| October 2008
Yeti Tracks in Nepal
I saw this tidbit in the news today and thought it deserved sharing:
A team of Japanese adventurers say they have discovered footprints they believe were made by the legendary yeti, which is said to roam the Himalayan regions of Nepal and Tibet.
Full Story here
Trail building: Itís more than just a snow dance
The sound of chainsaws echoed off the trees in the Mt. Hood National Forest
this past weekend as locals stocked up on firewood. They were getting ready for winter, but I was with three dozen people preparing for spring.
We joined Jim Thornton, Barlow Ranger District Recreation Trails Manager and Volunteer Coordinator, to help build a new section of Cooks Meadow Trail just off of Forest Service Road 44 near majestic Mt. Hood.
Volunteers dug, raked and tamped down a sweet new path that snakes through the trees, replacing the direct fall-line assault made by the old trail and connecting hikers, mountain bikers and horsemen with the network of nearby trails accessible from Road 44.
As I worked I tried not to think about the fact that last year at this time, Road 44 would have been covered in snow. Maybe talking about mountain biking
instead of skiing was kind of like that old adage about not watching the teapot as you wait for it to boil. This strategy was broken by brief, gorgeous glimpses of Mt. Hood rising through the trees and throwing the sunlight back at us. This was my snow dance, for what it was worth —being as close to the mountain as I could get without being on the mountain.
Killing time before ski season is not the only reason, of course, to participate in trail building. It’s payback for all the hours of fun we get from them, and volunteering helps keep our local trails functioning. Thornton said volunteer sweat and hours make a project like Cooks Meadow cost a fraction of what it would cost commercially.
Volunteering is also a nice way to meet new and interesting people who might be willing to share their food with you when have been swinging a McCloud all afternoon.
It is easy to get involved in trail projects no matter where you live. Since 1993 all 50 states and several U.S. territories have held events on the first Saturday in June to celebrate National Trails Day. To find out what is going on in your neck of the woods on June 6, 2009, visit www.americanhiking.org
And keep doing your own special snow dance.
— Eileen Garvin
Black Diamond Seeker Telemark Boot
A pair of the Black Diamond's new Seeker tele boots arrived at the office last week. Ski conditions are a bit marginal right now, but I thought I would give a quick heads up on the boot before we get a chance to ski in it.
First, we chose the Seeker over the Custom or the Push (BD's four buckle boots and part of their Power Series) because we were looking for the boot we thought would offer a good compromise between touring and turning. Unless you are pushing the biggest ski's around, the Seeker should be enough boot to ski most boards. Comparing to the Garmont Synergy (a boot we feel is a good blend of power and comfort for touring), the Seeker is nearly identical in cuff height and buckle set-up.
The Seeker is lower volume than the Synergy in the instep but the cuff and ankle flex are similar. Out of the box, the Seeker is stiffer in the bellows, but that is likely because the boot has yet to be skied, while the Synergy we have in the office has a full season of skiing on it.
There is snow up on Hood right now and if the good weather holds this week, I will try to get on this boot asap and get some more solid info on its performance - you can get all the specs from BD.
Parkdale Ski Culture
Here is a plug for some local evening fun. The Elliot Glacier Public House in Parkdale, OR (base of Mt Hood) is hosting a weekly Ski Film night starting this Friday , Oct . 24 @ 7:30pm
The series will last four weeks and starts with retro '70's films and gets a step closer to modern times with each week. In addition, local skier, Paul Klein will present pieces of his South American Ski Guide. Check it out. Click the poster for a bigger version.
October Skiing on Mt .Hood
Well, Indian summer provided for an excellent weekend, but today the fall rains are back. Jeremy from the Mountain Shop in Portland managed to take advantage of the good weather last week and checked out the new snow on Mt. Hood. Here is what he had to say:
Given the recent dustings of snow on the volcanoes, I went up to Mt Hood to see how much stuck around up high. It stayed pretty cold all day and you could tell that the wind must have been nuking earlier. From the parking lot, I followed one of the canyons east of the lifts and found consistent snow from just below the Silcox Hut all the way up the Palmer Snowfield. I skinned to the top of the Palmer and switched to ski crampons. The Triangle Moraine area was icy enough that I soon switched over to regular crampons. The Old Chute looked like it was in good shape for climbing, but the skiing would have been sketchy from the summit ridge.
As luck would have it, a rogue cloud blew in, and I was left with whiteout conditions, so I skied a gully leading southwest from the base of Crater Rock (10,000 ft) towards Illumination Saddle.
The conditions were variable: ice, windpack, breakable crust, and about
every third turn I found thigh deep powder. After two pretty serious face plants in the soft snow, I was down to the Zigzag Glacier. I skidded my way to the far west side of the Zigzag and found a band of snow between the rocks and the ice; it was wind-packed powder with just enough breakable to keep me on my toes. In keeping with my luck, the clouds lifted as I neared the bottom. Perfect timing!
At the entrance to BigZigzagCanyon (7,500 ft), I put the skins back on for a short uphill to connect to another snowfield just west of the ski lifts. After skiing that snowfield, I had to take my skis off and traverse back across several gullies into the Timberline ski area.
It was a beautiful day on the mountain, but the previous week’s snow must have been blown out to the east side of the state by the time I got there. The good news is the summer’s suncups seem to be pretty well covered.
Fall News and Update from the Monashees
Colorado kicked off the North American ski season today with both A-Basin and Loveland Pass firing up the chair-lifts. Although skiing groomers on man-made snow is not really my idea of skiing, it does allow for making turns, and it is fun to think that skiing is getting closer.
We got word from Aaron up at Sol Mountain Lodge in the Monashees that they have completed their final work party of the season and ready for the snow to fly. Last season, their final work party was abruptly...
ENSO La Nina El Nino
Following last winter's banner snow season for much of the western US and the predominant La Nina influence that presided over the winter, I frequently hear talk of La Nina and El Nino, and how it may or may not impact the quality of our upcoming snow season. The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) released its ENSO forecast discussion on October 9. The CPC is calling for ENSO neutral influence, at least until early 2009. ENSO, or El Nino/ Southern Ocilation,...
photos from alaksa and mt hood
Tales of snow are rolling in from around the western states. This shot of Mt. Alpenglow from the Alyeska Hostel in Girdwood, AK takes the cake though. Jeremy from the hostel had this to say about life in Girdwood this week.
Well, we got our first taste last night as the quarter size flakes started dropping at an official "dumping rate".
We woke to about 10 or so inches here at the Hostel, and Alyeska reported 17" at 250' and 24" at 2700'. It was a wet heavy coating that snapped a few leaf bound shrubs around town and caught most everyone a little off guard.
Yep, it's a little early for us, so I'm sure it will melt away from the valley floor before it becomes white for the season. A measurable snow by the end of October is more "normal". Normal that is, if you live in a place that actually is normal, but this is a good sign and we are looking forward to another 80' year.
We got a little snow on Hood too, but nothing like Girdwood. I was able to get up to the burn area on Mt. Hood while doing some work up there his week. Here are a few shots frpm the Cloud Cap Road
Snow is in the Air
The clouds lifted yesterday to reveal a solid layer of snow on the mountains in the Northwest. Local photographer, Darryl Lloyd, took this shot of Mt Adams from downtown Hood River.
This week brings the Powder Whore crew and their latest movie, the Pact to the Northwest. They will be in Bend on the 8th, Eugene on the 9th, Portland on the 10th, and Hood River on the 11th. From Oregon, they head to Washinton, Montana, California, and Colorado. The full tour...
Off-Piste Issue 38
The first issue of the season ships next week. As usual, it includes our annual ski review in addition to a variety of other content including, Ask the PT, Demystifying ENSO, and an interview with the new manager and owners of Whitewater Ski Resort. If you have not subscribed or renewed your subscription yet, do it this week to ensure that you get the October issue.
This season marks the tenth year for Off-Piste Mag. We will have some shirts and hats to mark the occasion later this fall.
The weather has made a decisive turn toward winter here the past few days, the snow is not far off.
News from the Selkirks
A winter (or at least wet) weather pattern has pushed out our sunny fall weather here in Oregon for the time being. Snow levels are forecast to bounce between say five and seven thousand feet this coming week.
Tannis up at Sorcerer Lodge in the Selkirks reports that the glaciers above the lodge have new snow on them and seem to be holding it nicely (see image of Nordic Glacier)
Sorcerer sent in a couple of work crews this summer and tore off the front of the building to expand the drying room. Tannis reports that, "We now have a bright and shiny new room. The dim (very smelly) room of the past is gone! And the sauna change room has been rebuilt. It's beautiful."
Sounds like the lodge has a few spots open on full service trips for those who can make last minute decisions. The skiing at Sorcerer is excellent.