Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Too much of a good thing.

Sometimes you get what you wish for...and then some. I've been praying for a good dump of snow in the Pacific Northwest, preferably before our arrival in Bellingham. Well it's snowing, and snowing, and snowing. Mt Baker has gotten 4-6 feet since our arrival Saturday. It's all heavy, wet snow, AKA "Cascade Crud". And while it's beautiful, and great for the locals, who seem to be able to ski by Braille, it's not so good for the rest of us who appreciate being able to see where we're going.

The real problem with all this snow comes down to depth and visibility. Not only has the snow been falling massive quantities, but it has been accompanied by a thick fog. This combination has made snowboarding basically impossible for us. In addition, the powder has been up to 2 feet deep on the groomed runs. Off the groomed stuff the powder can be above waist deep. So we spent a few runs on Sunday not being able to see a damn thing and I got to dig out and hike a couple of times for venturing off the "groomed" stuff. It's just too much snow. For example, Ruth saw me go off a 70 degree incline that I had no idea existed until it was too late. It took me about 20 minutes to dig out and hike to a place I could resume descending. Oh, yeah. Baker is a local's mountain and they aren't renowned for their attention to clear and concise signage.

So the 2 days we've tried to board haven't gone so well. Sunday we managed just 3 runs before the elements won. Today we drove up but it was abundantly clear that conditions were even worse than they were on Sunday. Now, don't think that Ruth and I are just wimps. We came here because Mt Baker frequently has epic conditions and we'll for sure go up the mountain in storm conditions. It's just the combination of way too deep snow and true non-visibility that has put the kibosh on our plans. There just isn't much point in going if you can't see and you get stuck every 100 feet. And the forcast doesn't look any better for the rest of the week. Shit.

We did have a really nice day visiting with Scott and Liz yesterday (Monday). We played tourist and basically did a driving tour of the Pac NW. We drove to Anacortes, a sleepy seaside community that did nothing to warrant a return trip. After that we turned south and visited the bridges at Deception Pass State Park. This is one of the most picturesque of the easily accessed areas of the Puget Sound. We spotted a couple of bald eagles and hiked around a bit. We then drove over to Laconner, another sleepy little town with some interesting shops and restaraunts. To round out the day we stopped at Boundary Bay Brewery for dinner and were treated to some impromptu Irish dance courtesy of a local school.

So tomorrow we've decided to head south to Stevens Pass ski area in hopes that conditions are a bit friendlier. My hope is that due to it's higher elevation we'll be above the fog. But we've decided that conditions be damned, we're gonna give it our best shot.

1 comment:

  1. sorry the elements have pounded you guys. but it is always great to see you both and be able to hang out and remember the good ol days. looking forward to seeing you before you head back to warmer so cal.