Alpental @ the Summit at Snoqualmie
18 February 2001
"A Day of Firsts..."
Upon returning from Texas on Friday I was amazed to learn that Seattle and the
surrounding areas where hit with a snow storm (Winter Storm 2001 as they were
calling it on the news programs) Thursday night. Accumulations varied from a
dusting in North Bend to nearly a foot in Duvall (approximately 15 miles away).
State Patrol reported 105 accidents on Friday. I believe that would make
Seattle area drivers the worst in the country. Chumps.
One can imagine how this revelation made my heart race in anticipation of what
the mountains received. Although not what I hoped, the Summit reported 16-20
inches between Thursday night and Sunday morning. When I arrived at Alpental at
8:15 it was still snowing pretty nicely (not the usual Cascade Cement either).
Unfortunately, I had to wait 15 minutes before they allowed us on the lift.
Because there was hardly a soul in line, I made a nice warm-up run in about 3-4"
inches of fresh over groomed down Debbie's Gold. I'm not as good as J Spin when
it comes to guessing water content but I will say this: think about the lightest
pow you have ever skied then think about the heaviest Washington crud and divide
Next, I headed over to Dom (a.k.a. the Electric Tree Trail). I couldn't believe
I was the first one of the day to traverse over; especially since Chair #2 was
not open yet. Heck, I didn't see anyone over there! So, I gleefully made my
second run of first tracks of the day. To further compound my amazement, I was
actually skiing well. OK, OK - not Bennett well, but I was rippin' it up baby!
On my next ride up I discovered that they had just opened Chair #2 so I figured
I would grab first tracks in the Edelweiss Bowl. In fact, I did! I followed
the Bowl down the skier's left and then traversed over to my usual haunt in the
woods and grabbed first tracks over there as well!
I took two more runs on Chair #2 (all the while still finding fresh tracks) and
then headed down through the Electric Tree Trail (my tracks were still the only
ones there!) to meet up with Scott and Camille at 9:45. They called me on the
cell at 9:45 to let me know that they were at West picking up tickets and that
Camille had lost her driver's license. Bummer. So I took two more runs on the
Electric Tree Trail - it had finally begun to show other tracks on the lower
part, but I had fresh lines at the top both times.
I met up with Scott and Camille at 10:30 and was surprised to see Scott on
downhill skis, not teles (a little foreshadowing here). We rode all the way to
the top thinking that we would try to go in the backcountry. However, the upper
backcountry was closed for avalanche work so we decided to take International
and Lower International. The entrance was as sketchy as usual with an exposed
rock to add to the degree of difficulty. We had a nice run finding jumps and
even pulled some "Freaky Stuff" a la Bennett on Lower International.
We headed up to the top again figuring we traverse over to the skier's right of
the Edelweiss Bowl. During the traverse, Scott had a bit of a spill and his
binding broke! D'oh! As I sold him the skis I told him "Buyer beware". Ha!
Normally, you would expect someone to become deflated by this happening.
However, as usual, Scott took this opportunity to shine. For those of you who
are as lucky as I am to know him this should come as no surprise. Scott not
only handled it with grace, he took it as a challenged and was laughing! At one
point he commented, "I'm skiing better now than I was before!". The highlight
of the trip down was getting Scott on the Armstrong Quad. Camille and I skied
under the lift as far as we could to keep up with him. He said that it was neat
to watch us ski from that perspective.
After that, I headed out while Scott and Camille grabbed their teles (Camille
was having binding troubles as well). All in all, a great day. Good snow,