Snoqualmie Mt., November 25, 2006
I was still in daze, both psychologically and metabolically, from preparing and consuming Thanksgiving dinner with the family, when Tim Petrick called wanting to tour. He was planning on dropping his kids off at Summit West to ride the park, then would head over to Alpental to meet up.
There was a small hitch - Alpental was still closed, and the patrol was planning on throwing some bombs on Saturday (they hadn't been able to do it on Friday due to a preponderance of "hikers" within area boundaries). Patrol boss "Gib" Gibson put out a plea on Turns-All-Year.com for backcountry skiers and riders to please stay out of the area so they could work.
Tim and I conferred and juggled the possibilities before deciding on not moving the cars and heading up right across the street, climber's left of the Phantom slide path. Tim had a little "damper" put on his spirits from the start, as he submerged his boots on the stream crossing and filled one with Alpy ice water. We paused to drain the boot, and headed up on a well-set skin track into the woods. At this point, the light snow which had been falling all morning gave way to partial blue-bird skies, and the forest looked beautiful with the fresh snow.
Making good time on the uphill, we came up on TAY regulars MW88888888 and RonL with their friend Nick, and chatted for a bit. They had dug a pit and found the snowpack, while deep, to be quite stable on the S/SW aspect, and had taken one run already mid-Phantom.
Tim and I continued up to approximately 5,820 ft., where our 1:00 PM ascending deadline (in order to pick up his kids at 2:00) passed. We looked out at the bowl full o' powder and sunshine, and decided to work it.
It's hard not to appreciate 2 to 3 feet of medium-density powder over a firm base, no rocks, sunny skies and good turns on Thanksgiving weekend. Say a little prayer that it continues!