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March 7, 2003, Nordic Pass, Snoqualmie Pass

3/7/03
WA Snoqualmie Pass
2380
2
Posted by Charles on 3/7/03 11:20pm
Finally!

CharlesW and I found the Silver Fir lift closed, and about 2.5 feet of new, ungroomed snow at the bottom of the lift. Fortunately, one pass had been made with a groomer, so we only had to skin up through the last 8" of snow, which was dismayingly damp at first. Up to Grand Junction and on to the edge of the old-growth forest on the cross-country trails which had been very recently groomed, and with the snow getting better. On the steeper groomer walls along the XC trails, one pole swipe would trigger nice soft slabs (barely cohesive) involving mostly the top 8", and sometimes twice that.

Once we got into the protection of the old-growth forest, all cohesiveness disappeared. In glades there was about 3.5 feet of newer snow over a firm corn-like base. Within the trees there was about 2.5 feet over the base, with a good profile - 18-24" cold and loose on top, and a denser layer below. We set a good track up to the top of the favorite east-facing run, nicely protected by well spaced trees, and then enjoyed the best skiing I've ever had there. Four runs, each one moving left to get a little steeper as we found out what the snow was like. On the steepest runs big pillows of loose snow would push out in front of us as we descended. It was amazing to have our skis 2 feet down in the snow and still have them respond to the slightest effort to adjust their track.

I've been missing the ambiance of the old-growth forest with good snow, this being my first trip to Snoqualmie this winter, but I got a good fix with this trip. Unfortunately, it looks like the beautiful snow there may be destroyed by tomorrow's weather.

Thanks for the report Charles.  Nice to know it's finally skiable in there.  Which way did you go back out - the road or backtrack?

We took our track back to the XC trails, through Grand Junction, and to the Outback run. It would have been too much work to have to break trail just to get out another way, and our car was at the Silver Fir lift. The snowpack was relatively low, but easily sufficient - its got to have a pretty high water content under the newest snow by now. Unfortunately, with the weekend's change in weather, it is probably not very skiable today!

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Charles
2003-03-08 07:20:18