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February 9, 2003, Hurricane Ridge

WA Olympics
Posted by Bill_G on 2/9/03 10:04pm
With promises of sunshine and blue skies we pushed through the heavy clouds at 3000' to our favorite chutes.  We were not disappointed (by the weather that is).

I was shocked at how little snow there was - the snow depth at the base was half that of early January and there were so many brown spots that are not typically bare until late May.  There was snow to ski, but this was a Spring day.  As we crested the ridge and looked into the north side (at about 6000') clouds covered the world below us from Mt. Baker to the Pacific Ocean - but the peaks from Garibaldi to Olympus were beautiful and clear.  After soaking up the sun and watching some of our comrades enjoy 4 inches of wind-kissed powder on a firm base in the north bowl, we headed to the steep and narrow north facing chutes in hopes of similar conditions...oops.

We encountered breakable crust, buried debris, water ice, and wind-packed randomly distributed in patches across the chute...some of the worst conditions we've seen up there in close to 15 years.  After escaping 1500 vertical ft.of this stuff, we headed back to the sunny southeast side.  Ahhh, this is heaven - warm sunshine, perfect smooth corn snow, ego turns, and view, view, view.  Our faith was restored.

Lesson for the day...IT'S SPRING...do your Spring trips now -- the skiing is excellent (except for that dasterdly north chute) and, unless the second half of February and March are kind to us, we'll be summer skiing in May.

Oh yeah, the other lesson was if you see your buddies having a good run, follow them.

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2003-02-10 06:04:11