Sunday, January 14, 2007

Blower in Washington

On Saturday, Andrea and I headed back to Heather (Skyline) Ridge. Seattle has been in the midst of a cold snap for the last five or six days - temperatures in the 20s and snow actually staying on the ground. Freaky, yes, but it also means that temperatures in the mountains have been even colder - most ski areas have been reporting low single digits every morning. With all the cold comes a more stable snowpack - relief from the mad sketchy weirdness we have had the last couple of weeks. And with a few new inches on top of an already stabilizing base - things were looking to get good. And good they were. Upon arrival, we found 5 inches of fresh blower (snow so light you can blow it off your hands) and clear blue skies.
We climbed the ridge past Skyline Lake and bootpacked the final few hundred vertical feet to sit atop one of the high points on the ridgeline.
With a commanding view of untracked snow in all directions, we picked our lines through stands of enormous Sitka Spruce and Silver Fir, and skied untracked knee deep blower all day. The deep timber stands in Washington provide some of the most epic tree skiing I have ever seen.
The clouds started to roll in on our last climb up but we were able to steal some good visibility through the trees on our penultimate and steepest run of the day. With a good "warm-up" in the legs, and still enough energy to jam, we let the skis run. All in all, we logged 5240 feet of vertical, almost a full vertical mile. We were soaked in fatigue by the time we reached the car (Emerson was strangely energetic as he always is) but wow, what a day.
Here is a video of me and Emerson on the second to last run - shot by Andrea "I will never be a camera person for Warren Miller" Ostrovsky:


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