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  1. #11
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    Cold weather is keeping the snow light and dry around Mission Ridge and in the lower foothills. Skiing at Mission Ridge on Martin Luther King Saturday was not nearly as busy as I expected -- the ski area didn't need to park visitors down the road (Seahawks game probably factored into this). Snow quality at the ski area was good on Saturday. Of course more new snow would be welcomed as the entrances into many of the steeper runs are getting pretty scraped.

    Snow quality is maintaining in the foothills too -- snow up on Twin Peaks remains excellent. There is some public land flanking Number Two Canyon Road closer to town that has been skiing decently as well. You will hit ground, grass, brush, and some rocks skiing in the lower foothills, so dialing back the speed and skiing with good control is recommended. So are beater skis. That being said, it's awfully fun linking turns between sagebrush and the dried heads of balsamroots sticking out of the snow.

  2. #12
    Great skiing in and around Mission Ridge ski area this week. I would like to know what the clowns who made a skin track up the skier's right side of Bowl 4 were thinking. Not only were they exposed to the slope for far too long but their switchbacks took up a full third of the bowl with their skin track. That's not an approved uphill travel route in the ski area boundary, whether the ski area is closed or not, and generally poor travel practice for avalanche terrain.

  3. #13
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    Aaron, excellent points both for safety and for politics (cooperating with and maintaining good relations with the ski area).

    Toured up to the Stemilt Basin today. Did some hasty column tests before jumping into the basin and quickly decided we wouldn't be jumping in after all. Isolated columns were quite reactive with a tiny tap -- sometimes just the process of isolating the column had it springing free -- had me thinking of last year when large numbers of slopes released in the basin. Descended through the woods and then traversed over to the slopes of the lower basin. Again we did some hasty column tests and, while there were hollow snows down deep, the columns were not real reactive. Decided to ski the slope. I second guessed the wisdom of that when we climbed out -- the deep layers were extremely sugary and pole plants were collapsing deep into the snow. My companion climbed out of the area ahead of me and, as I followed ten minutes behind, I was spooked by the conditions. I don't see myself returning to the Stemilt until lots of the slopes release or until warming reforms the snow.

  4. #14
    The layer of basal facets is widespread on northerly aspects. Everywhere I've traveled I'm usually able to push my pole through the entire season's snowpack where it hasn't had any compaction. I think lower angled stuff outside the ski area is generally safe. I'm still a little cautious and nervous on steeper inbounds terrain with northerly aspects that hasn't had any/a lot of traffic or ran on the base layer with control work.

    Was that you and two companions skinning out of the lot around 9 this morning?

  5. #15
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    Not Mission, but close; Skiing at the elevation of Squilchuck State Park has been excellent. So good that I've skied every day in this area since Friday. The surface has been powder with varying penetration. (Varying by day, not by turn). Effortless hero powder skiing.

    This storm killed the good surface. This morning's ski found 1/8" to 1/4" rain crust. Breakable, and I was able to turn in it, but the powder is gone.

    Dammit.

  6. #16
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    Interesting surface conditions since the big rain. The snow was saturated and then froze and now isn't corning up on north facing slopes, even late in the afternoon. I side-skidded into bowl four at 2:30pm today, thinking maybe I was in over my head due to the bullet proof sun cups. Yesterday I poked into Shot 7 between Microwave tower and Bowl 4 and changed my mind and went back to ski Skookum. Saw a herd of 11 jeeps at the tower yesterday. Saw their tire tracks on Skookum, in the bathtub, above Toketie and at the downhill start today. Snowmobiles in the ski area yesterday and today too.

  7. #17
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    Thanks for the report, Mike. Had family visiting this weekend so didn't backcountry ski -- maybe a good thing.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by mikerolfs View Post
    Interesting surface conditions since the big rain. The snow was saturated and then froze and now isn't corning up on north facing slopes, even late in the afternoon. I side-skidded into bowl four at 2:30pm today, thinking maybe I was in over my head due to the bullet proof sun cups. Yesterday I poked into Shot 7 between Microwave tower and Bowl 4 and changed my mind and went back to ski Skookum. Saw a herd of 11 jeeps at the tower yesterday. Saw their tire tracks on Skookum, in the bathtub, above Toketie and at the downhill start today. Snowmobiles in the ski area yesterday and today too.
    You should tell Josh about the snowmobiles and jeeps, it's illegal for them even when the area is closed for the season. Maybe call the Sheriff and FS LEO too, they know it's illegal. Don't know what good it will do. Did have a discussion with Josh about this closing weekend and he knows that it's illegal for them to be inside the SUP boundary.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by AaronW View Post
    You should tell Josh about the snowmobiles and jeeps, it's illegal for them even when the area is closed for the season. Maybe call the Sheriff and FS LEO too, they know it's illegal. Don't know what good it will do. Did have a discussion with Josh about this closing weekend and he knows that it's illegal for them to be inside the SUP boundary.
    Nothing Josh can do about the jeeps. I guess the Ridge could adjust the concrete barricade in the parking lot to make it harder for snowmos to go around, but they are still coming in from the Clara basin, so there really isn't a way to physically keep them out.

  10. #20
    They need to replace the no snowmobile signs and make it known that motorized use inside the SUP area is illegal at any time. There used to be a line of posts with signs on them going over the top of Old Enzyme towards Mission Peak and also down by Chute 8. Basically anyplace where a snowmobile could gain entry had no snowmobile signs.

    As far as the Jeeps go, if you see them in the area take a picture of the vehicle with the license plate showing and send it to the Sheriff, FS LEO and Josh. Same goes for the snowmobiles if you can get their DOT license sticker in the pic. Also contact the local snowmobile club and maybe Ace, they don't want the bad press of something like this further restricting snowmobile use.

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