March 24, Middle Fork Descent

It's a long way down.  It's even longer climbing out.

Seth drops into the Crooked Couloir drainage

Climbing out and over to the East peak of Snoqualmie Mt.

Seth and Eric Noll side slip off the East Peak.
High winds had scoured the slopes down to icy nuggets.



Seth on the ridgeline

Pow.   Seth


Still descending, the river is down there somewhere.

Getting ready to climb.  Current elevation approx. 2,800 feet.

Sethernater 2200 starts laying in a very long skintrack.

March 19, Alpental

It was one of those days.  The snow was soft.  The sun was bright.  The lift lines were non-existent.  The backcountry was open.  It was very nice.
Tim Tiejtin - Powder Bowl

Jarrod - Powder Bowl

Crispin - No Fog
Greg Louie - No Fog

Tim - Powder Bowl

March 18, Gin Peak, Callaghan Valley, B.C.

Stopped at the Escape Route store in Squamish on our way up to Whistler and picked up a tour recommendation.   We were hoping for something between Whistler and Squamish that we could hit on the drive home.  Monday was almost bluebird, with good visibility up high.  We had anywhere from 4 inches to a foot of fresh snow to work with.   We drove up Callaghan valley, past the Olympic Jump hill, and tried to figure out where Gin Peak was located.  Parking was $10.00 to access the cross country area.  We could spot the lower part of the mountain, but could not see the summit from the parking lot.  We checked in with ski patrol at the cross country center and they gave us very good directions to get started in the right direction.  The route started by heading up on a couple of the cross county trails then dove into the forest where the route was well marked with orange reflectors on the trees.   We bobbed and weaved up through the woods, until we popped out at Hanging Lake.   From the lake, we could see the upper slopes leading up to Gin Peak.  We left the trees behind and headed into the open alpine slopes to the ridgeline.  We topped out on the ridgeline, South of the summit.  We decided to skip the summit, as our legs were tired from two days at Whistler, and the sun was rapidly warming the slopes.  Managed to link some good turns back down to the lake, then headed into the woods, where we practiced good defensive skiing.  In the trees the snow was firm with just a little fluff on top.   This was really a nice tour and would definitely recommend.  Easy parking next to the day lodge with even shower facilities.  The initial climb was through second growth timber and would ski much better with better snow.  The slopes above Hanging Lake were crying for multiple laps.  Good views of Rainbow Mt. and Metal Dome.  It looked like a nice way to approach Rainbow Mt., if one wanted to spend the night.   Parking Lot 3,000ft.  Hanging Lake 4,600ft.  South Ridge 5,600ft.    Gin Peak 5,900 ft.

Francine in the crusty trees

Kevin approaches Hanging Lake

Switchbacking up to the ridge

Francine with Rainbow Mt. in the clouds


Francine gets ready to ski


March 16/17 Whistler

Annual Rick Mirakami boy's trip + Francine to Whistler.   Rick assembled the usual crew of suspects, Jerry, Greg Mej., Marcel, Kevin, Francine, and Rick.  Our first day at Blackcomb was a little firm, but we found good snow near the top, and Seventh Heaven had some soft snow.  The snow came down most of the day and the skiing was pretty nice near the end of the day.  Unfortunately navigation required staying within sight of the run markers as visibility closed in on us.  Sunday we woke up to a few more inches of new snow and immediately headed for the high alpine, knocking off the standards:  Blowhole to blackcomb glacier, extreme couloir, paco loco, etc.   Snow was very nice and fluffy.

Rick - Extreme Couloir

Greg and Marcel take the high entrance.


Marcel goes fall line - extreme couloir

Jerry does bumps




March 8, Kootenay Pass - Day 2

After our last day at Kootenay Pass, we decided to lay low and wait for the snow to return.  We took a day off from skiing, and went for a soak at the Ainsworth Hot Springs.   The next day dawned with about 7 inches of fresh, which we made good use of at Whitewater.  Once again, Whitewater rocks!  For an area that has only 3 chairs and no high speed quads it provides plenty of excellent skiing.

Friday morning was a drive day, but we decided to return to Kootenay Pass for a half day of touring.  Conditions were greatly improved and the sunshine was out.  We made three north facing runs, off Baldy Rocks, then headed for home.

Francine hides in the shade

Trees were a little
tight off the ridge.

Happy turns.


Last lap, snow is getting a little heavier
but still pretty nice.

March 5, Kootenay Pass

Kootenay Pass has been on my radar for years.  It is the pass between Salmo and Creston.  It's the highest driveable pass in BC at 5,800 feet.  After our tour at Whitewater, with 3 inches of dust on crust, our expectations were low.  When we hit the pass, it appeared that it was just crust, no dust.  Oh well, the scenery was great, and the sun was out.  I flipped a coin and decided to tour off the South side of the pass.  We headed up a well traveled skin track and eventually found ourselves on top of an area known as Baldy Rocks at 7,090 ft.  The snow quality was slightly improved and we found some good turns off a southerly aspect.  Respecting the considerable avalanche advisory, we took it cautiously off the summit.  The skiing was slightly reminiscent of our Whitewater adventure the day before.  About a 3 inch layer of fresh over crusty.  Francine seemed to float a little better and enjoyed the smooth snow.

Definitely enjoyed the touring, and the possibilities would be excellent with a good snowpack.  Much of the touring was fairly obvious, but we did pick up a map(after our tour), that would make it easier to put together longer tours.  Highly recommend for a good variety of short tours, with options to extend further out.

Francine climbs the ridgeline to the Baldy Rocks summit.
Francine enjoys some low angle turns off the bottom of Baldy Rocks

March 4, Whitewater Sidecountry Touring

Relocated to Nelson BC, for the week.  Unfortunately the snowpack has been effected by the rain and warm weather.  We had a lazy morning, then made the quick drive up towards Whitewater Ski Resort.  We had planned to head out towards Hummingbird Pass, but seeing the empty pullout, we decided to continue up to the resort.  We parked in the cross country lot and toured up, just outside the Whitewater boundary signs.  The snow was about 3 inches of fluff, over a firm, almost supportive crust, then a foot of good snow.  We toured up towards Silver Queen, then headed down and into the ski area proper to take advantage of their grooming.  Good exercise, not so good turns.
Francine tours up the Whitewater sidecountry

March 28, Schweitzer Ski Resort

Hooked up with my sister's family for a week at Schweitzer.  We had some great powder in the trees our first two days, then the rain came.  Friday rained all day.  Saturday skiing was springlike soft, and Sunday it froze.  Overall a good week, but we are ready for some fresh snow!

Jim, Maddie, and Jack

Jack trying to fly

Maddie, Len, and Jack