May 4, 2010:
Late in the season? I was thinking so myself until I checked the DOT camera at Snoqualmie Pass last night and discovered a full scale snow storm in progress.
I got up to the the Alpental lot (actually everyone parked right next to the base of the Armstrong chair) around 10:10 AM, and joined about 10 or 12 skiers suiting and skinning up for some fun. There didn't seem to be anyone I knew, so I jumped in the skintrack solo and set a reasonable pace. I managed to put some distance between myself and the three guys who had parked next to me and started about the same time, then caught a couple other skiers along the way. Up ahead I spotted a mustard-yellow windbreaker that somehow looked familiar and figured I'd soon see who it was, but I never was able to close the gap.
When I hit the top of Chair 2, I discovered Greg Ireton there, already with skins off and nearly ready to ski. We shared stories about how the telemetry fairly shouted out to us that today was too good an opportunity to miss before heading to work. Since we were first on top, we had our pick of descents, and International seemed logical. With a couple of weeks since Alpental had closed, the hill had "healed" itself and was smooth as can be; the 10-12" of fresh on top made for the best turns of the year on Upper 'Nash and Adrenaline. Nice way to start the day!
May 2, 2010:
Maybe the weather forecast had something to do with it. Maybe people were "out of town." Maybe self-powered skiing just isn't hip anymore . . .
Whatever the reason, the annual Turns-All-Year Crystal Fest, traditionally held a week or two after the official closing date of Crystal Mountain, was a rather sparsely attended affair this Sunday, with an even dozen people showing up at the Campbell Basin Lodge and another seven, according to my friend Eric, collecting at the Summit House. For the first time in my memory, no industrial-sized containers of brewed barley beverage made it to the top of the mountain, but no one seemed to mind.
The weather vacilated between sun with haze and chilly fog, and participants were hard pressed to decide between puffy coats and t-shirts. All in attendance were treated to some challenging slush-on-crust conditions on the way down, and some even enjoyed it.
Previous Incoming Pages:
China: Wandering in the Middle Kingdom
"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 randosaigai.com link below with news or images that may be of interest . . .
© 2010 Gregory C. Louie