Alpental, The Summit at Snoqualmie
12 January 2002
The 2001-2002 ski season started out pretty well for the state of Washington. Pretty early on the snow depths at the Summit were exceeding the totals of last year. However, the last 2-3 weeks have been disappointing. Not much precipitation (if any) and the slopes were beginning to look bare.
This all change with the latest storm to hit the Cascades. It started late Friday and as of 5:30 P.M. it had not stopped. Greg Prior and I had not made turns together since our trip to see J Spin and E in Montana in early December. I want to blame Greg but his work schedule has included Sundays for quite some time, making it difficult for him to utilize his Sunday through Friday Summit pass.
Greg and I remedied this situation by heading up Saturday afternoon. We made it to the Alpental parking lot at about 1:15 and were not too surprised to see a mass of cars. When we made it on the hill at 1:30 we were amazed to confront miniscule lift lines.
The precipitation was a very funky snow/hail/sleet mix and would pelt us mercilessly throughout our adventures. Nevertheless, we were encouraged by the improved visibility and headed up to the top. Our first run was down the old standby what I refer to as the ?Vermont Woods? as it seems that Greg and I are the only ones to ever go there.
There was a good bit of accumulation (10-12 inches) but there were ice sheets in spots. All in all, a good day to rip because of the new ?snow?. Our first few runs were relatively uneventful as I was doing the navigating (good lines though). On the lift rides Greg pointed out how the woods towards the bottom of the lift line (to the skier's left) looked promising so to the woods we headed. We were able to find some fresh lines by heading close to the cliff line.
For those of you who have had the pleasure of skiing with Greg you know that, invariably, you will be rewarded with a spectacular fall and/or jump. I was not disappointed. On the way over to the lower woods you must head into a mini bowl and then back out. Because there are not any trees visibility can be tricky. Anywho, Greg somehow lost a ski near the uphill and slammed into a snow bank. I did not personally witness the accident but was alerted to it by the clapping of those on the chair. The best part of the fall was the indentation left by Greg's body. Apparently, he went in melon and shoulder first so it is fortunate that he survived (ha!).
That was fun and all but the real fun began on the next run down Six Shot. I had never been over to this particular chute that hugs the Alpental cliffs. It is a fairly steep chute and is great for utilizing the Vermont jump turn. My first run down wasn?t so smooth as I was adjusting to the ?river? of snow caused by our action. The second run (and last of the day) down Six Shot was great. Greg made the comment at the top of the run of ?now, we?re going to jump turn down this chute in perfect unison?, which inspired me and I was able to rip off some of my turns of the season.
Although it was a short day it was pretty sweet. The snow wasn?t ideal but good enough get some confidence. It was fun catching a little air, making jump turns in the steeps and hanging out with Greg.
As it is still snowing, I plan on hitting Hyak in the morning. Hyak is the farthest eastern Summit location and has a ?Mad River? laid back quality. I have been going there more often since Konnie has begun to cross country ski. Hyak is amazingly crowd free and has great terrain.