Tag Archives: Spring Skiing

Spring at last



Hi 40 °F

The forecasters are calling for actual sun up here at

Crystal Mountain today and tomorrow. We have a dusting of new snow up here and the skies are clearing! I better get out there fast. Spring might just last two days.

I also have another bit of good news. My editor just signed off on the final revision of my memoir. Woot woot! We are on track for the November pub date, with Advanced Reader Copies on the way. I look forward to the checking out the galley proof soon.

Bikini downhill: a recap


This year’s Bikini Downhill went off without a hitch. Or at least without too much raspberrying, since the conditions weren’t exactly spring corn. The motto is “skin to win” and each contestant to finish first in their category won a Bronze pass. Not a bad day on the slopes, if you ask me!

Congratulation to this year’s winners:

  • Women’s Snowboard: Marissa Ruhter
  • Men’s Snowboard: Jacob Hase
  • Women’s Ski: Lauren Summers
  • Men’s Ski: Matt Torrie

The Dirtbag King, Corey Peterson

Bikini Downhill, photo by Andrew Longstreth

Photo by Andrew Longstreth

A season of firsts



Crystal Mountain saw many firsts this year: first year with the gondola, first year to reach our max snowpack in April (usually we peak in March and begin the inexorable melt back towards dirt), first season of year-round operations.

•Currently our snow depth is 116″ in the base, which is the highest it has been all season

•The ski patrol has done avalanche control 55 days and counting (our average is about 35 days of full avalanche days per season).

•We have detonated 3200 explosives this season.

•Three new slide paths have been ripped open.

•The weather plot at the bottom of chair 6 is reading 196″.

•Over 550″ of snow has fallen so far.

• The snow pack is so deep that riders on chair 6 have to keep their tips up.

Fortunately, all these remarkable stats are still climbing as the 2010-2011 season isn’t over yet. There’s more snow up here than I’ve seen in years. So bring on the post-season, more ski days, more gondola rides, more fun.

The other kind of radiation



This time of year the sun starts to have a real effect on the snowpack. “Radiaton” in ski patrol speak, while not as much cause for concern as the situation in Japan, still raises red flags in my world. But it can be confusing.  What with all this talk about radiation in the news, I suppose I can understand.

So the other day, when patrol dispatch told the Northway Chair lift operator that he needed to get to the bottom of the chair and start digging it out due to radiaton, he was confused. “Are we really worried about that?” He wondered aloud. And if so, “will I be any more protected and the bottom of the chair than the top?”

We told him we aren’t worried about the nuclear radiaton from Japan. Not yet anyway. It’s radiaton from the sun we are concerned about.

Just an hour in full sun can turn a few inches if fresh into a wet-loose avalanche. Also known as a spring slough, growler, wet slide, these heavy avalanches can quickly ruin the skiing and your day.

So watch out for radiaton out the on the slopes.

Spring Skiing in Washington

For a thorough view of all Spring Skiing options in Washington (including Crystal Mountain’s plan for late-spring, which is still up for discussion below), plus several great deals on early season pass prices, check out my article Break Out the I-Ski Sunglasses on examiner.com.