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March 6, 2003, Crystal Area

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by Zap on 3/6/03 3:33am
With over 21" of new powder, we knew we were going to ski near Crystal but no one wanted to break trail in the backcountry.  So we ripped out the plastic, bought a few lift tickets and began the powder feeding frenzy.  The taste of fresh powder blowing up your nostrils is exciting. :)In addition to the 21", it was snowing hard all day and the car had another 6" upon our return at 2pm.  Today was a "10" !  When you're 6'3", face shots are not common but today every run was a face shot run.  My only regret is that I left the snorkel at home.  Any steep open slopes are windloaded and were sliding.  Steep treed lines were sloughing.  The entire "in-bounds" area was open.  Our tracks were covered within 2 hours.  With the intensity of the current storm, I think I'll ride the lifts for awhile until things settle a bit. The next few days require friends who are strong trail breakers and a "powder poodle" to test the slopes. :)  Zap
Thanks for the timely update, Zap. I know some people are planning on skiing tomorrow (myself included) and it is good to get a first-hand report on the likely backcountry conditions (hazards). Sounds like tomorrow should be a good day for staying in the trees.

If that's backcountry trees you mean, just remember any treed slope open enough to make fun turns in when the snow is this deep is also open enough to slide (so sayeth the instructors I've learned from, and they've pointed to pretty tight but turnable trees as an example).

I'm going for lifts tomorrow, and am watching to see what the east side looks like for the weekend for a (hopefully) little lower hazard level.

Thanks for the inspiring report from Crystal!

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2003-03-06 11:33:02