Resort and backcountry skiing and snowboarding in the western US and Canada, including our famous reader-submitted No-Bull Snow Reports.
Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:09 pm
I'm on my way to Yakima, WA, staying with friends 3 nights. Liz flies in there late tonight to resume the ski road trip through Iron Blosam Week.
I drove 675 miles to Yreka Friday, which left me 40 minutes from Mt. Ashland (area #244) for Saturday morning. The weather was more of what we experienced in Utah and Idaho: heavy fog with some on and off snow.
I again experienced the Saturday crush common at local ski areas in 2020-21. I arrived at 9:02AM to a parking lot at least 3/4 full. The Windsor and Ariel lifts are old doubles that ran 5+ minute lift lines all day. Locals said this was as busy as it ever gets there. There was a dip around lunch hour but a couple of times the Ariel line was 10 minutes.
While the weather may not have been good, there was nothing to complain about for snow conditions. It was soft packed powder everywhere. Early on I had trouble distinguishing between groomed and ungroomed snow in the fog.
But the reality was that ungroomed snow never really got into the mogul stage, evidence that it's quiet midweek, and even on the weekends skier density is low, constrained by lift capacity.
The main chairs ascend consistent fall lines, Windsor maybe 700 vertical and Ariel about 1,000. Ariel packs a lot of terrain diversity into 1,000 vertical, rivaling Baldy's Thunder Mt. in that department. Notable at the top of Ariel looker's right in The Bowl, fed by 4 chutes that are legit steep at 35-40 degrees for maybe 300 vertical.
Sometimes the visibility was too bad to be venturing there but I eventually skied all 4 chutes. Here's an overview when visibility was decent enough to ski there.
Zoom of skier in chute:
After 1PM the sunny breaks got clearer. I'm on top of chutes 3 and 4 looking back to the bowl and top of Ariel lift.
Looking down from same spot:
Chute 4 is at left and part of the wider chute 3 is at right.
Skier's left of Ariel has good tree spacing.
This was Coolwater. The Moraine glades below the bowl are nicely spaced too but the vertical is very short before you hit the boundary traverse leading back to Ariel.
Not on the map is the backside, a wide open area very lightly tracked even though there were plenty of locals enjoying it.
From there a road leads to the far end of the parking lot, which is why I only skied that on my final run.
I finished with 15,000 vertical at 2:15 because I had a 4 hour drive to Bend to meet my high school classmate Kirk for dinner. FYI that dinner was outdoors under space heaters at 34F. I wore Sorel Boots, base layers, kept my jacket zipped and was comfortable. I did not feel I needed hat or gloves.
Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:38 am
In all likelihood, a ski area I'll never visit due to the far-flung location; however, it looks worthwhile.
Tony Crocker wrote:a 4 hour drive to Bend to meet my high school classmate Kirk for dinner
More evidence of Tony's driving stamina, although I'm sure that a luxury Tesla makes it less of a chore.
Thu Feb 25, 2021 9:34 am
I’m in the Cayenne for these midwinter road trips. So far driving temperatures have probably averaged about 35F, which would have cut Tesla range maybe 10-15%. But the last few days of this trip will be in remote parts of Montana, which would be a challenge.
The Cayenne has notably better seats and suspension than my 2016 Tesla. The 2019 Tesla narrowed both gaps significantly. But the autopilot, particularly adaptive cruise control, is a big advantage for Tesla on long road trips.
Any spring road trips post Iron Blosam will be in the Tesla.
The Glendale - Yreka day was 675 miles, comparable to two of the drive days in May/June and a bit less than the longest one at 740.
Liz has slightly lower tolerance for road marathons. On the return trip the three longest days were around 550. But we’ve done the 700 miles LA-SLC a few times.
Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:19 am
I assumed correctly that Tony Crocker would not be in Tesla for this trip. It will be interesting to see where he goes next.
While Tony C had some long drives in Tesla going to FL and back last year, I think I have some more impressive ones including two where I skied the afternoon at Ashland.
The first time I skied it, Leap Day 2016, I left my cousin's house that is at least 10 miles E of Vancouver, VA after 7 AM, hit some traffic going to and past Portland and skied 15.7K. I also took a fall that bruised my back and hip, then drove to San Jose for drive-day that was close to 700 miles. viewtopic.php?f=3&t=12075
My second day at Ashland was Presidents Day 2019 on way to Crystal Mountain, WA. I left San Jose at 6:40 (should have been earlier) and was on slopes before 1. I skied 10.5K vertical with a lot of powder, then drove up I-5 when I think I spent night at Scatter Creek rest area for a drive-day of about 780 miles. Google maps says 776, but I was loopy enough going through Portland that I took wrong Interstate that added at least a couple of miles. viewtopic.php?f=3&t=12817
Thu Feb 25, 2021 3:40 pm
I don't know how/why so many people feel like they have to do 10-15 hr day drives. Is it because they're cheap and don't want to pay for a motel room? Or too obsessive/anxious to get somewhere? A man thing (I've never known a woman so obsessive about getting somewhere that fast, unless its for a friend's wedding)?
As someone who knows a couple people that have died because they fell asleep at the wheel, I'm probably a little extra sensitive to the subject.
Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:31 pm
For me, it’s because when I’m on a ski trip, I want to ski every day I can. Since I live 3-4 hrs. from skiing and don’t see that changing anytime soon, I don’t get enough skiing in to skip a day or to ski much less than a full day whenever possible.
Thu Feb 25, 2021 6:11 pm
As a kid our neighbors visited Grandma >1000 miles away just like we did. My mom and dad broke up the drive so the family could camp two nights along the way. The neighbor mom and dad were memorable, not cuz they drove straight thru, but cuz they tranquilized the four kids for the 24 hour Highway Marathon.
It's all about self-driving cars these daze...
Thu Feb 25, 2021 11:03 pm
snowave wrote:I don't know how/why so many people feel like they have to do 10-15 hr day drives. Is it because they're cheap....
Not cheap about the motels, cheap about not wasting any vacation days when I was working. Twice I drove with friends to SLC for 4-day weekends, in both directions finishing the drives at 1-2AM. The longest marathon was with one other dad in January 1990 driving Adam and his 2 kids 15 hours L.A.-Steamboat. We arrived at 6:30AM and the kids who had slept 9 hours in the car were raring to go skiing. We returned home with a slightly shorter drive after the last day skiing Beaver Creek. And when we got home I slept 4 hours and then took Adam to Baldy!
James is still working and he squeezes in partial ski days upon arrival in Geneva or Zurich. He seems to have the same attitude about using vacation days I did.
I think it's different being retired. It's not a problem now to devote a day to travel and I like to limit the 700 mile days to daylight hours. 4-5 hours driving is generally the limit now for a day that includes skiing. Tseeb is retired but still seems to have the mindset about driving/skiing that I did when I was working. I also think there's a big difference in road marathons if you have more than one driver to share the load as in the 1990 example.
Fri Feb 26, 2021 10:35 am
snowave wrote:I don't know how/why so many people feel like they have to do 10-15 hr day drives. (...) Or too obsessive/anxious to get somewhere? A man thing (I've never known a woman so obsessive about getting somewhere that fast, unless its for a friend's wedding)?
Interesting point about the men/women angle; I can't imagine a woman unilaterally doing something similar although that might be a gender generalization. What can we say -- Tony is a force of nature and them's the facts, Jack!
Fri Feb 26, 2021 4:54 pm
I get it about the vacation days, as I was somewhat that way also when I worked, but still generally didn't more than ~7 hrs driving by myself. The exception was a a couple 1 day 10 hr drives to SLC and back from LA, as I think that was the longest. That's always a tough one as splitting it up always seems weird to either stay in Vegas or St. George, as both seemed too close to start or end.
The other factor is sometimes the car. When we had a Volvo XC60 turbo for a few years ... with its super comfy leather seats and very quiet ride, it was alot easier to drive further.
I'm headed up to Wallace, ID Sunday for a few days of riding next week at Silver Mountain/Lookout Pass... It's only 5:30 min, but Hwy 95 through Idaho is quite windy, and if there's snow on the road, that adds to the stress.
Fri Feb 26, 2021 8:06 pm
snowave wrote:I'm headed up to Wallace, ID Sunday for a few days of riding next week at Silver Mountain/Lookout Pass.
Starting Sunday, I'll be at Silver Mountain, 49 Degrees North, and Schweitzer.
Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:19 pm
Tony Crocker wrote:cheap about not wasting any vacation days when I was working
Spent many, many years also not 'wasting' weekend days and driving however long was necessary for skiing, MTB, hiking or etc. As a front range Coloradan I have to ask the inevitable: does is really count as a long after-ski drive when it's 4 hours to get home even though the mileage is less than 2 hours of driving? Probably one of those existential questions of life.
I used to have better tolerance for long drives. Such as multiple cross country drives as fast as I could stand (eg 3 days coast to coast).
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