Sunday, January 22, 2023

The pilgrimage has gained momentum.

By Eino Holm

Unofficial Networks, aka the Bestest Ski Blog Site in the Whole Woild, has a thumbtacked post, or whatever, on their blog currently.  Something about a hajj or, like, what y'alls is sposeta do as major skier broskis.  It's funny.  Like, who are you to tell ME what to do, Matt?! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?!?! I AM THE BEST SKIER ON THE MOUNTAIN.

I check all the cornices.

Anyway, what makes me laugh about all of these listicles, along with the twin facts that some jackass made up a cutesy and annoying term for them and that they still somehow exist, is the confidence with which folks post them.  #1 is Corbet's, natch, cos, y'know, intermediate-skier folks should book a trip, waste thousands, just to stare down into a very steep, incredibly challenging chute with a SORRY I KNOW IT'S A COOOL-WAHR mandatory air and realise they were lied to.  That skiing just isn't that easy, and that maybe, just maybe, some dud dude on the internet isn't really all that knowledgeable.

The list continues, with some random chair out east, a junk show in Tahoe, my least favourite ski area in Utah, and Alyeska.  Honourable Mention is Baker, which, well, maybe? But also maybe not, for the same reasons as Corbet's.  Baker can kill you.  (More so than most places can, not like when somebody does a routine crash and happens into a tree, which can happen anywhere, but like when a person makes a misguided but innocent left at the bottom of the Chair 5 side of Hemispheres and falls off a 200 footer and isn't seen until August.)  Let's be honest.  Most of us just want to ski.  I can speak for precisely nobody else, but since everybody does, I'll try anyway:  if I'm spending money, it's not to ride a chair folks claim is from the 40s (spoiler: it has been updated to the point where it's real dern challenging to claim it's older than my father) or to get all confused when tryna figure out Olympic Valley's crazy Spaghetti Bowl of chairs and trams and--wut?!?!--funitels and base areas and mid-mountain lodges just to get hosed by another northeast Pacific cyclone that comes in hot, but just a wee bit too far north and closes all the legit terrain with some righteous Pineapple Expressery.  If I'm spending money to ski, especially if it's at the end of a hajj, it ain't gonna be shit people do all the time.

The Back Bowls at Vail.  Supposed quiet and solitude.  People pay for this, and travel cross country.  Wut.

Here's my top 10, cos I'm too cool for just 5, with a predictable-for-me amount of uncertainty and unwillingness to say one is better than another:

- Shasta.  Seriously.  Squallywood is just up I-80 from SF, and there's like lots of houses rich folk use at least 10 days a year and there's like a lake and lots of fancy lights over on the Nevada side and basically Palisades is fine if you are looking to fulfill someone else's dream, but let's be honest: you are not Shane, and you are not Ingrid, and you are not Jonny.  Neither am I.  Save yer money, and Drive North.  (Your choice, John Hiatt or Suzy Boguss.)  Mt Shasta City is funky, weird, cool, foreign, dirty, in the trees, and, simply, not annoying like Tahoe.  Tahoe would be rad without, well, being Tahoe.  Plus, there's Pinus attenuata and Abies x shastensis on them hills. Weird is better, believe me. Also, too, as well, you just might be the best skier on the mountain, and you absolutely will not be on KT. And did you hear they built a new chair and people think it's hard to access cos you have to--gasp--ski there? Seriously.  You should read the Instagram comments.  "BUILD ME A BUS OUT OF A SNOWCAT AND PUT CARPET ON THE FLOOR AND A FEATHER BED SO I CAN GO SKI GREY BUTTE."  "I WANT A TOW ON A SLED BUT LIKE, WITH EXTRA SPECIAL SNOW PROTECTION AND MAYBE A GLASS OF PORT AND A DOG TO CUDDLE WITH COS I WANNA SKI GREY BUTTE." It's funny, but I don't get it.  Last time I was there, one simply ducked off the back side of Coyote and skied fall line to the bottom of the butte, where the chair is now.  Hm.

- Woof Crick.  I mean, how, Matt, did you miss Col-o-RAD-o?!?!?!? Everybody knows, when you list skiing, Colorado is number 1.  And, natch, Woof Crick isn't in one of your fancy multiverses or even part of the Colorado ski area exchange.  One of the chairs is called Treasure Stoke, and aren't all skiers all about the stoke?  Seriously, though, Woof Crick isn't near anything.  CW McCall aside, nobody outside knows where Woof Crick Pass even is, even, and outside of ski mag nostalgists and nerds nobody cares if there's skiing outside of Telluride or Aaahspen or Vail or Summit or Steamboat.  Or Winter Park.  (Okay, so, CO is pretty well-known.)  Anyway, to get to Woof Crick, if you are the jetsetting type, you gotta fly into Farmington UT NM (KFMN) and start asking for rides.  If you just think "it's in Colorado" and book a seat in a giant wingèd tube bound for Stapleton, you'll then be looking through the rental catalogues hoping for an Escalade with good gas mileage, cos it's a loooong damn way to the other side of the hill. Hence, hajj.  You go through places like the real South Park, Gunbarrel Station, Saguache (important cos you probly can't say it correctly), and Poncha Springs.  You'll cross the Rubicon Rio Grande, be humming Woof Crick Pass, way up on the Great Divide, truckin on down the other side, except that you don't hafta truckin on down the other side cos Woof Crick is right there on the pass.  You'll get confused again cos, of course, you'll think you're in Canada.

- Bormio.  (Seriously, Matt, how did you not Europa?) It's near the Stelvio, and, like der Schweiz, and Österreich, and when you can fly into Milano, flounder about like a tourist, try to find a Stelvio to drive up way into the Ortlers on a road called STRADA DEL PASSO DELLO STELVIO HOW COOL IS THAT.  Anyway, I got lost.  Just go.  It takes forever, and people do pilgrimages, like the real kind, through Italia all the time.  You heard it here first.

Everyone knows you hafta drive an Alfa if you are a skier.  Or something like that.

- Okay, I'll admit it, Mad River Glen (MRG) is cooler than most places.  I'd like to go there.  There's probly at least a little bit of pilgrimage-type travel involved.  Still, if I gotta go all that way, the first place in Vermont I'm skiing is Owl's Head, QC.  I mean, it's named after a dude called Owl.  And it's in Canada.  That's like, if you're going to Vermont, but you forgot and just kept going and then some Sirens called out and you took the boat into shore, and then you woke up from your dream and found some real nice poutine and hopefully a Trois Pistoles.  Seriously.  Also, I've seen pictures of the view from that place.  And it's next to Lake Memphremagog, which is a pilgrimage just saying it and also, it's kinda like Gog and Magog, and that's all sorta connotations right there.

- Bigrock, Maine.  It's way up there.  A long way from anywhere except the NWS office in Caribou.  I think you can see Canadia from the top of the big Mueller double.  I know, I know, you can see Cannuckistan from lots of ski areas, like Baker, Bromont, Mont Bechervaise, Whistler, Lake Louise, Mount Saint Louis Moonstoone, Stoneham, et al.  But those places are all IN Canada.  Just ask the locals.

That one peak at the back is in Canada and that's all that's needed, thank you very much.
Photo credit: Peter Landsman, Lift Blog.

- Lofoten.  Just go.  Seriously.  Stop arguing with me.  Say hi to my family, too, if there are any of us left in Skutvik.  Skutvik's across the water, but there's a ferry.  My grandma's cousin Bodvar painted there, and, probly not coincidentally, that part of my family is the Skutvik part.  Like, that's literally our name.  If you don't believe me, then you can take a flying f

- Manning Park.  Before you ask "where's Manning Park?" just listen.  YOU CAN SEE HOZOMEEN FROM THERE AND THAT'S LIKE JACK FRICKIN KEROUAC AND SHIT AND GOOOOOOGLE MERTH SAYS IT'S 42,753 FEET AS THE RAVEN FLIES (seriously, why do we care how the crow flies when ravens are so much cooler?!) WHICH IS LIKE, I DON'T KNOW, SOME MILES.* AND, since we're talking about long walks drives, Manning Park is a Wet Side ski joint on the Dry side of the Cascades.  Think about THAT.  I bet you didn't even know there were Cascades in Canadia.  It's a bit of a drive, 160k from Abby, and is in the Similkameen drainage, which drains to the east and is like, International and stuff.  Also a cool name.  And even though this beautiful Murray-Latta is no more, the views are unstoppable.  Did I mention Keraouc?

That's more like it.  Manning Park, BC, and yes, Hozomeen.  The big one right there.  Next to the other big ones.  Keraouc sat in a really cool shed at the top of a small peak behind that one peak, actually more of a ridgeline, and wrote a real complainy book about being lonely even though it was his choice and he was like sposeta be seeing God or something? Anyway, he missed the point so that you can get the point.  Now, go take on the day.

- Discovery, Montana.  It's in the middle of nowhere.  It's the biggest joint in the country without a detach.  If it isn't, I don't care, it still is in my mind.

- Cannon.  I mean, the name, the history, the tram (I hate trams, but I'd get over myself), Lahout's, bad weather, big mountains, the funky layout, trees, cold, rain, rime, it's got all the things.  It's so far north, if it were in Washington it'd be in Coburg, OR, just north of Eugene.  It's between two places with such storied names as Bethlehem and Woodstock.  I mean, neither is the real one, but that's okay.  Also, interestingly, the western portion of Cannon is Mittersill, Blizzard is listed as their official ski, and wouldn't you know it, BLIZZARD'S FACTORY IS IN MITTERSILL, ÖSTERREICH HOLY SHIT MIND BLOWN.

You can tell this is Skutvik because of how it is.

- -

Just kidding, I know it's not Stapleton.  It's the new Illuminati Spaceport out in the desert into which you fly on hajj.  The one with all the secret tunnels.

*8, give or take.

Bonus:  Spaghetti Bowl in SLC.  Lookit a Palisades map if you don't believe me.

- Title from REM's Pilgrimage.  But you knew that.

Monday, December 26, 2022

You've got answers? We've got questions.

 Apparently Jonathan Ellsworth of Blister Gear Review and Cody Townsend of Cody Townsend have a podcast.  I feel like these podcast things are popular.  Anyway, they asked for ski town relationship questions, and Amy and I had some, but really I'd rather ax some other types of questions instead:

1) When I was 20, I could tele 7 days a week.  It's only been 21 years, why can't I still tele 7 days a week?

I blame the push-broom on The Place That Shall Not Be Named.  But hey, limber pine!

2) How do I build a time machine?  I need to go back and salvage those two pairs of red purple aubergine Salomon S914s from the skis that weren't worthy of the bindings before selling the skis.

3) Why doesn't Mayor Lauren (or any of her predecessors) allow it to snow more in BoyCee? 75 inches in town and 450 at the hill doesn't seem like too much to ask. Baker gets like almost 1800 inches or whatever.  I may have hit the wrong unit-toggle on their snow report.

4) Why does everything hurt? We're both only in our earliest 40s.

5) How do I get people to pay me to ski while I provide nothing at all of value to them? I feel like there should be positions at ski areas for that.

"And that's when I realised that if you can ski Yawgoons, you can ski anywhere."


6) I want access to a binding bench and an open-stone bow grinder, but I don't want to change jobs.  Help!

7) Why is Vail?

8) I want my Forester to act like my ol' GL wagon most of the time except when it needs to be fancy like warm seats and lots of cupholders and modern airgoonoomics and that 6 speed (well, 4 and 2 halves).  Can you go tell Subaru to do that for me? Thanks.  Remind them that ABS is great when you are actually braking, but not when you're just turning corners with vim and vigor and it's snowing and the person in front of you is, um, scared, and I'll just goose er a little and HOLY SHIT WHY IS MY CAR TRYNA SHAKE ITSELF TO DEATH I SAID OFF NOT SLIGHTLY LESS ON

9) All the mainstream skis I like are expensive and instead I want custom that's more o no I broke

10) Salomon made the 747 back in like '87 and nothing since has really improved on it in any meaningful, life changing way.  Maybe since you guys know people, you could have them make a run in that sexy mid 90s 997 Equipe red for me.  I'm an N-9.5, but I like the symmetry of a 10, so tell them to make it 5-15 (I think the OG was 6-14, which is totally fine, but, like, FIFTEEN) so I's right in the middle, please and thanks.  Also, make sure the toe is 1-2mm higher than the heel.  Enough of this needing to modify bindings to do em right.

This one.  Right here.  Like, all the time.  Yes, I can have an emotional connection with a binding I've only skied once, on my oldest brother's 204 Pre SmpnROther on Kemper's** in 1996.

11) Or they could do it in that rad 90s Tyrolia FreeFlex 14 purple.  You know the one.  It had the gull wing brakes.  Yeah.  Totally.

12) Y'know what, I also want a ornj 'n green pair.

13) One of my favourite Christmas records from growing up isn't on Spotify.  How can you help?

14) Dave Matthews wrote some decent songs 25+ years ago.  What happened?

15) What's better? 20" blower on boiler plate or 6" of day-old consolidated?

16) Yer both wrong.  It's July at Chinook with some tourists wondering just what in the heck yer doin.

This isn't July.  But you get it.

17) How do I get to Quebec when I don't have a passport or know how to travel or can't cos money?

18) Howcome ain't Idaho don't gots Orca?

19) Mont Sutton.

Smpn smpn OH SHIT I FORGOT THE LATKES

20) Why all them internet recipe sites got life stories 'fore you find the ingredients.

21) I don't believe in Alaska?

22) I bet you don't know how to say sauna in Svenska.*

22) Why skeening so spensive!

23) Do you like apples?

I like apples.  How you like them apples?  This one's a Sugar Bee.  I miss The State of Apples.

24) Is Vermont just New Hampshire without Chris Sununununununununu?

25) How do I go back to Winter Solstice in 1999 cos it was rad there was a biiiiiiiig moon also cold and my wipers didn't work cos inversion cold and why was I alone and was that actually a chupacabra I thought they only liked the desert not 60 inches a year Enumclaw OH NO RUUUUUN NO WAIT YER IN THE TERCEL GIVER PEEL OUT DOUGHNUTS YEAH

26) Pa says Garmish-Partenkirchen is real but I've never seen it...is The Zugspitze also real?

27) Good thing that one guy from Rossi NW gave me this apron LATKES ARE AWSUM HOLY SHIT I EXCITED GIMME GIMME GIMME

28) What's the better ski town rig, Toyotacoma or Outback?

Mine never got stuck.  How bout yours? (Photo: Ben Hsu)

29) Is skiing really worth never seeing your out-of-state family over the Holidays?

30) How do you stay humble when you actually are the best skier on the mountain?

31) My trainee is faster on the race course than me and all, but I'm still better, right? Right?!

31) Why do nieces and nephews grow up so fast?

32) Why isn't good opportunity and good skiing in the same place?

33) I don't believe in Alterra.


Bring back the Riblets and that sweet flattop and those coveralls and enough of this bougie corporate bul HEY LOOKIT EAST PEAK IS FILLED IN 
(Photo vis Flickr, courtesy of the Forest Service NW division.)


34) Wait.  Hannah's got an Audi?

35) How is it 9.00 already?

36) Why did it rain all over our snow?

37) When do I get to skate on the roads?

38) HOW WE OLD

39) Man, I really liked that Karhu Jak.

Karhu

*Joke's on you, it's bastu!
**I swear I've never poached, Uwe.  NEVER.

Yes, that's a 90s Radio Shack ad we're referencing. And, if we're being honest, the best ski bum rig has got to be that funky mid-to-late 80s 4wd Tercel wagon.  Just drop that tyre pressure and you might even make it up Austin in 4 Low.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Middle of the day; already gettin dark outside

By Eino Holm

One year, we opened on the 4th of November.  Something like 18" new on basically dirt, weeds, dead beargrass stalks, and some leftover teaser-crust.  I was ecstatic.  Also, not alone.  A solid handful of us, whoever we were, were there.  Green Valley skied the best.  Maybe it was the only thing that really skied.  If I remember correctly, and I usually sometimes am sort of able to, we had to download on 11 (Chinook).  I think 10 and 3 were skiable.  I may be conflating two memories here, but I think I skied the morning and then headed to work.  In my ever idealised memory, it was in the Safeway, but it could have been later, when I was at Performance Bikes, pretending to know what I was doing.  At any rate, I skied horribly.  It was opening day, there were eighteen inches of unsettled Cascady manna on just enough crust to cover some of the dirt.  The bottom of 10 is a wet mess when not covered in snow, and otherwise it is a wet mess that is covered in snow, not always fully.  Several small springs keep the hillside muddy and alive with black flies in the summer.  Mel's Left (how a cat driver trail name got on the official map, I don't know) has this rad soft right-hander with a big enough rollover that I can still see Mike Kupsis gettin rad on some big Dynastar Bigs back in '000.  Mute grab, check.  Tele, natch.  Anyway, I didn't get rad, and when I tried to turn toward 11 to download, well, my teles and I had an argument.

See, the XXXs wanted to stop moving.  Like, now.  In fact, they wanted so badly to stop that both tips dug into the mud that was quickly spreading in the eighteen melting inches of early November gift.  I, you know, wanted to slide on over to the top of 11, step on them Targa heels, jump off the skis, and jump on the chair.  The skis won the argument at a trot.  Not a chance.  My logic must have been flawed.  I was muddy, pancaked in one puddle or other, cursing, sore already and the work day hadn't even started.  It was a stark enough moment that my memory of the day stops there, face down in the mud and maybe a little embarrassed.


Cooking up the White Ribbon of Death.  Bogus Basin, November '021.

Every year, ski areas around the world compete to open first. Some cheat, and locate themselves on the side of an Alp with access to glacial pitches in, like, Austria or wherever, and therefore are either never closed or are open in September. Here in the States and Canada, it's usually man-made, a contest between places as big and as corporately backed as Keystone, as famous as Lake Louise, or as small as Wild Mountain, Minnesota. Every so often, when the planets align and it's too warm in Summit or Rutland or Clear Creek counties, but the jet revs up and the weather pilot gooses the throttle a little, Crystal, Baker, Timberline, and a handful of other Northwest Nuggets vie to capture the flag. I definitely don't remember if 4 Nov was the continent's, the country's, or even the West's opening day, but it was Washington's, and all ours. I don't even really remember the rest of the year, but that day, that glorious, thigh-burning, poorly-skied day, that will be there along with all those closing days shoveling snow or scrubbing the tune shop floor in a white button-down and FarFar's tie cos, well, why the heck not?

November skiing is special, a kind of niche that many folks fight for and many other folks just do not understand.  Some times it's a 30 minute line at the bottom of BMX at A Basin.  For me, the best is '007, the year I got fired by a guy in Sumner who was too bloody stupid to never hire me in the first place and I spent all of November on unemployment waiting for a guaranteed ski tuning job that would start, as luck would have it, on opening day.  Crystal opened 1 December that year, got washed out by an historical rain cycle, and somehow managed (sorry, not somehow managed, it's Washington, home of the top 3 verified yearly snow totals IN THE WORLD*) to reopen the next weekend.  Driving up on Sunday, 2 Dec, was a wonderful gorp of axle-deep slop on the highway.  I got stuck by the late and lamented Crystal Inn cos the driver of the minivan next to me had parked too closely and I was worried if I goosed 'er the Legacy would slide sideways and smashify the damn thing.  Anyway, the dude from Robert's Rescue some random guy (don't sue 'im!) happened by with a tow strap that I just now remembered I also had in the trunk at the time, under the mat, and we shoveled all the snow we could between me and the Caravan.  He yanked me out with what I think I remember was a Grand Cherokee, in the process only sort of scraping the whole side of the offending minivan from tail pipe to headlight with my 30th-Anniversary-Gold, 5 speed Legacy L 2.2 wagon with the all-wheel drive that I then the very next day bought new snow tyres for cos, wouldn't you know it, studs are studly.


Nope.  Not even once.  Solitude, UT, 10 November '022.  I think the correct Norske phrase is uff da. Pic courtesy of some poor sap Jake Nixon (@thejakenixon on the tweeter, while it lasts) via Unofficial

Now, where was I? Right, November of 2007.  Paul Jr of Bonney Lake Bicycles of Sumner, WA (speaking of uff da; that shop name...) was advertising for help in August on his reader board, and I was advertising for getting the heck out of Performance Bikes.  It was a match made in at least the upper level of Purgatory until, in late October, he came to his senses and realised carrying an extra full-timer over the winter would be expensive and fired me.  He claimed I was a "bad salesman", which, well, maybe yer wrong cos I sold a damn Special Ed Endurbro in an October rainstorm, and specced and sold a drop-bar fat bike before The Radavist really hit its stride, but also, d'uh, I'm a mechanic, a cynic, and a sometimes-angry Sámi who has no idear why the heck these people keep coming in and asking questions the answers of which are super easy to find out by paying attention and not being a moronic suburban brain dead mediocre white as-----

I got lost again.  Apologies.  

At any rate, Jr laid me off, and that was that.  Blissful unemployment.  Brad answered my queries quickly, that he could totally use me part time starting opening day if I was just a wee bit flexible with my schedule, and being a single, unemployed, re-upping ski bum, I obviously was.  I was most excited about the down time, something I have not gotten since.  I imagined writing epic poetry (I'd prolly {haHA} even call it poesy cos that's what other people did who were like, hip and shit) in cafés with pretty baristas who'd flirt just enough to wake me up.  I'd go for long rides out at Sawyer on the XLT or the Monocog, and wander up to Corral Pass to stare into the abyss.  The road was still open then. I settled for the Starbucks in Sumner, road rides on the TCR cos I sold all of my dirt-worthy bikes, and the hope that I could one day again afford the alpine boot I returned, a Salomon Impact 10, the stiffest, most legit alpine boot I'd yet tried on in my blissful ignorance, to cover costs since I had (checks non-existant-at-the-time internet banking) $0 in savings at that exact moment.  With unemployment, returned boots, and three bikes sold, I was sittin' pretty.  Enough to not get a paycheck for 6 weeks and yet never feel the pinch I so often have felt.


Sexy or just weird Frenchist æsthetic? You decide.  Also, the buckle retension springs broke and would poke my hands.  Blood, man.  It's a trip.

Phew.  Then, it was quiet.  The last few days of October disappeared.  I assume I got up and did things, but I don't recall.  I do recall talking to Doc Clark about a skin condition (that I still have, so he was wrong) which he thought was MRSA.  I hate antibiotics.  So much farting and uncomfortable pooping.  Couldn't even enjoy Mama Stortini's on Chris' birthday.  I think one of the days in early November I went up to Greenwater and hung out with Liza, which is something we did then.  We haven't spoken in over a decade, and now that I'm way out into my 40s, I'm genuinely sad about that, and I know I'm at fault.  Anyway, she had just got a new-to-her black Impreza 5 speed.  It was a fun little car to drive, more responsive than my grocery-getter Legacy.  Or was that '008?  Again, memory.  Sheesh.  Somewhere about Chris' birthday, it started snowing in the hills, and by Veteran's Day, Naches Peak was skiable.  I ticked off little lines that in Summer (the Other Ski Season) aren't lines cos the snow is so deep and everything is just ramps.  One line I had to rappel in on an Abies lasiocarpa bough.  It was glorious.  Liza called my new-to-me flip phone and told me to do it.

I got four days on snow in November, a number I now recognise as unimaginative, but which may have been due to constraints I am not now remembering.  The last of which was a day of really, really, really nice myth-snow out in the Triangle Bowl with Brian Patrick.  I'd got to Chinook Pass later than I should have, which was early by the standards of my current situation.  People were parked every which way, Suburbans and whatever stacked on top of Legacies and beater Broncos from Lakewood.  I was pissed.  Full-on rage.  I mean, who the heck were these people?  Chinook is MY personal ski area!  I threw skin to ski, boot to floppy G3 binding, kit to snow, and ran.  By the time I reached the saddle between Naches and Triangle Peaks, I almost threw up.  I'd made the two-ish miles in 15 or so minutes.  I know what sorta mile that makes.  Sue me.  I was fitter then.  After retching, I laughed a little, watched the trees a minute, and started looking for tracks to follow.  On the move, I ate my apple.  I love apples.  I summited the Triangle easily, and stood there taking in the view.  Brian came up from below, and we exchanged shit-talking pleasantries about the conditions, the absurd crowd down at the pass, where we'd been all summer, y'know, life.  We made two runs in what is still the best November snow I've skied.  I think he stayed, beast that he is.  I headed back for the truck, and dinner at my parents.  It felt, for that moment, like I'd arrived.  (Today, I'm always surprised how quickly that sort of feeling can dissipate.)


November turns are better far than November sitting-on-the-couch.  Hiding from the Eye of Sauron, Thanksgiving, '022, Bogus Basin.  Mambo Left and Right.

For all the good skiing that November held, and this November recently passed, most early season turns are like last Sunday at the local Slop House.  I damn near cry for the feeling of being back on snow, and the turns are meh.   My feet hurt, my lungs hurt, and I wish there was a cello following me playing that one Bach suite.  They are irreplaceable, full stop.  And at the same time, forgettable, full stop.  So many Amerikanski folks associate skiing with the calendar pages between Thanksgiving and President's Day.  I just don't get it.  For me, fall skiing is borderline religious, but rarely is it good.  That month, November of '007, is the only one that stands out.  There are blips and blorps, yes, like Veteran's day of '005, skiing chalk (?!?!?!?!) on the Front Side on the ol' 1080 Gun, or Sweet Revenge and Bear Hollow with 3800 of my closest Utah buds in Northern Utah's worst winter on record, but otherwise, it's the snow and the wind and the first taste that I actually crave.  Chinook Pass (always, forever) in the first snow.  Chris' Civic, enough snow that it's white, and cold, and the divide between now and never, between here and gone.

-

One memory, just cold, an inch or two on 542 above the E Lodge.  All Saints' Day, 2000.  Eli's Godmother's birthday, if I am not mistaken. John and Lizz just got married, and I am just lost.  The inertia of 14 years of school is waning, my compass utterly unmagnetic.  I can't really tell where to go from here.  A couple months later, I just give up.  22 years later, I'm still a junior in college, like my nieces, though they'll stroll on past me this coming January.  There are a lot of people at Heather Meadows, some successful, most just wandering around like the four of us.  I think Lizz' friend Andrea is with us.  Does she still have Grandma Linnea's swivel rocker?  Maybe.  I think Kelly, friend of a friend, still has the dresser.  Or they had them, and who knows?  I am ashamed, from time to time, of how many cars I let fall off the tracks back then.  I held shit together for a while, barely, and then just, well, didn't.

Even so, this afternoon, 1 November 2000, all is well.  Everything is in front of me.  Table, Pan Dome, Herman, all above me.  God, too, if that's how this works.  Cold, low-angle sun, damp, Whatcom County, almost Canada; Border Peaks and Sefrit, Goat and Tomyhoi, Larrabee and Yellow Aster to the North, and to the East.  The cardinal directions that as a child I was certain held meaning beyond simply pointing the way.

-

Title from Zoë Muth's Taken All You Wanted. "Every day, about this time, this time of year, we lose a little bit o' light."  My parents' house is behind a 1000' peak, and this time of year, the sun goes down about 3 in the day.  I can't shake the feeling.

* I hear tell of much higher snowfalls, but without verification.  The point isn't that these three totals are absurd, or verified, just that I like the Cascades like some folks like cheese or The Beatles or Shania Twain.


Sunday, November 6, 2022

Stranger than known

By Eino Holm

As the joke goes, I am not superstitious, but I am at least a little stitious.

I can't remember the exact date.  January of '005, good timing if you think about it.  I was managing a bike shop in Tacoma, living in Puyallup, stable and away from the hill for the first time in five years.  I say managing not because that was my job, but cos the actual store manager was flighty.  The sort who'd wait until Tuesday to post the schedule for the week, which started on Sunday, two days prior.  I woke up on my day off, and just couldn't raise the mustard for the long drive to Crystal, even though it was cold in the valley and had recently snowed down to the water.  I rode the Monocog out at Sawyer instead.  The dirt was fast, and the riding good.  Traction for days. Just warm enough that my lungs worked well.  This sounds like I'm starting a narrative for some Dirt Rag Mag stoke piece, I can already tell.

It isn't for Dirt Rag, though.  Maurice and friends gave up the ghost a long time ago.  

It started raining the next day, that legendary PNW kind that just slides into Winter's DMs and leaves without so much as a by your leave.  Snowfall had been sparse, and what stayed behind when the Pineapple shifted east was a meager and thinning ghost of an El Niño snowpack.  Crystal stayed open into February, somehow.  I ruined a Vølkl P40 on skiers' right of Green Valley, only got one memorable pow day, and generally bemoaned the state of things.  I skipped First Closing Day, thinking it'd be pea soup milkbird and not worth much, but somehow the storm track slid north and it was a beautiful spring day.  There was even a shot in the paper of Karel Sir in the Valley looking, um, out of time, as he always did.  Probly some purple onesie with futuristic silver shoulder extensions or whatever.  It was annoying just how good of a skier he was.  Anyway, the photo was in the Seattle Times.  Or the P-I.  Or like, the Evening News.  The point is, I still regret that I skipped that day.

At some point that spring, the tap turned back on and the Cascades got at least a solid taste.  Baker finished the year with 464", most of which fell from late March on.  A good year of snowfall here in the desert is 200".  Winter of '99, the Big Year, Baker cleared 300" of snowpack.  It takes lots of snowfall to make any snowpack.  When you get used to snowpacks deeper than many joints' entire winter snowfall, 464" just isn't that much.  Somewhere in there, as well, I sort of realised that I really shouldn't miss chances to ski.  They might just never return.  I don't remember the turning on of a lightbulb, I was simply resolved.  It felt a bit like when I was bumping chairs at the bottom of 6 and asked Sharon the math teacher patroller which boot she put on first and with a slight hesitation, she said "Right.  You?" and with the same slight hesitation, I realised that even though I'd never thought about it until that exact moment, it was always the left.  Always.  It has been twenty-two years since then, and still, I always pull that left boot on first.  If for some reason I start in on the right foot, I get a little confused and have to stop, and then start again with the left.

Okay, maybe moderately stitious.

15 March 2020. I went, and got my two pre-surgery pow laps of the winter.


Last winter wasn't a huge one.  We had a great start, with that famous longwave La Niña pattern setting up in our favour.  As near as makes no difference, it was up there with Decembers like '016 and '98.  Just kept coming.  Somewhere around mid-January the meteorological powers that be turned the tap damn near off.  A little late for a typical January drought, but whatever.  It didn't really snow until after we closed in early April.  In that time, I had some phenomenal days chasing chalk in the trees off Three and tryna lay them railroad tracks as deeply as my ability and (currently) 250 pounds would allow.  Or at least as cleanly and consistently as I am able.  I'll admit there were days where the chalk was more like the board than the writing implement.

All the way through, I heard grumbling.  That same grumbling we heard in UT back in '015, or at Mt A in '012, or at Baker in '001.  "It's not snowing enough."  "It's too sunny."  "It's not sunny enough."  "Maybe the snow will be powdery on the 'Backside'."  (My personal favourite.  As though somehow there were an entirely different weather regimen just over the ridgeline.)

While chatting with the In-Laws' friendly, largely intelligent neighbours on a Sunday evening last spring, both spouses agreed with fair zealotry that the past winter had been terrible.  T-e-r-r-i-b-l-e.  I was apoplectic.  Thankfully, this apoplexia often fully shuts off the part of my brain which is responsible for speech.  How is it possible, when all I did was have good fun skiing all winter, for them to completely miss out?  Clearly, there's some cognitive dissonance here.  Skiing is fun, whatever the medium.  So-called "bad" days stand out for me, simply because they are so damn rare.  I do not cherry-pick days, and only rarely skip a trip to the hill.  Very, very rarely.  I don't feel like I have some special insight into enjoying bad conditions.  I simply like skiing.  I constantly find new reasons for doing so.  I truly don't understand what these folks are looking for in life.  The husband of this duo claims certainty that he'll ski until either he dies or physically cannot, and yet, somehow, this winter was T-e-r-r-i-b-l-e?  I am so confused.  He loves skiing so much that at 50 he can claim he'll ski another 40 years, and yet he thinks a slightly drier-than-desired winter is not so much below average as T-e-r-r-i-b-l-e?

This cat knows.


Catherine (she's Crimski in my phone) once told me about her FOMO, which at the time wasn't the hip jargon it is now.  Fear of missing out.  Sounds about right, pop-psychology aside.  First real pow line I ever slayed, to use yet more annoying popular parlance, was due to just such an urge.  Remy had just ducked under the rope at the top of the Cache Run, bout 2.30 in the afternoon, That Winter.  I was 17, skiing pretty decently for an untrained high schooler.  I'd skipped school cos I knew that my repeated Calculus 2 class just didn't need my attention that day, and the snow did.  I got to the hill a little after opening cos I had to pretend for Ma that I'd headed to class, which was a half hour away at Harvard on the Hill, and my first class was at 9.  I couldn't leave early enough to get to the hill on time cos I had to make a show of heading the other way at the correct time.

Remy looked a little peeved at the time, staring down some random High School Joey with a crappy goatee--it was '99, after all--and skinny skis.  I asked if it was worth it, and he just glared.  I took that as tacit affirmation.  I never had the presence of mind to thank him, even though I tuned his skis a handful of times between '007 and '011.  It was worth it, and more.  Twenty turns, good rhythm, 6 or 8 of that mythical day-old consolidated.  One run, 24 years on, and I hope to never forget it.  I could have just kept skiing on past, knowing how hard the bootpack out would be, but I couldn't shake my own nascent FOMO.  Presented with the same options ever since, if safe enough, I have nearly always chosen to say "F(&* it.  You don't know if you don't go."  Ham cramps on Fryingpan be damned.  Ham cramps in a fancy Issaquah sushi joint be damned.  (That one was kind fun, to be honest.  Catherine just said "TURN AROUND LEMME PUNCH YOU" and then smashed my hamstrings with her fists quite aggressively.  It worked.)

-

I remember the wooziness and the grass in my facemask.  I could barely stand up trying to open the outside door to the locker room.  My arm just felt dead.  

It was our weekly 8th grade varsity football challenge for who'd start the following game at a given position, and that week it was just head-to-head shoving.  Whoever was still forward of scrimmage by the whistle won the start.  I was the starting centre, and Aram was second-string.  I drove Aram back about eight or ten yards.  I didn't have time to even congratulate myself.  Aram tripped, and I landed nose-down in the grass, my right fist on his chest protector.  Jay Fox had pushed Nick Tanner about eight yards, and when one of them tripped, they were right next to us.  They landed with Nick's back protector directly on my elbow.  The ER doc told me it was a really nice looking break.  Clean across both radius and ulna, with no dislocation or compound fracturing.  Season over.  I still have the callus on my right middle finger from learning how to hold a pen differently than before.

Long about early November, it started snowing allegro con brio, and Crystal opened around Chris' birthday on the 8th.  I watched from town as Grass Mountain turned snow-pink in the sunset, arm still in a cast.  It didn't matter that I'd successfully challenged Amber for first chair percussion in Concert Band or that in general I skied strongly enough to not worry about my well-protected bones, I couldn't go to the hill.  I held this against football such that I never played again.  The only playing I did at games in High School was on the snare drum.  (And the tambourine that one game.  I will never forgive that.)

-

Warren Miller says, "Remember:  If you don't do it this year, you'll be one year older when you do."  Sometimes what I hear him say is, "Remember:  If you don't do it this year, these precise conditions will never occur again and this exact experience will be lost, or worse, experienced by some bougie turd who doesn't understand the value of the experience, and you'll hate not only them, who you already do hate, but even a little bit yourself for not having the gumption to wake up and start moving in the right direction."

 Maybe I am super stitious.

Title from The Byrds psychadelic folk-rock classic "Eight Miles High". I'm no Tambourine Man.



Friday, October 28, 2022

1140, or Why You Can't Trust Numbers, So Here's a List of Numbers

By Eino Holm

The Pacific Northwest is a consistently misunderstood place.  It is home to cities with some of the lowest precipitation totals in the country: Yakima receives 8 inches in a year, Bend gets 11, Boise 12. It has vast arid regions, places bigger than some eastern states, where precip comes exactly as it does in the more famous deserts to the south.  Infrequent and mild winter snow, and periodic summer thunderstorms.  Monsoonal pushes don't happen this far north very often, and in summer, neither do Pacific systems.  Seattle, that northwestiest of Northwest places, is dry basically from the middle June to early October.  If you've ever lived there, or spent time there, you know it may not look like the dry of the desert, but little to no measurable precip falls in that time.  This year, it's the middle of October and I don't think it's rained more than a drip or two up there since June.

Oregon, Washington, and North Idaho. - Brandt and Ryan (The Owner), the only exactly repeated answer.

Is it still the Northwest if you can actually see the volcano?

The general consensus, though, is one of consistently gray, mopey skies, and torrents of water.  If a movie or tv show is set in Seattle, say, or Portland, the rain is always heavy, aggressive, and very visible.  That is not the case.  Nor are the rains aggressive.  They often are unrelenting and destructive in the Wettest Season, 15 Oct to 15 Feb; it will be raining, maybe 5 inches in a cycle, and without the perspective or a puddle or the feel of the water on one's face, it is perfectly possible to think it had already stopped raining.

Oregon and Washington. - Dr J, "Reverend Doctor Super Genius"

Even the boundaries of the PNW are passive-aggressively controversial.  In informal personal polling of random folks (okay, friends, family, and coworkers) and in somewhat partially official research (wikipedia and the internet), the most consistent idea is "Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, except, y'know, not all of it."  I am fiercely (well, not fierce, I'm Norwegian fer heck's sake) of the PNW, and I have lived in its heart and on its periphery.  From the lower Salish Sea Basin and the upper drainages of two small but high-flow Salish rivers to the desert of southern Idaho, the Mediterranean oak savannah of southern Oregon, and Ogden, Utah, not really the northwest at all but good for perspective, and I think all of the ideas are defensible.

From Donny BoBo* to that one place in Alaska. - Dino Voulaj

The most codified of the boundaries seem to be the Pacific, and the 42nd parallel.  Even those aren't wholly rigid.  The 42nd is utterly arbitrary and unnecessarily unyielding.  The ocean is, well, have you been to Brookings during a vintage January Chetco Effect? 80 degrees, fire weather, a bit like Calabasas.  Not northwesty at all.

Washington, Oregon except the Great Basin, Idaho north of the Snake, west of US 93. - Brother John

Definitely PNW

It seems everyone is trying to put their interpretation of the phrase into a solid quasi-national entity. We are so used to and governed by boundaries that any notion of fluidity makes people uncomfortable. I have heard from folks who grew up back east that the PNW is just the strip of land from the Cascade Crest to the coast, either because they heard the PNW is wet and that's where the wet is, or because it's a solid, knowable boundary. As with all things, knowable is one thing, and solid is another entirely. Medford is west of the Oregon Cascade Crest, but averages just 18" of water a year. Kellogg, Idaho, is 300 or so miles east along a sometimes boring I-90 from the crest, and at above 30", averages only a Yakima's year shy of Seattle.

West of the Rockies, from Tahoe to the Bering Strait. - Crimski

In The Good Rain, Tim Egan describes the Northwest as the "reach of the Columbia." This, finally, sounds somewhat sensible.  The Columbia, after all, is a World River.  Not as well known as the Ganges or the Mekong, nor as big, but it drains significant portions of one Canadian province and four American states, and minor portions of three other states.  The bar at its mouth is dangerous and deadly and utterly humbling and beautiful.  The highest point along its crest is, understandably, Columbia Crest, the highest point on Tahoma.  The river drains the western slopes of the Canadian Rockies, vast and semi-obscure plains, giant spires of granite and anger from Valemount, BC (which is, like, WAAAAAY up there) to Nevada, northwesternmost Utah, and the Tetons. So, again, another solid boundary that is not so solid.  In fact, one of the furthest points in the entire basin from the Pacific is, naturally, the headwaters of Pacific Creek in the Teton Wilderness, well east of the Teton range itself, at a unique spot where one creek separates into two creeks that drain into different oceans.  This is Wyoming, obviously, which has for its eastern geography plains that are part of the Great Plains.  The Plains owe their arid existence to the Rockies, which are obvs east of the west which is OW MY HEAD.

West of where all the scrubby landscape begins. - Taylor

Are we looking out of the PNW into the Inland NW? (Screenshot of Mission Ridge's well-placed summit cam.)

This is my central problem with the idea of boundaries.  Vague and hard to defend.  Unnecessary, as we all came from the same ancestor, which to me suggests commonality of purpose and need, our perpetual and deadly desire to prove that wrong aside.

Cascadia.  - Dustin

The point? Other than truly enjoying good debate silly argument, it's skiing.  The American portion of the PNW has around 45 ski areas.  Some big, some little, some famous, some, well, most folks don't know Rotarun from Rotorua.  (I see you raising your hand in the back, New York.  You win. 52 ski areas, according to the NSAA.)  As we shift borders around for one reason or another, the number rises and falls.  Someone in passing mentioned Sun Valley isn't PNW, but Bogus is.  Trouble with that is that I can see the same peaks from the ridgelines of each mountain.  But then again, saying Bogus is a Rocky Mountain ski area kinda rattles my teeth a little, cos BoyCee just feels absolutely nothing like Albuquerque, and yet they'd be categorised together if we took everything literally.  Peakbagger says Brundage is in the Rockies, and Tamarack is in the Columbia Plateau, but you can see each ski area from the other on a clear day.  So, since categories are kinda silly, I'll just stick with the simplest answer: Washington, Idaho, and Oregon, and, like, one small part of California cos I want to and also volcanoes.  Major continental ranges and rivers are part of multiple regions.  Rather than solely defining the region, I'd say they simply play a part.  Definitely a big part, but they never tell the whole story.

As much as I'd like Southern Idaho to also be a part, I don't think it is. - Jake

Which finally brings me to a conclusion of sorts.  I was riding Chair 2 at Bogus the other day, Summer Only Riding Park Closing Day, with a remote-worker guy from some to-me-unknown place.  He was asking all sorta questions, and being me, I could not help but answer them honestly.  This is to say I hemmed and hawed and told him to define his terms more acutely.  "Does Bogus get many powder days?" begs for clarification; how much is a pow day? "Eight inches or more," he said, surprisingly confidently.  I mean, I've skied "powder" that was three inches overnight, and it outskied some ten inch days, but whatever, yeah, let's just pick a random number.  At Bogus, not many.  

All of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, and Montana and Wyoming might be. - GMRII

Not just potatoes.

At any rate, he also asked if I could compare Bogus to Tamarack.  (Bigger, and smaller at the same time.  Like so many things.  Srsly, can you actually not figure these things out from just skiing? That's how I know these things, and I don't have the privilege of moving around at will while holding down a job.)  I took him at his word and said, simply, that they are different.  They require different skill sets, and if you've the money for new or the patience to buy used, different gear.  He tried to drill down on the exact size again, and when I said Bogus has over 1000 more skiable acres than Tamarack, he seemed surprised.  (He also had never heard of Baker, so maybe I'd set my bar too high.)  Bogus is bigger than Sun Valley, too, also, even with the new expansion.  I find this sorta underdog-punching-up scenario cool, and I relish the opportunity to share such things with folks who don't already know such things.  I don't know why, but it gives me some significant satisfaction to see a little brain-gear smoke out the ears when I say "Mt A has a higher base elevation than Bachelor." 

 Didn't you ask that last week? - Chris

When I got home, I looked for a published list of PNW ski areas by size, and did not find one.  Some other blog or mag from way back or other random collection of 1s and 0s might have something, but herewith is what I could find from surprisingly unverifiable Wikipedia articles and ski area website infos, with any ties alphabetised to pretend I'm not biased, and maybe a comment or two:

- Bachelor, 4600 skiable acres, when it's sunny.
- Schweitzer, 2900
- Bogus, 2600, on weekends and if you aren't afraid of a little willow-whipping in your pow-slash routine.  Seriously, just try it.  Almost all of it goes, and the parts I can think of that don't are right under Chair 6, so Patrol can find you and people can yell really helpful things from the chair like "That's a creek you're stuck in!" or "Hey! You're almost there!"
- Crystal, 2600
- Sun Valley, 2400, but that's after a very recent expansion and includes Dollar, which is a small bit of marketing shammery.
- 49 North, 2325
- Hood Meadows, 2150, and like Bachelor, that is only when it's sunny.  These Cascade volcanoes have a way of being stormy for days or weeks or months (1999) at a time.
- Mission Ridge, 2000
- Snoqualmie Pass, 1994, the combined total of 4 actual ski areas, one of which--Hyak--is rarely open, and which can only be fully connected by car or by paragliding off Denny.  Also, "Summit-at-Snoqualmie" is just artificially fancy.  East to west, it's Hyak, Ski Acres, Snoqualmie Pass, and Alpental. Regular-sized marketing spammery.
- Brundage, 1920
- Mt Spokane, 1704
- Timberline, 1685, but that's combined with the former Summit Pass Ski Area, which Timberline recently purchased but which is not yet connected without creative skiing, and which also is maybe never fully skiable because (according to a dude I talked to on Palmer who totally had an Employee Jacket and spoke with what felt like much authority) the Forest Circus doesn't allow them to run Jeff Flood while Palmer is also running.  Also, like, when them Pacific cycles is slamming the side of Wy'east, Palmer is buried, and when the Palmer chair itself is melted out and runnable, the lower mountain is melted out to dirt, mostly.  So, maybe a lot of marketing scammery.  The views from Palmer and the Magic Mile are downright righteous, though.  No marketing needed.
- Silver Mtn (Some still call it Jackass, cos, why not?), 1600
- White Pass, 1402
- Soldier, 1150
- Stevens, 1125
- Pebble Creek, 1100
- Tamarack, 1100.  This tie is an interesting one.  Both ski tall and narrow, with some real challenge in the woods when you know where to go.  Beyond that, they have almost nothing in common save that they are both, indeed, ski areas in Idaho.
- Lookout Pass, 1023, expanded this year and with plans (and, I think, the Okay from whomever or whatever) for more.
- Anthony Lakes, 1000
- Baker, 1000.  I'll pause here to let you decide whether or not you believe that one.  I love Anthony Lakes without any qualification, but in my mind, I can fit the entire place within the confines of the front side of Pan Dome at Baker. Then again, my entire point here is that definitions and numbers don't tell the whole story.

Views, a Riblet triple, Abies lasiocarpa, good snow, lesser-known mountain range? I'm in. (Anthony Lakes, photo by Snowsnapper, public domain.)

- Mt Hood Ski Bowl, 960
- Lost Trail, 900.  Hey.  It's got at least 13 turns in Idaho.  And besides, it's within the Reach of the Columbia.
- Hoodoo, 800
- Kelly Canyon, 640, sadly, no longer serviced by the legendary homemade Riblet lookalike they built from copied, possibly stolen, schematics.  Kelly's is now open Sundays, and according to my source, who like, knows the new owner cos bikes or maybe Rexburg is a small town; there might now exist within the creek drainage alcohol, which if one is so inclined, could be supped for the purposes of mild intoxication, known in many circles as "a good buzz".
- Mt Shasta, 635 as of this winter with the new Gray Butte chair.
- Willamette Pass, 555, with the additional claim (for now) of having the only 6 pack in Oregon, and with the dubious and maybe not measurable "steepest groomer in the US", RTS, which supposedly overtops 50 degrees. Might need to head there some day.  Or ask my niece at U of O for a report.  She's from Colorado, and as everybody knows, when you list skiing, Colorado is Number One.
- Loup Loup, 550.  I've ridden their chair, but never been to Loup Loup.  Think about that.
- Pomerelle, 500, with some rad orographic snow showers if the flow is right.
- Bluewood, 400.  I just have to point out here that I love literal names.  Bluewood is in the forests of the Blue Mountains.  Perfect.  I also love scientific binomials that are just double names--tautonyms, apparently--like Pica pica and Alces alces.
- Warner Canyon, 300.  Or 200, but as I pointed out above, it's surprisingly challenging to verify these numbers with my limited researching skills.
- Cottonwood Butte, 260, the largest (claimed) area without a chairlift.
- Hurricane Ridge, 250, but according to the kids I worked with at Baker who grew up in Port Angeles, it's like, totally not about the inbounds, man, it's like, endless and stuff.  One of those kids is, like, a big cheese at Baker now.
- Mt Ashland, 240, or 220, or, like, lots more cos the whole peak is skiable and accessible from either Windsor or Ariel and it only takes a little skate along FR20 or even just a quick walk back through the lot from the bottom of the Void.  This, then, brings up the whole challenge of understanding Skiable Acreage in the first place.  It feels like ski areas just guess and then try to defend either through repetition or a shoulder shrug.  We spent three winters at Mt A, and while I don't think it is a huge or even mid-size place, it felt bigger to me than Anthony Lakes does.  My perception is by no means perfect, I know.  Maybe some joints just count cut runs and others count every last feather of snow within sight?
- Spout Springs, 200, on pause while an operator is sought.  Fingers crossed.
- Ferguson Ridge, 170
- Bald Mountain, up near Pierce in 6C, not the one in 5B or the random pile of rock in NY, nor the totally awesome and totally not creepy at all piece by Mussorgsky, 140
- Magic Mountain, again, the one in 2T, not the one in VT, 120. There is an abandoned platter liftline across the road, which I don't think is included in the total, and rumours of replacing it with a used chair.  Or they might replace the carpet.  Who knows?  At any rate, Magic is cool and funky and up a long, very pretty draw with a nice Lodgepole right next to the top shack.  Not big, but that never matters. Also, this is not the smallest ski area in the PNW that has a chairlift.
- Sitzmark, 80
- Echo Valley, 70
- Cooper Spur, 50, home to the final Riblet installation ever.  That's worth something right there. It's the smallest hill with a chairlift, too, for good measure.
- Little Ski Hill, 50
- Snowhaven, 40
- Rotarun, 15
- Badger Mountain, 10
- Blizzard Mountain, some acres.  Can't find numbers.  It's a platter and one groomer. Guessing between 5 and 20, but like most folks, I do not know by looking what an acre actually is.


Boise, City of Trees. Tree City USA award recipient for 44 years.  That's a lot of trees, cos allegedly Boise! was the cry from Frenchist trappers back in the day, and like, "les bois" means trees, and so does PNW, so there.  Bogus Basin is the highest, furthest, most elevationary point in the photo. (Credit: Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, via flickr.)

* Boise.  That's what Angel means when he says Donny BoBo.  It's, like, funny.


pps:
"With a base elevation of 6300', Mt Bachelor offers the highest base elevation in the Cascades. Paired with its location on the eastern side of the Cascade Crest, the result is consistently high quality snow not typically found in the Pacific Northwest. 462" of snow falls during an average year."

- Found on the internet. A good example of confusion seemingly based in the need for things to be cooler than they are. Bachelor has the highest base in the Cascades, yes, and the highest summit, too, and plenty of great skiing and is huge, but while it is east of the Crest in the riverine sense, weather doesn't care. I have skied my share of borderline mank at Bachelor, and through at least two full-on rain events there. Also, not for nothin', both Anthony Lakes and Mt A have higher bases, they're just not in the Cascades. Mt A is even the first peak west of the official reach of the Cascades, which doesn't really mean anything either, but again, it makes you, like, think, y'know?

Bison bison