Too much snow to ride a plane... then just ride POW!
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Last Thursday, I packed my ski bag, computer, camera and some clothes but left my Sorels at home. I wanted to pack light. The purpose of my trip to Salt Lake was to visit the Outdoor Retailers Tradeshow and hopefully get in a day of skiing. I had heard from photographer friend Re Wikstrom that morning - she stated on Twitter, "Bringing some snow with you, too, I see." Alta Ski Area was finally about to get hit.
I was enroute from Whistler to Seattle when the crazy snow storm hit Vancouver. I kept getting a phone call from a 1-800 number so I finally pulled over in Surrey at the Honeybee Centre. It was Delta Airlines calling me to cancel the flight from Seattle to Salt Lake due to the weather. Damn, Seatac didn't know how to deal with an inch of snow. I then called Re to let her know not to pick me up at the SLC airport; Jamie Bond to say I was not going to report on the OR Tradeshow for Doglotion.com; Brianne to say I wasn't going to stay the night in Seattle; and finally Jameson to say I WAS coming to Stevens Pass to join him and shred this epic POW.
Tears aside, plans were finally settled. I went to drive out of the complex only to discover it was locked. I was locked inside the parking of the Honeybee Centre?!? I drove in circles trying to figure out an exit. It was then I decided to gun it and try to cross a snow covered creek to get back onto the highway - after all I do have 4-wheel drive... Well, I sunk and sunk deep. "911... police, fire or ambulance?" said the dispatcher. I called the police to have the complex unlocked and then called a tow truck to pull me out...
I finally arrived at Jameson's place, tired and frustrated but stoked at the amount of snow outside of his house. It was going to be a deep day up at Stevens Pass!
We woke up at 7am the next morning and met with Brianne who had driven up from Seattle. It was go time. We piled into Jameson's truck and made the move to get to Stevens Pass early.
It was Brianne's and my first time at Stevens. We were happy to have Jameson to guide us despite him constantly telling us, "I'm the best skier on the mountain." The slackcountry gates were open, so we headed up Skyline Express to 7th Heaven chair. From there it was a short bootpack up to Cowboy Ridge. We scoped lines and decided on Armond's Chute. Go time! First tracks down the deep pow chute made the chaos of Thursday's events quickly forgotten.
From there, we headed to the Sidewinder trees followed by the opening of the backside and fresh tracks down Jupiter Chairline. Hungry for more, we headed back out of bounds to the Polaris Boundary trees and choked on some more pow. Then back to the front for some Pro Chutes and Chief Trees and finally a lunch break at Granite Peaks Lodge.
Smiles and burgers ensued but french fries were not finished as we rushed back out for more. Several runs later our legs were jello, and though the chairs were now running late for night skiing, we called it a day. We headed home only to stop at the Aldergrove Mall for some sushi and to buy some sake and strawberries. Sake margaritas were had at home as we shared stories of our pow day with friends.
The following morning, we failed to hear our alarms clocks and woke up late. It was 8am and we needed to rally to get eggs scrambled, bacon fried and skins cut. Finally out the door by 9am, we arrived to Stevens in time for the busy weekend crowd. A pow day on a Saturday is unfortunately enjoyed by all. We decided to head backcountry across the road from the resort and only a few others had ventured that far. Skyline Ridge proved to be stable and laps of pow in the trees were shredded. We finished the day with big smiles. Having lived in Seattle for nearly 16 years combined, Brianne and I couldn't believe we had never visited the powder stash called Stevens Pass. We will be back. Oh, and Jameson REALLY IS the best skier at Stevens Pass. Thanks for the great tour!
Details on the ski area at: www.stevenspass.com
This interview is by Holly Walker. Skier and writer Holly Walker lives in Whistler when she is not traveling in search of perfect pow. She is sponsored by K2 Skis/Poles, Dalbello, Smith, Pow Gloves and Clif Bar.
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