Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Spring Roller Coaster

Well into April and its roller coaster of weather and temperatures, but winter still won’t quite release its grasp here in the Cascades. Steady snow showers last week piled up a foot-plus of new powder at Alpental for their Thursday morning reopening. A couple of us in the office headed up for a morning session .

(Fog lifts from Alpental early on Thursday morning. Photos by Graham Gephart)

(Karhu engineer Eben Sargent dropping down Adrenaline.)

(Finding good powder under International)

Since then, temperatures climbing well into the 50s and 60s in the mountains, and are again cooling back down and leaving snow this week. It’s all setting up for an epic spring of touring, especially as the lifts wind down. The resort is now opening only on weekends through May 5th for a Cinco de Mayo closing celebration. While the resort is closing, with any luck we’ll be holding a special opening celebration of our own on the 5th, up in the North Cascades once again. Fingers are crossed for the road opening, but the progress report from WSDOT looks good for a month or two of good skiing from the passes:

From WSDOT's Jeff Adamson:

Here's what's up there right now, east and west: 4 Kodiak snow blowers, 3 Caterpillars (1 D-8, 2-D-6), 2 snow cats, an excavator, front end loader, and grader.

Weather has been clear or overcast, but temperatures have remained about 40 which kept the avalanche chutes that still have the 10-inches of snow they got a week ago, stable. Becker says they're hoping the warm temperatures forecast for the next several days will either melt it in place or cause the snow to slide by Monday. "We're bringing all our equipment to a site below Cutthroat Ridge so nothing we'll need Monday morning will stranded on the wrong side of a big slide." Don also sent me some new photos which we're posting to the Flickr site: www.flickr.com/photos/wsdot/sets/72157604271503716/

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