Ski Washington Challenge - David's Diary

Blog documenting my progress on the Ski Washington Challenge

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Stevens Pass

It turned out to be a beautiful day at Stevens Pass today, partially overcast, but with excellent visibility. There was a nice dusting of fresh snow overnight, and all the lifts were running today, so I made a break for the backside to explore the runs that were off-limits on my last visit.

The backside of the ridge at Stevens provides a great sustained pitch, and has huge potential on powder days. There were still many choice lines to be turned, but there was also a fair amount of crusty/icy snow, which made for a less-than-perfect day off piste. Nevertheless, I made a number of laps on the backside, exploring the trees and hunting for powder stashes.

Once I was warmed up, I decided to check out some of the "Double Diamond" territory on the front side of the ridge. Signs clearly indicate that this is expert terrain, with unmarked cliffs and other obstacles - consider yourself warned. The terrain is extremely steep, and heavily forested, but there were plenty of small clearings and powder shots in the trees, so I did a few laps here as well. I would advise anyone exploring this area for the first time to proceed very slowly, or take a local as a guide.

There were fresh tracks to be had in the Double Diamond area all afternoon, and no crowds, but eventually I had the urge to see how the front side was doing, and made my way down to the base area for some less extreme riding. The grooming was very good, and even late into the afternoon I found untracked corduroy along the edges of the trails.

Finally my legs started to remind me of the time, and I packed it in so I could make the drive back to Portland before the Seattle-bound crowd made the road too slow. The drive into town went quite smoothly, so I stopped to post my blog from the Trabant Chai Lounge in the University district. This has become my regular blog and coffee stop since I learned last season that it was founded by a high school classmate - and it has been repeatedly voted the best coffee shop in Seattle, too.

The Ski Area list is growing shorter week by week, and I foresee only two more weekends before I complete my planned itinerary for Washington. Stay tuned for updates as I wrap up another Ski Challenge for 2008.


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