A wonderful day with the Amigos. And beautiful weather for starting what’s finally more normal winter conditions. Northwest winter and snow conditions that is. It was raining at the base all day, or as Crystal’s marketing department said, “we are now seeing snow fall across the entire mountain!” Well, I’d call it 2-second snow. It looked white in the air, but 2 seconds after landing on your coat, it was rain. Luckily, from the base of Rex up, it was cold enough the snow didn’t even stick to your goggles. Deterred by the long line for Chinook, we sat in the lodge instead of joining the first chair seekers for the hour they stood in the light rain. Getting in line when the loading started, we were 10 minutes behind, but dry.
I said excellent Northwest snow and weather. That means 25° on top, a stiff southwest wind, a couple turns of wind scoured ice at the top of each run, and then turn after turn of wind smoothed heavy new snow. Unless a gust of wind served up a blinding cloud of snow that was heading towards quieter air on the other side of the trees. Note for the next run, other side of the trees. When Chair Six opened, there was no one left to fill the chair or finish skiing up The Frontside. We avoided the 15 minute C-6 line and lapped Memorial to Door One with a few distractions to Green Valley or Bear Pits. All good.
Sometimes I couldn’t tell if it was snowing or just blowing snow moving around. It made each run a little different, a little better, and the fun-o-meters kept going up. By noon, it was definitely snowing, hard. The wind picked up, then began to diminish. Or maybe I just got used to it. The next “system” was moving in as views of the surrounding peaks got lost in the grayness and puking snow. We went into One-more-run mode using Grubstake (best it’s been this year) and Elk Snort-Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride to wear us out. Most of the small after-Six-opened crowd disappeared at 11:00. Lunch? They never came back. Succumbing to the cold wind and increasing snowfall, we skied one more Bear Pits - awarded Most Improved for the day - and headed down.
Dropping 50 feet below the snowstorm at Rex, Stumpfarm was warm slush and it quickly turned to rain approaching the base. I applaud the beginners skiing Discovery in the sloppy slush and wet (zero seconds) snow. Our next crop of strong Crystal skiers in the making.
Temperatures will drop and it will keep on snowing. Until sunday when it will definitely be rain at the base, most likely rain to the top. Continue that plan on monday.