Craig's Report - January 29, 1999

Rain Roulette

The bones were tired and the spirit weak this morning, while the snow in the driveway provided little in the way of motivation. What had been ankle deep powder last night had shrunk to a wet paste half that depth that had my snowblower gagging. Still it seemed that Griz had avoided falling completely off of the wagon. The stuff falling was still masquerading as snow and up the mountain a ways, the trees were still promisingly white.

I stalled until late morning but was finally driven from my cozy keyboard by curiosity and the hopes that the morning's cannonade had led to some openings.

Picture 1
(I wonder why this is here? - Siberia Ridge)

Nothing more was open than yesterday though and while there were chairlift rumors that White Pass would open sometime today, it was most definitely not in operation when I cruised by it on Timber. Apparently forgetting my weary limbs I got the bright idea that this would be a fine opportunity to do some exploring. I was curious about why Siberia Ridge had a double black diamond as it looked fairly tame from the bottom. Thus I hauled myself up the ridge to check it out.

By the way the trees off of the ridge to the right in this photo (up to the sign and a bit beyond) are quite pleasant and not too difficult. The slope is gentler to the skiers right and steeper to the left.


(Oh I see - Siberia Ridge after it begins to widen)

Continuing straight ahead I encountered a narrow steep trail with "Closed Cliff" signs on both sides and abundant trees and snowboarders to maneuver around. At some point the cliff signs vanish from the Timber side and there are probably routes down there, but where I looked it appeared like some serious lumberjacking experience would be a definite asset. Still the boarders seemed to vanish somewhere.

The run begins to widen where I took the picture and a little below that I started to find the odd pocket of left over powder. This skied very nicely and there was little evidence of any weather damage, which suggests all the stuff in the closed areas is probably still extremely tasty.




(Bear Chutes - the Light Side)

Even with good snow, a tight little mogul run is a rude way for groaning legs to start the day. After discovering that Lizard and Cedar, apart from the ridge, were still closed, I decided to just cruise down the Bear Chutes and go practice my couch spud routine for the rest of the day.


(Bear Chutes - The Dark Side)

Despite the limited open terrain, there was still some very nice turns available in Bear Chutes and in fact the snow was very good in all my brief travels. I did hear though that North Ridge had become a mutant mogul hatchery.

Other rumors I picked up and that I am reporting here with absolutely no attempt at verification are that a 3.5 avalanche in Lizard this morning convinced the patrol to keep Lizard and Cedar closed for the day, and that White Pass was down due to mechanical problems rather than avalanche worries. I am a bit dubious about that last one as White Pass appeared to be running fine late yesterday although only with ski patrollers as passengers.


At 3:00 PM it is a balmy 2 C at the house with an occasional little snow shower.

(Click on any picture for a larger version)

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