Today Stephen and Johannes joined us for some turns at “Stowequalmie” as it seemed. Down at the base elevations (~1,500’), the temperature was a couple of degrees above freezing, and the precipitation was mixed rain and snow, but not too far up in elevation it was all snow falling. The uppermost elevations were in the clouds, so visibility was low up there, but those areas also had the driest snow. The middle elevations were sort of that sweet spot where visibility was up, and the snow was still nice. The lower ½ to ¼ of the mountain had great visibility, but the snow was fairly wet, so off piste skiing wasn’t quite as easy as it is with our more typical Vermont fluff. Some groomed areas on piste on the lower mountain had that wet pack snow that I’ve experienced on the lower elevations of Whistler Blackcomb.
In terms of the powder in the middle and upper elevations, it was fairly dense, and boy was it deep! As others have mentioned, there were feet of it. The snowpack up there also seemed a bit upside down however. I think some denser snow had fallen on top of some drier snow from Wednesday, so it created that phenomenon. Off piste, it reminded me very much of a trip E and I had to Schweitzer back in 2001, where four feet of Cascade Concrete had fallen on the mountain and many people simply found themselves drowning in it because it was so difficult to ski.
With our crew and the conditions, we didn’t spend much time off piste aside from playing in the snow off the edges of the trails, but we had a good time on the trials. Any issues of iciness or coverage were long buried, and it was great to see the mountain looking better as we approach March. Freddie’s Chute under the Sunny Spruce Quad is finally all covered, so we had a fun run down there. Ty really loved blasting the moguls on West Smuggler’s, since with the weather pattern we’d been in previously, it had probably been a couple of months since he’d skied moguls without at least some concern for hard snow or low coverage. Stephen spied all the untracked snow sitting in the meadows area and wanted to try a run there. He didn’t initially know why E decline the chance to check it out, but she know what the untracked snow would be like down at that elevation. I brought them over and we had a lot of fun, but I think they learned how difficult it can be to ski deep, wet snow.
As the afternoon wore on, the mix of precipitation at the base elevations changed over to mostly wet snow and picked up in intensity. We hung out for some après ski in the Great Room Grill and it was a bit tough to pull ourselves away as we watched the snow continue to fall. A few pictures from today are available below: