Sunday, April 4, 2010

17" at Alpental

This past weekend I got out for my first full day of resort skiing in Washington. I had been planning on getting out for some backcountry skiing with my friend Rok, but after checking the avy forecast on Friday night we decided that it might be better to stay inbounds, so we made plans to head to Alpental. I checked the snow report Saturday morning, which indicated that they had received 17" of fresh snow, so it promised to be a good day.

I picked Rok up at 7:30am and we made it to the lifts just as the first people were getting on, so our first few runs were in really nice powder. We started by just riding the Armstrong lift (the lower one), being dissuaded by the long line for the upper lift. Alpental is a small ski resort, but they have some really good terrain. The unfortunate part is that most of the really interesting stuff is accessed by the upper (Edelweiss) lift, which is a rickety old 2 seater. We finally sucked it up and got in line, and although it took almost 30 minutes to get on the lift (then another 8 for the ride up), the run was really good. The problem is that we could definitely skin up in 40 minutes, and I would way rather be busting up the hill on my skins than standing around in a line inhaling second hand smoke and having people step all over my skis. It was still fun, but the more backcountry skiing I do, the more I realize that I don't like resort skiing near as much. There was a ton of snow though, so while we didn't get as many runs in as we might have liked, the ones that we did were really really good. Here is a shot looking down on the resort from somewhere high on the mountain:

We ended the day on a bit of a sour note, as on our last ride up the Edelweiss chair it broke down halfway up. We waited there for about 20 minutes before finally word was passed from the top station back down the lift chairs via "telephone" (one chair yells to the next and then they yell to the next, and so on down the line) that maintenance was on the way. The lift finally got moving again and we had a great run down for the last run of the day, but someone should tell Alpental to replace that ancient 2-seater with a high speed quad.

We made it back into Seattle in good time, and that evening we watched a move called "The Perfect Getaway". I can review the movie with one word: "Ridiculous". I have probably seem worse movies, but it was definitely not Oscar material.

Today I got out for a great ride first thing in the morning, I went on the "Hank Ride" (that is the name of the group ride that leaves from our street on Sunday mornings, named after the guy who started it) around Mercer Island and won both sprints, then continued east to fit in a climb of Cougar Mountain and then finished off around the south end of Lake Washington. I sometimes feel a bit bad winning the sprints on the group ride since all the other guys on the ride seem to be about 10 years older than me with children. But not bad enough to ease up in the sprints!

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