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June 10, 2010:

The Spring That Thought It Was Winter

Remember a couple of months ago when we were worried about the paucity of the snowpack, thinking about water rationing during the summer, and dreading those long muddy treks in to find snow?

Funny how the weather has a mind of its own, and changes it constantly! It kept right on snowing through the month of May, which had some of the best skiing of the season (along with November) and plenty of good powder days. Now that it's June, it continues to snow above about 6,000 feet, with freshies for skiers and unfortunately avalanches as well. The last buried climber from last week's avy on the Ingraham Glacier on Mt. Rainier has yet to be found, and NWAC has been sending almost daily stability warnings to subscribers via e-mail - rare for this time of year.

This week's trip to Chinook Pass with Kevin was a nice one; we hit the single sunny weather window for the week on Tuesday morning, and found Joe Dahlem gearing up at the top of the pass. Joe was kind enough to show us his regular "backyard" tour around Naches Peak, and we got in three good laps of skiing in the bowl behind the peak with conditions that ranged from mush to perfect corn.

Joe Dahlem skins around the NE face of Naches Peak. Check out the crown and debris pile from a few days earlier!

Snow depth near the summit of Chinook Pass was around 9 to 10 feet. Trickiest part was downclimbing to the road!   Kevin Curd photo

Then there's the bike races. I've been spending quite a few weekends standing in drizzle or outright rain watching my son Jordan race - first Enumclaw, then Ballard, then Boat Street (Brad Lewis). It actually stayed dry for the Ballard and Boat Street Category 3 races, Jordan stayed up, and I just got a little wet on the ride home. Jordan is getting the hang of working for a team with his new outfit, Hagens Berman - they actually seemed to have a strategy at Boat Street and sent him off the front with 8 laps to go, then another Hagens guy attacked with about 5 laps to go. The other teams had to work to chase back, and with one lap to go the Hagens Berman team leader, J.D. Fette, rode away for the win. Fun to watch the racing and catch up with some old friends who are still doing it, as well as watch the offspring improve.

Jordan off the front in corner #4 with 7 to go, Brad Lewis Memorial Criterium.    Katie Houck photo

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May, 2010

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China: Wandering in the Middle Kingdom

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"Incoming" covers developments that have personal interest to me (ie. gear I might consider acquiring, or events I feel may impact the sport of skiing) - it is by no means meant to be a comprehensive enumeration of gear or events in the ski world at large. Feel free to contact me via the link below with news or images that may be of interest . . .

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