The past 8 days have been marked by the  “pineapple express” (that is… weather systems coming in from Hawaii) bombarding the Pacific Northwest with heavy rains in the lowlands and hefty snowfall in the mountains. The increase in white precipitation led to high avalanche danger according to NWAC (several folks have already died in avalanches) so Jeff, Eric and I avoided backcountry adventures and headed for Mt Baker Ski Area on today, Sunday… the day before President’s Day.

As could be expected, deep powder in combination with a holiday weekend made for a very crowded slope. We waited for about 25 minutes to board Chair 7 from the White Salmon Lodge. Snow feel heavily though it wasn’t overly cold. My hands were chilled though as I discovered upon our arrival that I had packed my OR Northback right hand glove and Eric’s OR Northback right hand glove (he was wearing a different pair today). Thus.. I ended up wearing two glove liners under a mid-weight, non-waterproof glove meant for autumn temperatures that I had with me for some strange and lucky unknown reason. After getting passed Chair 7 the other lifts didn’t have as long a wait… though there was a wait; rare for Baker. The except to this was Chair 6 as many folks wanted to get onto the Experts Only slopes for some deep powder action. And deep it was! Most of the time it was hard to believe we were on groomed trails. The powder was calf to knee high! I am not used to sinking in the snow as I ski.. most of my technique was developed with Cascade Concrete snow and there was a bit of a learning curve to get through when it came to dealing with powder. If i didn’t move fast enough I got lodged in it!

Heavy Snow at Mt Baker

After our lunch break the snow grew even heavier and by mid-afternoon the winds picked up causing white outs. Sometimes I had to paused on the way down and wait for the wind to die down so I could see… and sometimes the wind blew so hard against me that I stopped moving forward! We called it a day at 3:00pm hoping to beat the typical vehicle backup on the way down the mountain at the official closing time. The weather as also still deteriorating making it difficult to ski safely and the roads possibly more treacherous.

All in all… a good pow day, but the weather and crowds made things a bit iffy.

 

 

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