Monday, February 28, 2011

Lots of snow!

Well, it's supposedly a La Nina weather pattern year, but while we're getting plenty of precipitation, and plenty of it as snow, the freezing level occasionally goes way up and drops some rain, too, so it's not shaping up to be quite as extraordinary as the record-setting winter of 1999.

Still lots of great snow, though! Some of it comes with good visibility, some of it does not. One of the first tours we did when I got back was up by Mt Baker in possibly the most complete whiteout I have ever experienced. We call it being in the ping pong ball - the light scatters and refracts from clouds and snow the same way, making it impossible to distinguish surface water crystals from suspended water droplets. You find yourself in a perfect visual sphere with no orientation, literally impossible to tell whether you're about to bump into a snowbank or have the snow end beneath your feet. Great snow, but hard to ski! Still good to be out, of course.

Next time out, a little better visibility, but we still needed some trees to steer by. So into the Swift Creek woods, just behind the Mt Baker ski area. The snow was amazing, knee deep until you got your telemark turn on... then it became waist deep as we crouched down mid-turn. Heavy enough to ski on top of, light enough to be really, really fun. Telemark is such fun. A little video of some low-angle lovin' - it doesn't have to be steep to be fun...

A few weeks in town, a little skiing and catching up with friends, and suddenly it's time to head up to Canada for a longer ski trip with Dave. There's certainly plenty of snow, so let's hope the weather cooperates, too!

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