A big ol storm came through on Friday night and stayed through Saturday night. The rain and wind on Saturday night were pretty intense in North Bend. It was pretty warm in the valley (mid-40s) but I still had hope for the mountains. As it turns out the Summit received snow Friday night and Saturday morning, rain Saturday afternoon and more snow Saturday night. Upon my arrival Sunday morning it was snowing lightly and the temperature was around freezing.
I was one of the first in line for the Pacific Crest Quad at 8:45. Once the chair opened only about 50-60 people were in line a far cry from the mass the prior Sunday. Reports said that the Summit received 8 inches over night and that seemed about right but it was Cascade Cement sticky, heavy, cruddy. My first run down Big Bill wasnt bad. I was able to float over the Cement a bit but without much effort was hauling. On my next ride up I was talking to a guy who was riding some fatties (widest skis I had ever seen) and he said that they felt good on the Cement.
After a few runs I went over to the "woods" and the 360 degree bowl as the main run was getting tracked up and the Cement made it difficult to turn. I found the snow to be much better in the "woods". Actually, having a little stick was nice through the firs and bumps. Coverage was good, but not great, as I consistently found ice from Saturdays rain and roots. I probably could have spent the day over there having some fun if it were not for two things: 1) my legs were lead for whatever reason and 2) although the crowds werent "too" bad the Pacific Crest Quad would stop about 3-5 times each ride. They didnt open the Dodge Ridge Chair until 10:30 which didnt help matters. They did, however, open Thunderbird but it operated sporadically and the line for that was crazy.
I had come up thinking that I would crossover to Summit Central but found out from a Ski Patrol that the Crossover was still rocky so they werent going to open it. Which turned out to be good for me as they were only running the triple at Central and the lines were out of control.
I had one chair ride with a guy who has been skiing at the Summit for years and was able to pick up some information from the old timer. He apparently has a chalet (I didnt ask him if it was Swiss) at Alpental and said that Alpental should be open. He hiked it last week and said that they were good to go. This was his theory: The Summit had already made the operating budget for the entire year in seasons passes (so he had heard) so they were in no hurry to open anything up. He pointed to the fact that at 10:30 (the time I rode with him) that they had only 2 lifts running at Summit West. This conflicts with the Ski Report e-mail I received from the Summit on Sunday.
"Summit Central opened today and will be open on Sunday as well. The only
word on Alpental is that we still need another 2' to 3'of snow before we can
open over there. Alpental requires a 60" compacted base and is typically
the last area to open in Washington. So keep thinking snow."
So it is my thinking that Alpental wont be open until 2001. Konnie and I are headed to Whitefish, Montana on Friday to meet up with my sister and her husband. We hope to get a day in at Big Mountain. I will give a report. Happy Holidays!!
View of Summit West from Lodge. Thunderbird chair runs up the hill to the left, in the middle is the Dodge Ridge chair, and you can see the bottom of the Pacific Crest Quad.