November 27, 2006:
This picture, taken by my friend Tim Petrick on Snoqualmie Mountain, graces the cover of the Telemarktips site today . . . the backcountry equivalent of having your mug on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine for a rocker, I guess. The skiing was as good as it looked, and it was fun going out with Tim, a longtime big mountain ripper who's keen to make the transition to randonnée.
November 9, 2006:
Just when we thought we were getting a normal start to the ski season, this happens. The most significant "Pineapple Express" event in perhaps 40 or 50 years has pummelled the Northwest for the past week or so, not only melting what snow we had, but dumping unprecedented amounts of rain over our region. Amar Andalkar added the six-day rainfall totals at June Lake on the south side of Mt. St. Helens and got an astounding total of 37 inches!
With the rain, of course, came the flooding. Rainier seems to have taken a heavy hit, with the main road into the park washed out for approximately 1/4 mile and the Sunshine Point Campground relocated to Puget Sound. Mike Gauthier has some interesting photos on his blog. In addition, washouts of Highway 123, the Stevens Canyon road, and SR 410 make access to Rainier questionable for the immediate future.
Elsewhere in the NW, weather-induced slides/closures/partial closures of SR 542 (Mt. Baker), SR 20 (North Cascades Highway, 7 miles west of Mazama), Highway 2 (Stevens Pass, 1 lane blocked), Oregon Highway 35 to Mt. Hood Meadows, and the Mountain Loop Highway are perhaps just the tip of the iceberg.
How about a nice muddy hike along the I-90 corridor this weekend?
For the latest in road closures around the state, check out the DOT site before you go.
This just in from the NWAC:
I look all around me and know that it's fall,
But I'm not yet concerned there's no snow at all. (hardly any)
Whatever the weather, El Niño or not,
Don't fret just yet about the cool gear you bought.
For blocking ridges and split flows may not last,
And the winter ahead could still be a blast.
For we have had deep powder during El Niños you know,
And all have marveled at the depth of the snow.
But this isn't my forecast for winter to be,
As it could make me enemies for eternity.
It's a plea to relax, be patient and wait,
For soon snow may cover the entire state.
It's just that El Niños skew the odds toward drier,
With temps slightly warmer but not in the fryer.
Odds are high that you'll find some good snow,
But you'll have to be crafty and stay in the know.
Hopefully you won't have to travel too far,
Or fly to a country that for a prez has a czar.
Know that there will be snow closer to home,
Just get ready to drive, hike and roam.
Thanks, Mark! Speaking of the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center, how often do you use their services? Once or twice a week? Every day in winter? Here's a suggestion: Help a perpetually underfunded but critically needed organization out, and send them a few bucks. Now's the time. Go to the Friends of the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center website and sign up. You can even pay by PayPal!
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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 randosaigai.com link below with news or images that may be of interest . . .
© 2006 Gregory C. Louie