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December 29-30, 2001, Eastern WA

WA elsewhere
Posted by ema on 9/16/02 10:44pm
Head East Young Man! Wasn't that the old saying? Hmmmmm ... maybe not. My buddy David and I spent the weekend before New Years over in Lake Chelan scouting out the area's offerings. The cover photo of a slightly disheveled telemarker heading up Chelan Butte looked alright so we gave that a try. Low coverage. The sagebrush poking out of the snowpack looked a little grabby.

Next we tried out Echo Valley Ski Resort ... the piece d'resistence for the local Lake Chelan innertubing community. We skinned up the climber's right-most run and summitted. After a leisurely afternoon tea we headed down. I think the vert on the ascent musta been at least 400'!

Next day ... we're throwing down the gauntlet and headed to Loup Loup! Located about 30-40 minutes east of Twisp, Loup Loup is a small resort with a 1300' vertical drop. Base elevation is a little over 4000 feet. Review of the topo map showed we might have a nice run off the backside of Loup Loup down to highway 20. Jack's Creek might provide the run-out.

After skinning from the base lodge up the climber's left most run and noting the curious looks of the locals we topped out at the cell tower above the lifts about 40 min later. Seems that not too many have been seen skinning the slopes here. Oh well, lunchtime! We began a southerly decent and five turns later began sweeping the rocks clear of that pesky powdery covering. While the snow quality was excellent the coverage was just not there. We returned to the lift served runs and made some lovely high-speed turns on the well-groomed slopes. In all not a terrible weekend. The resort is nice as far as high-speed groomers go for a local resort. Lift tickets are $28 for an adult weekend rate.

The rolling hills surrounding Chelan and the Methow Valley currently have a low snowpack and are primarily suited for intermediate skiing. After a more in-depth review of local topo maps, there looks to be some significant terrain west of Twisp and Winthrop along Hwy 20 (watch out for snowmobiles) and also accessible via a Lake Chelan boat trip to the north end of the lake.

Ben Kaufman

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2002-09-17 05:44:56