Ski Washington Challenge - David's Diary

Blog documenting my progress on the Ski Washington Challenge

Monday, November 27, 2006

Stevens Pass

Stevens Pass Lift Ticket
The final stop on my Thanksgiving weekend was Stevens Pass. I started out Sunday morning from Wenatchee after a hearty breakfast of french toast and bacon, with the whole staff of the Red Lion cheering me on. There was fresh snow on the ground in Wenatchee, with more coming down, so I knew it would be a slow drive to the mountain. By the time I got to Leavenworth, it was clearly time to put on my chains, which I did at a convenient bus stop turnout. A few moments later, I was rumbling up highway 2 on my way to the pass. After a good twenty miles or more, the familiar thump of a broken chain interrupted the otherwise pleasant drive. I pulled over at the first safe shoulder to secure the loose ends so I could limp to a better spot for swapping out the broken chain. Thankfully I was carrying a spare chain, so I just pulled the broken one off, and replaced it. It's nice to be prepared.

The rest of the drive was uneventful, and I pulled into the parking lot just a few minutes after nine. Made my way to the ticket window, and decided to hit the fresh immediately - I didn't even stop to lace up my boots, just stuffed the laces inside, yanked on the velcro and strapped in. It was a great powder day at Stevens, and from what I gathered, Sunday was the best day they had all weekend. Lucky me! After the first run, I made a quick stop to grab a mocha and lace up my boots, and headed back to the powder. The express quads started to get a little busy, so after a few runs on that side, I moved up the hill to the Tye Mill triple lift for a few runs, and then switched over to Big Chief, a fixed double that had huge untouched powder chutes running down to the bottom.

I was getting some great exercise with all the deep powder, and decided to see what I could find on top - the lift called Seventh Heaven accesses the steepest terrain that was open - all double diamonds from the summit of Cowboy Mountain. The chutes were a bit rocky on the lift side of the hill, and required a climb, so I stayed on the Rock Garden side, enjoying Little Tree and Cloud Nine, where the snow was deep, and even though it was not untouched, the steepness of the runs kept most folks away, and left plenty of awesome dry powder to ride on (and through). I kept circulating around to all the lifts, even taking a run through the terrain park, before finally calling it a day around 3pm, and retiring to the lounge for a pulled pork sandwich and a brew - Stevens Pass Amber. Neat how the Washington resorts seem to have house brews.

The drive back was easy going down from the pass, and I had my chains off in just a few miles. The traffic was moving well all the way to Monroe, where the weather suddenly turned very nasty, with heavy, wet snow dumping all over the place. Highway 2 was a mess from Monroe to Everett, and Interstate 5 was moving at 15-20 mph due to the heavy snow on the road. I heard on the radio that a few miles north, chains were required on Interstate 5! Thankfully I was heading south, and by the time I hit Seattle, the snow had lightened up, and speeds were back to normal for the remainder of the drive to Portland. I was tired, and a little sore, but it was most certainly worth it. What a fantastic way to spend a long weekend!

Oh, yes, the obligatory photos:


At 7:08 PM, Blogger styrofoamtoo said...

Hey Dave...well you made it thru the weekend and you are halfway thru THE CHALLENGE!!! Stevens seems like a fine operation with plenty for everyone. Too bad about the traffic; it sure was a mess. Glad to hear they have pulled pork; you know how I love the pork!!! Rest well and rewax (hahaha) Love, The Big Katuna

At 12:51 PM, Blogger gus said...

Hey Dave,
I am somewhat new to the Seattle area and am looking to hit the slopes for the first time out here on Tuesday. I am excited, but a little concerned about the road conditions. I drive a modest 2003 FWD Toyota Matrix, which I have chains for. I am an experienced icy road driver, but not an icy mountain road driver. So my question are these:
-- Is Stevens Pass likely to accessible to me or should i plan on going to Snoqualmie?
-- If WSDOT is suggesting traction tires, should I expect to need my chains given my smallish car with all-season tires?
-- What sort of pull-offs are there for putting the f'n chains on while I am in-route?

...if you could email me at gusreiber[at], I would appreciate it.



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