The holiday's have come and gone and a new year has started. But some things haven't changed - the skiing has remained fantastic in the Methow Valley and the North Cascades! Here are the details:
- Nordic conditions are exceptional on all trails. We have had consistent snow to keep things white (as opposed to those pesky brown needles) and the platform is firm and fast. Methow Trails has been doing an amazing job with grooming and it certainly looks to be a long ski season!
- Hwy 20 is still closed at the Early Winter's Gate 3 miles west of Mazama. Road is in decent shape for snowmobiling but expect debris piles under the Early Winter Spires.
- Hart's Pass Rd. was supposed to be groomed for the first 3 miles on the 14th but I didn't get confirmation it was done. Otherwise - expected a very bumpy ride!
- Front Country/Lowland skiing on Sandy Butte, Rendezvous, Couger Mtn, Aspen Lake, etc... has remained good. We had almost a foot of snow on Wednesday the 11th all the way to Twisp. We had a subsequent warming but all reports came in with glowing reviews. Forecast is for more snow today, Jan. 16, but could get warm...
- WA Pass telemetry is out so don't know the current depth but expect it to be around 80" with great surface conditions. We have had consistent snow with good cold temperatures. A couple days last week had some sun on south slopes that warmed and caused some settling and some slides. A snowmobile was caught in a slide under the Early Winter Spires and another couple groups backed off Delancy Ridge when they observed significant settling. Stick to the trees and safe zones and you will find fantastic powder skiing. As always, read the NWAC site for the latest Avi situation.
- At 6000' we have received approximately 300" of snow so far this season which has created a fantastic base and people have been skiing all over the valley in places we haven't seen for the last couple years! Let's hope the promises of El Nino continue to be broken!
We are frequently asked about how to access the backcountry without a snowmobile. The simplest answer is to contact North Cascades Mountain Guides. They charge a reasonable fee to take you and your crew up on WA Pass with snowmobiles and have an awesome day of skiing tailored to your needs. www.ncmountainguides.com Another option for the dirt bags is to try to hitch a ride with other skiers. I generally suggest bringing a 60' rope and at least a 6 pack of beer to the end of Hwy 20 at 8am and start begging. Don't expect a guided tour or to get a ride back at the end of the day.
Have fun, be safe, and please remember the Goat's Beard when you need to buy some stuff!
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