Monday, March 16, 2009

Snoqualmie Ski - 03.16.09

Steve called on Saturday to let me know that his Monday plans may fall through. I told him I'd be up to skiing if he was available. We decided that we'd try to hit something on I90 if we were getting out together.

Sunday night came and our outing was given the green light. I mentioned to Steve that Alpental is closed on Mondays and it would probably be a decent place to go. However, when we awoke Monday morning, avalanche danger was "considerable" below 7000'. Not wanting to chance it, we decided on heading up to Summit West, which was also closed.

We arrived at the parking lot, and saw two older men head toward the Commonwealth Basin on 3-pin bindings. From the parking lot we saw someone else skinning up farther to the east. We decided our intended route to be skinning up to the top of the Pacific Crest chair, and then ski east to a low point, and skin up to the top of the Wildside chair. We started up under light snow with cloudy skies. The snow would only increase, while the skies got darker.

The snow was deep and not too light. Skinning was a chore. We got to the top of the chair, and Steve wanted to go up to the cell tower and ski a small opening in the trees. The last 30' of vertical was deep. We skinned to the cell tower to make a transition, and then I skied down to take pics of Steve coming out of the trees. The skiing was slow and there was almost no need to turn. After Steve dropped through the trees, we skied down east. Even heading in a straight line, we eventually stopped in the middle of the slope. We scraped our way across to a cat track, and converted to skinning again.

We then got to the top and tried to ski a steeper slope which we hoped would offer us enough speed for the runs down. The steeper slope did offer more speed, but the low light visibility did not allow us to see the slope well, and made us keep our speed under control. After a run down to the cat track, we skinned up again and decided on another aspect of the same slope thinking it may be faster. We ran down that slope a little better, and then took a cat track out, as it was the only way we would be able to maintain speed on the lower angle slope.

The skiing today was vastly different from Saturday's skiing. Possibly due to the lower elevation (3000-4000') but more likely due the the snow that had been falling since Saturday. The snow was deep and slow. The skiing was interesting, but not too enjoyable. Steve and I got some exercise, then left for home.

A few pics are here.

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