Home > Trip Reports > May 16, 2003, Alpental; Episode II

May 16, 2003, Alpental; Episode II

WA Snoqualmie Pass
Posted by MW88888888 on 5/15/03 8:24pm
At 4:45 am the alarm went off.  My wife and two cats nesting around me, I questioned the reasonableness of getting up...I closed my eyes.

Three things came to mind:

1.  It's going to be 5 months until the powder of October (maybe) returns.

2.  There are a number of my friends living back east who would KILL to ski powder on a Friday in mid-May.

3.  I used to be one of them.

My eyes flew open and off to Alpental I went.

Again, like a repeat of last week, I found boot deep powder on the slowly melting slopes of Alpental.  This time, I climbed the open bowl to the skiers right of the upper chair, and found wonderful smooth open bowl slopes that defied the month of May.  Showers of gruapel revealed the nature of the powder I climbed and as I summited, the clouds moved in to obscure the views I had enjoyed on my last trip to the top.  Somehow, I was getting used to this powder at Alpental.

The descent went quickly, and the snow proved not as deep as last weeks event, I actually could feel the hard base under the 6" of fresh.  This time I followed my boot track back down the backside of Alpental so I could follow the slope in the poor light of the clouds, and was gleeful when lower down the sun came out and revealed the wide open slopes still to come.

Dancing back down the front of the mountain, I worked my way through the exposed vegitation of the lower slopes and came to a stop right at the base of the Express Chair.  Two skiers on their way up the mountain applauded my descent, obviously encourageed by the smooth powder turns I had just enjoyed.

So the question remains: how many more weeks will this continue???
There were Freshies to be had?

In answer to the question posed, I'm hoping that it doesn't continue any longer - I'd like to have a stretch of warm days and cold clear nights so that some of the BIG tours firm up for safer more fun skiing in the alpine!

In the meantime, though, a little fresh is worth scouting out. Well done!

Indeed, I've the Volcano tour coming up in two weeks and need corn snow!  

But, alas, what to do when it snows but ski!

(scotteryx - the early bird catches the worm...um, powder.  And a healthy obsession with weather reports also helps)

I'll be getting face shots this weekend at Stevens, it's looking good and I'll get some fresh tracks for sure!

I lack the ability to get up at the pre bird chirping hours that MW88888888 does, but otherwise I had the same motivations and destination.
I went up the chairs, but down the Internationale side, which initially seemed like a mistake. The Internationale bumps are still very much feelable if not always seeable, sort of an icy presence lurking beneath the white blanket of about 8" of fresh. I've been down that in the spring before where the bumps eventually melted off but this year I think they are there til the bitter end. Once off the top part the little draw just past the usual BC rope was much much more enjoyable skiing, enough so that I even reclimbed a 500 foot stretch of it twice. Then went down Felsen, which is almost undoable now because of the creek and various moats but I was determined to stay away from those damn bumps no matter what it took, and that's what it took... Lower slopes getting soft but not grossly so. All in all perhaps the best head to tail earned turns I've had so far this spring.
MW88888888, did you have a dog along? The tracks I was following had some kind of accomplished ski mountaineering dog in tow for their descent line. The dog knew to stay right in the descent line no matter how twisty the turns, would have loved to see that in action.

Wolfs - no - but I did see that person this morning as well.  Nice golden retriever following a single dude.  They were on their way up toward international as I descended.  A good ski dog is hard to find, but this one looked like a good one.

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2003-05-16 03:24:03