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Backcountry powder skiing in glades at Snoqualmie Pass, Washington
Turns All Year: Previous Home Page Galleries
This is a gallery of photos which appeared on the Turns All Year home page in the past. Thumbnail images on this page can be clicked to view the full-sized photos, and lead into a slide show sequence for the gallery. The photos are from a backcountry powder skiing trip to the Snoqualmie Pass area of Washington. Very cold temperatures and lots of new snow provided excellent backcountry powder skiing in glades and trees between about 2700' and 5700'.
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Turns All Year CD-ROM

The complete version of this photo gallery is now available on Turns All Year CD-ROM. Below you can view thumbnail photos from this gallery.

Turns All Year CD-ROM contains over 180 photo galleries, containing more than 3200 full-sized photos, from backcountry skiing and snowboarding trips in the Pacific Northwest.

from January 12, 2004:
Snoqualmie Pass backcountry powder skiing, January 4, 2004
Skinning through a Christmas tree farm
Skinning through a
Christmas tree farm
Skinning through powder in a clearcut
Skinning through powder
in a clearcut
Skinning through powder near the top
Skinning through powder
near the top
Our fearless leader
Our fearless leader
Russ takes in the view
Russ takes in the view
Snowy Mt. Stuart view
Snowy Mt. Stuart view
Powder tracks from second run
Powder tracks
from second run
Savoring the turns
Savoring the turns
Russ skiing glades on second run
Russ skiing glades
on second run
Charles skiing glades on second run
Charles skiing glades
on second run
Silas skiing glades on second run
Silas skiing glades
on second run
In the Temple of Ullr, god of snow
In the Temple of Ullr,
god of snow
Jim in the cold sunshine
Jim in the cold sunshine
Jim skiing glades on third run
Jim skiing glades
on third run
Jim skiing glades on third run
Jim skiing glades
on third run


Photos by Jim Oker and Charles Eldridge

Associated trip report: Coincidentally, I had just packed away my snorkel on the 3rd, finally cleaning up after a trip to somewhere decidedly warmer than where we went yesterday. I coulda used that tube!
   Silas did his usual marvelous job of pulling a crew together, including on this day Sir Charles, Russ, and me (and a serviceable mountain car). There were more possibly coming along to follow our tracks after a little more sleep, but they opted for other fine slopes instead.
   We skied a little east of the pass from ~2700 to ~5700, with a few extra laps in the top 1200 to 1500, depending on the lap. We skied mostly W and WNW aspects up higher, and wrapped around to SSW and S toward the bottom. We were all large smiles at the bottom, with that warm glow one gets from a mixture of endorphins and knowing that it doesn't get much better than this (and it only gets this good now and then).
   Wow! Sounds like our findings were far from unique, but in any case these were indeed some of the finest runs I've had in WA (and only a few of my best runs in the Selkirks compare). I rediscovered why it's a good idea to switch from sunglasses to goggles for the run down even if you don't wipe out. In open (steep) meadows, we had bottomless cold powder which trailed in plumes for yards behind each skier. Only once did I get a ski tip buried, and that was near a tree and due to some poor technique. The snow profile was wonderful for floating. More of the same in the mature forest, except that the base was a bit firmer and there were some relatively soft tree bombs to mix things up a little.
   The snow stayed great all the way to 2700 on our run back to the car, though you could actually feel a little of the underlying crust on steeper pitches in the woods at 2700. We didn't experience any of the "afternoon glopping" that Phil described in his post, though we were only on S aspects on our way down for the briefest moment, so perhaps aspect made the difference here?
   We cut across the top of a few very steep convex rolls and didn't see anything beyond surface sluffing (at least no on in the party reported anything beyond this to me, and that's all I saw). I did notice that the edges of some of our tracks were very "squared off" so it seemed like there was some slabbiness about, but nothing that fractured or slid on us.
   Let's hope that this is an indication of the season to come, and that this week's warmer weather (4-5K snow level)will just be a brief "stabilizing event" for our snowpack so we can start counting again from the "early January Crust."
   Oh - one more thing. I started to remember a lot of those "cold weather details" I'd forgotten in the 10 years since I moved from New England, such as :
-water bottle insulators aren't a luxury
-liner gloves are nice only if they don't constrict
-lightweight balaclavas are the best clothing value per ounce
-armpits are your cold fingers' friends
-be very strategic about when and where to eat lunch
   Fortunately I didn't need to repeat the "your belly is the best place to warm your partner's toes" lesson...
Jim

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