Hey friends. There is snow in the Baker-area foothills. Any body been skiing? Any reports on where to go, where NOT to go?
Attention adventurous skiers: Are you interested in racing in Ski to Sea? There is a new division called “Car Free”. Teams in this division travel to and from all the race legs without motor vehicles. Two teams that are still looking for skiers:
The Jedi Ponies (Alex Brede: bredefamilia at gmail.com ) need a downhill skier or snowboarder.
WeRideBikes (Lily Lewison: lily.lewison at gmail.com ) need a cross-country skier.
Racing car free is always a really fun way to enjoy a weekend; most teams typically ride bikes out to Silver Fir campground on Friday and/or Saturday. As skiers you would be riding your gear up to the ski area either on Saturday (and staying at the Mountaineers’ Lodge) or Sunday before the race. There are few things more satisfying than riding around with skis on your bike!
Here’s a web site that explains how one team did it.
AM, Feb 24. South Hill, Fairhaven. Dave Tucker reports:
Drizzling. 8 inches of snow are compacting. Still plenty of snow but slushy. Roads are wet, puddles forming.
AM, Feb 24. Simon Graves reports:
“Oh man, I had so much fun last night [Sunday, Feb 23]. I skied around town, playing in Broadway Park in sticky snow, but after sundown it started to freeze up so instead of returning home for dinner and projects, Keith and I skied out the Old Whatcom Railway, up to the Alabama bridge. So fast and fun!What had been slush turned into nice fast slurry. Didn’t see any other skis out there, but saw a guy in boots trying to keep two large huskies on leashes at his speed; I wished he’d had skis or that I thought to borrow the dogs. Seems like groomers couldn’t have been faster. I sure hope Dominic hit it.”
PM, Feb 23. Doug McKeever reported he skied the Stewart Mountain Road above Lake Whatcom. He said conditions were good. 12″ of snow on the ground at his home between Bellingham and Everson. Alas, a boot sole delaminated and he had “an interesting time coming back down the trail”. Can anyone recommend a shoe repair shop to fix-it?
Here’s the first report of XC fun this winter in the Chuckanut foothills. Conditions have been off and on. As this report makes clear, there is some good road and trail skiing if you can get to the snow. This report was written by Simon Graves, the photos are by Dominic Battistella. There are a few wistful comments by the jealous blog administrator.
On Sunday, Dominic and I (Simon Graves) successfully summitted Toboggan Peak with an approach from Canyon Lake Road. (Directions to the start of human-powered travel at the gate are given in this older post. DT)
We started at the high gate (1200′) at 11:30 with a party of seven: Myself, Dominic, Robin, Teggart, Hannah, Bear, and Harvey. We packed skis and gear on our bikes and rode 3.33 miles to the last junction before the Lake . At this junction (2300′) there was thin, just-skiable snow.
Bear, Hannah and Teggart continued another half mile to the lake from there, where they reportedly skied across the lake. Haven’t spoken to them yet about conditions. (Could one of you let us know what it was like there,and if you went much beyond the lake? DT)
Robin, Harvey, Dominic and I went up the hill (left) at that junction, then took the first right and then the first left. This dead-ends at a landing 3100′, 1.1 miles from the Canyon Lake Road, 4.4 miles from the gate. Definitely ski-able there. The topography is in the figure at left.
Bjorn’s jeep trail, which was cleared by anonymous jeepers this summer, climbs from that point all the way up to the junction near the lakelet. We skied the whole way, on increasingly favorable snow. There is a great boulder field there that is ripe for summer exploration. The trail crosses it once, goes through a young alder carwash* switchback, and then crosses it again.
Robin and Harvey, yielding to the pressures of academia, turned back at 3:30 at the top of the boulder field (4200′), picking their way straight down the boulders (plenty of snow for that; it would be much slower in summer) and returning to their car at 5:15.
Dominic and I continued, met up with the road below Toboggan Peak, and skied past the lakelet to the Pass, arriving at 4:30. The snow was dreamy up there, so thick and soft. I don’t have a good vocabulary for snow, but it made tele turns like floating on clouds. I was nearing the limits of my sandwich at that point; we could have enjoyed ourselves all night!
Up to the summit (4800′) to find the repeater tower removed, enjoyed the fleeting view, and headed down around 5:30. Such a brilliant descent to the boulder field, stopping for a ski across the lakelet.
We followed Robin’s tracks down the boulder field and skied most of Bjorn’s trail until things got thin and too fast for the tight woods there. Back to the car at 9:15.
So what everyone says about bad conditions is a compete lie. It’s dreamy up there!
Comment from Dominic: “There were about 8″ of powder at the top of the ridge”.
*carwash: according to Simon this is a description for “when a road is starting to overgrow with young alder, thin enough to ski through, but thick enough to slap you as you pass”. We probably all know what this is like.
DT adds: Here is the NOAA forecast for Canyon Lake. Some good, some not-so-good.
Well, the winter has been something of a bust, eh? Snow this AM in Bellingwash, but just a bare sprinkling here on the southside. Has anyone been up any roads/trails in Racehorse/Slide Mountain/Middle Fork areas? I’ve been lying low due to recover from my knee surgery, so don’t even know where snow might start covering roads enough to allow skiing. Even a negative report would useful- “…went to X and we didn’t find enough snow to ski on until XXXX feet”; or “there ain’t squat nowhere”.
Oh, by the way, I’ll continue running this blog. Certainly not much of a burden this winter! However, if anyone gets a wild hair and wants to consider administration next winter, drop me a note via comment or email.
tuckerd at openaccess dot org
Chuckanut Skiers! Just a note from Dave. I hope everyone had a fabulous summer. It is over. Done, caput, finito. It is not quite time to dust off the skis, but you might try to remember where you put them after last winter at least.
To get you psyched up, here’s the long-term forecast from that paragon of wisdom, the Old Farmer’s Almanac:
“Annual Weather Summary: November 2013 to October 2014, Pacific Northwest
Winter will be much snowier than normal, with frequent snows from mid-December through the first three weeks of January. Rainfall will be near normal, with temperatures below normal, on average, in the north and above in the south. The coldest periods will occur in mid- to late December, early to mid-January, and mid- to late January.”
For a long-term forecast based on past trends and actual climate models, try this summary from National Weather Service: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/90day/fxus05.html. Doesn’t sound quite so great as the OF Almanac, but the science of long term forecasts is fraught with uncertainty.
So, Chuckanut skiers, we’ll see what nature has in store for us. If you have met new recruits to our gang of diehards, please ask them to subscribe to this blog and to keep us posted on their ski adventures when the time comes.
If you haven’t been willing to let it go- winter is done, summer is here. No mo’ snow in the Chuckanut highlands (Go ahead, prove me wrong! I’d love it!) I’ll sign off this blog until the snow flies next winter. Have a great summer, everyone. Don’t get heat stroke. Do something good for the earth and each other.
Simon sent some new photos for yesterday’ s Canyon Creek road trip report. They show the bicycle-in-the-snow approach (with trailers) he and dominic made plus a couple of skiing pictures. Click here to go to yesterday’s post.