Snow

Old Friends and Falling Snow: Winter at White Salmon Creek

The snow itself is lonely or, if you prefer, self-sufficient. There is no other time when the whole world seems composed of only one thing and one thing only. – Joseph Wood Krutch   I am old enough to have experienced the profound benefit of long friendships. The arc of a lifetime, when shared with folks who are special to …

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To Plow or Not to Plow? That is the Question along North Cascades Highway as Methow Valley Seeks Sno-Park at Silver Star Gate

After a conspicuously dry fall, the 2019 winter solstice was wet and wild in the Pacific Northwest as a Pineapple Express drenched the region with moisture. Seattle shattered a 120-year-old precipitation record by over an inch, but my hopes for liquid gold turning to powder in the high country after an agonizingly slow start to the ski season were dashed. …

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Winter Bliss at Artist Point

The mood of a Pacific Northwest winter is defined by monochromatic clouds and a never-ending somber grayness. The dampness that muffles sound also softens the edges of the scenery. There seems little depth to the view as layers of fog and mist create a two dimensional portrait of the world. Shadows hardly exist.   But luckily, the Mt. Baker Highway …

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The Art of Hokking

In the remote Altai Mountains of Northwest China the word for ski is “Hok”. For me, in the North Cascade Mountains of Washington, the word for fun is Hok! Ever since Nils Larsen introduced me to these short, fat skis I’ve had more fun than ever on snow days. Full disclosure here; I’m a professional. I ran a Nordic ski …

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Where to Ski (and Eat) in the Methow Valley

You’re driving into the Methow Valley. The snow is perfect. Small mountain towns greet you, lined with alluring restaurants, tempting bakeries and thirst-quenching pubs. All good….. but where should you ski in the largest groomed Nordic ski network in North America? Hmmm, you only have two days, a long weekend, maybe a week. Difficult choices need to be made. The …

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Graduation Day

I am inescapably and resoundingly middle-aged. I have been a college student for three years now, liquidating savings and borrowing heavily against presumed future earnings. Recently—remarkably—I graduated: thirty years almost to the day since I finished high school. Early that morning I drove to the mountains for a celebratory ski in the Mt. Baker backcountry, my excuse being that I …

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Something for Everyone: Old Fashioned Fun in the Methow

While the Methow Valley is most famous for being home to the largest cross country ski area in North America, it is quickly becoming a full-blown winter resort area with a lot to offer when you’re resting from all that skiing. A few other winter offerings are: Winthrop Ice Rink Located adjacent to the Winthrop cross country ski trailhead, the …

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Cross Country Skiing Nirvana in Washington’s Methow Valley

Imagine a valley where cross country skiing is its life force and the dominant driver of the economy. Imagine a place with no stoplights for sixty miles in any direction, but night time skies with stars as far as you can see. Imagine waking up in a cabin with 225 kilometers of freshly groomed ski trails out your front door. …

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Dangerous Powder: The Deadly Pitfalls of Tree Wells

It was June and we were just outside the Mt. Baker Ski Area near the Bagley Lake Parking Lot. My children—who have grown up skiing and climbing—were horsing around in the snow. They were sledding, throwing snowballs, rolling around and pretty much doing everything that they could to get soaking wet in spring isothermal snow. I wasn’t paying super close …

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Silver Star: BC’s World-Class Nordic Ski Destination

You might not know it, but a world-class Nordic skiing destination is just a few hours away from Western Washington. You’ll find Canada’s largest groomed trail system at Silver Star Provincial Park near Vernon, British Columbia. And if you visit before the end of the year, you’ll have a bonus: Olympic athletes training for the PyeongChang 2018 Games in South …

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