Yodelin, January 1, 2008
Kam was in town for a few days and felt a need for mountains and snow.
We loaded up Kelvin's car early on the first day of the new year, and the three " pengyou " rode again. After pulling into several grocery store lots in Monroe and chatting with Silas' crew, we met up with Justin and Mike at the sign of the Green Mermaid and caffeined up, then continued east on US 2. About halfway to Stevens Pass, a good sized tree came down on Mike's pickup, striking a glancing blow to his camper shell and causing the traffic behind him to come to a screeching halt - fortunately, no one was hurt.
We rolled into the Yodelin lot and quickly found that the forecasted 5,500 ft. freezing levels were something of a fiction; everyone bundled into puffy coats and pretty much kept them on throughout the day. With a little exploration, we found the skintrack from the day before and headed for the ridge. Kona the dog kept having "boot" issues - that is to say, she continuously walked out of them while postholing up the trail, leaving Kelvin to find and reapply them. This turned into something of a day's work, but Kona was good-natured about it.
The wind had scoured certain open areas and our plan was to stick to the trees seeking relatively soft and stable snow. A pit revealed good stability under tap tests but a moderately clean shear at about 2 1/2 feet. Since the front (north-facing) side had been worked pretty heavily the day previous, we decided to ski the other side which leads toward the Steven's Pass XC trails, and lapped it twice with satisfaction. In between run 1 and 2, Ari, Yak-Nam and Jeremy showed up and joined us.
After lunch, we took a run and a half on the north side, which offered slightly wider spacing between the trees and seemingly fewer tree bombs. The mid-weight powder and a group of great skiers made the day that much more enjoyable, and gave Kam another set of memories to take back to Sweet Home Virginia for 2008. When it was all over, we were, if not exactly yodelin', singing the praises of this little tour for those heightened avy danger days.
It was all good until the drive home, when we got stuck in a line of idling cars between Skykomish and Sultan. Maybe every hundredth car decided to stop for no reason at the single stop light in Sultan (or something), as the line of traffic suddenly dissipated as soon as we passed through town. Kam made good use of his time by posting a trip report with his phone on Turns-All-Year.com - Silas did the same from his car.