Everytime we came upon a rise, we would look up the hill to where we thought the trail would climb, Washington style, and the trail wasn't there. Had to look lower to find the nicely climbing trail.  Again, the scenery was amazing with the granite boulders and trees.  The last mile was quite a grunt.  The sign at the start of the trail said 3 miles to the pass; it was actually 4.  At the pass, you could turn right to head to Big Meadow on Hwy89 or left to climb to Freel Peak.  We turned around for a screaming, fun, descent.  8 miles and we were still at the car.  Descended down "Armstrong Connector" for 2 miles.  This is one sweet section of trail.  Great rock sections.  This dropped us out at  the  "Corral" trail, where we rode our first day in South Lake Tahoe.  Descended Corral to Powerline trail and worked our way home for a 22 mile ride to finish the week.
Packed up and  hit the road.  Drove 4 hours to Alturas.  Had some great pizza at Antonios, and stayed in another cheap hotel recommended by the restaurant, Rim Rock Motel.  Spotless clean, but older.  $59.40 per night.  This is a record on motel prices for us.  10 more hours and we were home the next day.  Nice week!