Posted by: magmatist | February 2, 2016

Anybody home?

P1010760 mark

Are we having fun yet?

Hey friends. There is snow in the Baker-area foothills. Any body been skiing? Any reports on where to go, where NOT to go?

Posted by: magmatist | April 17, 2014

Skiers needed for Ski-to-Sea “Car Free” division.

Kulshan Cycles 'Slugs' team leaves Bellingham to set up race legs.

Kulshan Cycles ‘Slugs’ team leaves Bellingham to set up race legs.

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 ) need a downhill skier or snowboarder.

WeRideBikes (Lily Lewison: lily.lewison at ) 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.



Posted by: magmatist | February 24, 2014

Conditions reports

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?



Posted by: magmatist | February 23, 2014

Who is skiing today?

Looks great! We have 4 inches at 150′ on Bellingham’s South Hill. Snow is heavy and sticky, but plan to get out in a bit, maybe up at Padden.



Posted by: magmatist | February 11, 2014

Toboggan Pass, February 9, 2014

Google Earth image. Canyon Lake and western route to Toboggan Peak. Bjorn's Trail (yellow) is approximately located. Click to enlarge any image.

Google Earth image. Canyon Lake and western route to Toboggan Peak. Bjorn’s Trail (yellow) is approximately located. Click to enlarge any image.

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)

At the gate, 1100'. Simon, Robin, Hannah, Teggart, Bear and Hannah

At the gate, 1100′. Simon, Robin, Hannah, Teggart. Hey, where are the dogs?

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)

Looking down to Canyon Lake. Teggart and Hannah are just visible on thier bikes at lower left.

Looking down to Canyon Lake. Teggart, Hannah and Harvey the dog are just visible on their bikes at lower left.

Canyon Lake to Toboggan Peak. The peak is at center on the extreme right margin.

Canyon Lake to Toboggan Peak. The peak is at center on the extreme right margin.

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.

Simon and Robin at the hairpin on Bjorn's. Are we still having fun?

Simon and Robin at the hairpin on Bjorn’s. Are we still having fun?

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.

Simon skiis through the boulders on Bjorn's.

Simon skis through the boulders on Bjorn’s.

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.

Nirvan at the Toboggan Lakelet.

Nirvana at the Toboggan Lakelet.

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.

Posted by: magmatist | February 11, 2014

Yes, there is good skiing in them thar hills!


Tobaggan, Feb. 9, 2014

Toboggan, Feb. 9, 2014. Yummy!

Stay tuned for a report from a thrilling Sunday ski trip to Toboggan Pass via Canyon Lake Road. Coming up this evening.


Posted by: magmatist | February 7, 2014

Snow report request

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

Posted by: magmatist | September 29, 2013

Here comes winter!!!!

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: 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.

See you!

Dave Tucker

Posted by: magmatist | May 8, 2013

Farewell for the summer

I and mine have already been swimming in the bay near the Taylor Street promenade.

2013- I and mine have already been swimming in the Bay by the Taylor Street promenade.

2013- Trillia on the Hemlock Trail.

2013- Trillia on the Hemlock Trail.

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.

Dave Tucker

Posted by: magmatist | February 26, 2013

New photos added to Canyon Creek report

Not your run-o'-the-mill ski trip.

Not your run-o’-the-mill ski trip.

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.

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