Westside Snow Report 2-8-17

We are back in a snow cycle!

By Greg Whittaker

The groundhog was right, we are back into a winter snow cycle. The groundhog in this case is my father, Darrell, who did in fact see his shadow on February 2nd, its as good as a litmus test as anything.

This last storm cycle was much needed, giving powder to the people. So many face shots were had that it was ridiculous. We personally went up to Alpental Saturday afternoon, and after waiting for the highway to re-open for avalanche control, we finally made it to the camping lot, and immediately got our van stuck. The mountain friends came to our rescue and helped us get unstuck, which was pretty much the theme of the weekend.

Sunday we woke to 24 inches of fresh coverage at Alpental, with a wicked ice layer that hadn't quite settled out, so the patrol spent most the morning blasting the chutes above Chair 1 so it was safe to open. After an hour delay, Chair 1 opened and shortly thereafter Chair 2 opened giving access to the entire in bound area. It was as deep as a day as we have seen and continued to get better as the snow fell all day. We ended up stranded in the RV Lot as the plow operators had just pulled a 36 hour shift and needed to sleep. So we woke up at the pass Monday morning and had gambled correctly that the real world was cancelled (snow day in Seattle). Kids in tow, we headed over to Silver Fir lift at Central Summit and were a part of about 150 people who ended up stranded on the pass until 2 pm. It was the first time I had been stranded so we proceeded to ride the 5 feet of fresh snow that had fallen since Friday PM, and it was good.

The ice layer has weakened as the snow layers are fusing, but keep an eye out if you are headed in the backcountry and make sure check the Northwest Avalanche Center before you head out to tour as the avalanche danger is still considerable. Deep snow safety needs to also be on your mind so ski with a buddy and keep an eye on each other especially around tree wells.

Reports up at Baker is that, they are trying to open in time for the Legendary Banked Slalom which is scheduled for this weekend. Mt Baker ski area is reporting a 200 inch base at the top of Pan Dome.

Mountain to Sound Outfitters Tech, David Levin, was at Crystal yesterday and reports, "Snow was pretty awesome yesterday. The storm cycle over the weekend refreshed everything!! Traverses are rock free. Snow is definitely a little heavy on the bottom but the top layer is nice and fluffy. South back opened up late yesterday for the first time since the store cycle. Northway has been open since 2 days ago... ski of choice yesterday was the Blizzard Cochise or the Atomic Bent Chetlers."

The Stevens Pass faithful have also had a great snow cycle and are coming in completely stoked with powder day after powder day. In fact any skiers in the West are pretty much glad for a return to winter.

Here is whats happening at all the local resorts:

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Make sure you check the WSDOT Pass Reports for driving conditions.

Greg Whittaker is the owner of Mountain to Sound Outfitters your West Seattle ski, snowboard, kayak, and paddle board experts that can also rack out your car so you can carry all that gear that wont fit in your trunk.

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