Sunday, January 23, 2011

Late December Riding

I apologize for not keeping the blog updated in the past month or so. Between the holidays, weekend trips, work, and life in general, I've been pretty busy. I'm hoping to get all my trip reports posted by the time I leave for my Colorado trip at the end of the week, so stay tuned!

The weekend between my Whistler trip and Christmas, I found myself up at Stevens Pass for the first time this season.  I spent the first day (Saturday) with GS riding a new addition to my snowboard quiver, a Ride Highlife (first look review coming shortly).  Conditions were extremely variable; from icy moguls to sweet tree-hidden powder stashes.  Despite still being pretty worn down from the previous weekend at Whistler, GS and I rode hard enough to completely wreck ourselves by the end of the day.  My best wreck of the day will probably live on in infamy.  On one of the last few runs of the day, GS and I were lapping Parachute 1 and Parachute 2 underneath Hogsback, hitting a few of the hidden powder pockets.  Heading down Parachute 1, I found a nice little stash at the top of a steep drop in and hit it at full speed.  As I kicked off the fluffy powder on the top of the drop in, I yelled “POWDER DROP!”  It was far from a powder drop.  I landed in pure ice on a nice steep slope, washing out and landing on my ass as I skidded 20 yards down.  All the while, GS is laughing his ass off at the top of the drop in.  My “POWDER DROP” phrase has now become the battle cry for the majority of my crew.  Thanks guys.

I followed up my first day at Stevens with a solid night boarding session the following night with a couple buddies.  Despite being a few days removed from the last good snowfall, we still managed to get some great turns in.  We were able to traverse to some of the lower 7th Heaven terrain off both Hogsback and Skyline that rewarded us with some great powder turns.  With the nice stashes in the trees and the soft, fast groomers, it was a great chill night just lapping the mountain.

The following Thursday, I kicked off my Christmas break with another night session up at Stevens Pass.  With still no new snow, it was mostly a groomer-lapping night, with a few tree runs here and there.  Add a great dinner with drinks and you’ve got a really fun night chilling on the mountain.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The snow returned the Monday after Christmas, dumping a reported 12” of new freshies at Mount Baker.  With a lot of my ski buddies either out of town or working, I headed up for my first solo ride of the year.  I love sharing my time on the mountain with my good friends, but there’s something quite therapeutic about riding solo.  I tend to forget about everything else and just concentrate on my riding.  It’s a great feeling and I always end up feeling refreshed after a good solo session.

After my first run down Chair 8, the 12” of fresh stated on Mount Baker’s website seemed to be an understatement.  I was finding knee deep areas of soft powder just about anywhere off piste.  After a few laps through Chair 8, I headed over towards Pan Dome.  Big mistake.  The wait times on Chairs 5 and 6 were close to 20-30 minutes.  With this amount of volume, the terrain was completely tracked out already.  I took a quick lunch to regroup and headed back over to Chair 8, where surprisingly there was still no lift line at all.  Although the area was pretty tracked out by this point as well, I was able to keep myself occupied by exploring the trees through Chair 8 and found some fun spots.  By 2 o’clock, I was parked next to the firepit next to the lodge with a beer in hand.  Despite the ridiculous crowds, the powder was great and I was able to log another day on the newly acquired Highlife.

With two big snowboarding trips on the horizon (Schweitzer for New Years, and Mount Bachelor the following weekend) it was great to log a couple day trips to the local mountains while I recovered from the epic Whistler adventure.  Stay tuned for trip reports from both Schweitzer and Bachelor!

GS sporting a snow packed helmet after an epic POWDER DROP!
Nice pow pockets for night boarding at Stevens.
This is what happens when you do shots at dinner and keep skiing.
Nothing better than ending a solo day at Baker by sitting by the fire with a good beer!

1 comment:

  1. Any chance of a full review of the highlife?
    I am thinking of buying one
    have you been able to ride switch with it?
    I am particulalry curious as to how it rides switch in pow and how it rides in pow generally with a centered stance
    thanks Max