Stevens Pass, WA, Feb. 20, 2019

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Stevens Pass, WA, Feb. 20, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Feb 26, 2019 3:00 pm

Tseeb and I stayed in Monroe, 1+ hour west of Stevens Pass, but still well east of Seattle, which we carefully bypassed driving from Crystal Tuesday afternoon.

The Tuesday night storm underperformed, snowing 5 inches vs. the possible 18 if the convergence had lined up where it often does per Larry Schick. However the 5 inches was light and dry and thus skied well as Crystal’s leftovers did the prior two days.

In the morning we were guided by local David Chaus, with whom we had skied at a few Epic Gatherings. We warmed up with mellow low angle powder off the Skyline chair. There were numerous foggy sectors when we arrived, but the clouds rose higher through the morning and there were a few sunny breaks in the afternoon. Temps remained in the 15F range like the prior two days.

We next rode the short but very steep 7th Heaven chair. We skied good but cut up powder on Cloud 9. I got greedy, ventured too low and far left. I got cliffed out, had to climb back up for about 5 minutes and made my way to the top of Hogsback. David and Tseeb took another lap to the base and we regrouped at the Tye Mill chair.

We skied into Stevens’ backside via the trees skier’s right of Corona Bowl. From the Southern Cross lift we skied the Polaris trees and Andromeda face. View from the top later during a sunny break:

Views up and down from halfway down the 1,773 vertical:


The south side trees are comfortably spaced. As at Crystal, light and dry new snow, cold temps and overcast preserved the snow quality. The north side trees are much denser.

We took another backside lap on the mellower Aquarius Face/Pegasus Gulch and returned to the front side via Jupiter Express. From the top we ventured through a short section of trees and moguls to get to Tye Bowl.

Tseeb is headed toward the opening.

Exiting Tye Bowl we cruised to the Hogsback base. From Hogsback we skied the mellow but usually overlooked Mirkwood trees, which David said were as skied out as he had ever seen on a new snow day. The big storm forecast plus many Seattle schools being out resulted in a big crowd. The lift capacity was up to the challenge, but snow did get skied out fast and there were lots of moguls.
Stevens claims 1,125 acres of terrain. I think it skis bigger than that, but that’s still less than half the size of Crystal with the same number of skier visits. We discussed that with David. Downtown Seattle is a bit over 2 hours from both Crystal and Stevens. But if you live north of Seattle, Crystal is a long haul with traffic though the city, and similar for south of Seattle to Stevens. So patronage is based more on where people live than the relative merits of the areas.

Our last run with David was Showcase and its nearby trees from the Kehr’s chair. After a shot break Tseeb and I returned there via Hogsback and continued up the Double Diamond lift. Overview of some of the Double Diamond terrain from a Hogsback groomer:

The gap barely visible at center is the top of Wild Katz, a long, steep and narrow mogul run which Tseeb skied on an earlier visit. We took a pass this time with much driving and Mustang Snowcat ahead of us.

We skied the wider Upper Double Diamond run.

Our second lap there was to Big Chief Bowl, where we encountered the obnoxious snowboarder Tseeb mentioned in the Ashland post.

We finished our day by riding Skyline to 7th Heaven and taking the short but steep bootpack up to Robby’s Chute. Robby’s had some good powder, especially where it opened out skier’s right of the 7th Heaven lift and continued quite a distance before merging into the Skyline groomed runs.

I skied 19,300 vertical at Stevens; Tseeb had an extra run while I was slogging out of that cliff zone.

By 4:30 we were having an early dinner in Leavenworth at Pavz Cafe Bistro, recommend by David for its excellent crepes.

Leavenworth is a big tourist town mostly in Bavarian decor.

We had a long and mostly empty haul from there to get over the border to Osoyoos to spend the night before the next 5 days of skiing in Canada.

Stevens is an impressive mountain that the vast majority of skiers would be delighted to have in their back yard. It only pales beside Crystal, which probably has the best non-destination resort terrain in North America.

Stevens was my 238th ski area and I was quite sure even before I skied there that it was the largest western area I had not skied. I do not know offhand the answer to that question now.
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Tony Crocker
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