Monday, February 8, 2010
Hey everyone, welcome back from your crazy weekend! Today’s post is my humble appeal to the powers that be that, for god’s sake, it’s winter, can we please act like it?? To say that it’s been a crappy season is… well, okay, it’s not an understatement. It’s probably not even an overstatement. It’s certainly a little bit misleading. But it still feels true.
See, it’s an El Nino year. Which can mean very little for us up here in the Pacific Northwest. But it can also be really really frustrating. It can mean, like it has this year, that most of the weather systems miss us by just a little tiny bit, and what systems we do get rolling through are too warm to be of any use except dropping a couple inches of rain/snow mix that help keep the existing snowpack from disappearing any faster than they otherwise would. There’s been a couple nice big dumps, but they’ve been followed a couple days later by rain usually, which kind of defeats the point. Although the big saving grace is that we got absolutely hammered in the early part of November, so we haven’t really had many issues with coverage. It’s just a crappy surface, is all. Ah well, we’ve had a string of great seasons, so tossing a mediocre one in here and there is something we’ll just have to accept.
This is, of course, Snoqualmie Pass. Specifically, this is the view from somewhere over near the Silver Fir chair at Summit Central (formerly known as Ski Acres.) Most of us Seattle-based skiers are guilty of poo-pooing on the Snoqualmie ski areas besides Alpental, myself definitely included. But it’s not really THAT bad. I mean, sure, they’re tiny. And they’re low. And they have a maddening flat part at the bottom that you have to deal with both on the way down and the way back up, but if the conditions are right, it can be decent. And, the views can be a lot better than a lot of people give them credit for. On a midweek powder day, you’ll have Central all to yourself while all of the other hooky-players hit up Alpental and stand around in the 45-minute line for Chair 2. Ah, crap, I just gave away my secret. That’s okay, none of you will believe me anyway.
Speaking of midweek powder days… Nature? You there? A little help here? Please??
Notes: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS (Point and shoot). 1/250s, f/11.0, ISO 80.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Today’s picture is in honor of “first snowfall”. Here in Washington State we’re supposed to get ours in the next day or two (up in the mountains, not 4,000 feet further down here in the city), Colorado got theirs last week, and I heard via my buddy Mike that Killington out in Vermont should be getting a taste too. It’ll be awhile yet before it starts looking anything like this, but the season is on its way!
This is a view from Summit Central, which is one of the four ski areas up at the summit of Snoqualmie Pass. (The others of course being Summit East, Summit West, and Alpental.) This was on a weekday morning after getting I think around 9 or 10 inches the night before. This is, in my mind, one of the best perks of having a season pass to Snoqualmie – getting to run up and get in a few turns before heading in to work. A lot of other folks have the same idea usually, but they all head to Alpental (Which, admittedly, is a much more interesting hill), meaning the wait over there (especially on chair 2) can be just as long as on the weekends. Summit Central, though, is a ghost town, even on primo days. You won’t see more than 1 or 2 other people before 10 am, so you’ve got the whole place to yourself. I may be totally giving away my secret here, but don’t worry, nobody actually reads this stuff. And besides, anybody who DOES read this stuff probably either doesn’t ski, doesn’t ski out here, or doesn’t do Summit Central. So I think I’ll be okay.
This one was, as most of my ski pictures are, taken with a little point and shoot, with a dirty lens at that. I had to do a bit of cleanup with Picasa (mostly adjusting the contrast to clear out some of the fogginess from the sludge and pocket lint on my lens), so the result is a somewhat low quality image. It looks great at this size, but wow, look at it full-size, and the grit comes out. Eesh. It would actually be somewhat interesting to post the original here, so you can see what even just a little bit of touching up can do. Maybe I’ll do that. I of course don’t have the original handy right now, but perhaps I’ll add it later tonight. (I’ll only add it to the original post, at http://picture-of-the-day.com/?p=504 , not to the Facebook post, so if you’re interested, come by later and check it out.)
Sleep well everyone, and have powdery dreams!
UPDATE: Here’s the original image. This one’s actually not as dramatically changed as I thought, definitely not as much as a couple of the others from the same day.
Notes: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS (Point and shoot). 1/800s, f/11.0, ISO 200
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
This is a view of Chair Peak, seen from near the top of chair 2 at Alpental, a little ski area near Seattle. This was (obviously) on a nice bright sunny day, which is actually pretty rare for the Pacific Northwest in the winter. Our skiing is fantastic, and we get tons of snow, but the downside to having more snowy days than not is that you rarely get to see the sun on the slopes. So when it comes out, you’ve got to jump on it.
Most of the terrain you’re looking at is accessible for backcountry skiing if you’re so inclined. In fact, if you look closely, you can see a group of folks traversing that big bowl to find the right line.
I’m running out of things to say here. The lower half of Alpental is open for night skiing until 10 pm. So it’s fun to head up there after work to get in some turns. Uhhmm… Yeah, that’s it for today.
Notes: Canon PowerShot S230 (Point and shoot). 1/400s, f/9.0.