Skiing in the blazing sun and 45 degree weather isn’t what January is usually about. But, this hasn’t been a typical snow year in the PNW. Forecasts called for a high of 39 and ‘broken clouds’ at Crystal Mountain yesterday, but the forecast was wrong. Saturday brought temperatures that stayed in the mid-40’s all day long and clear skies. With the inversion socking in Seattle the sun was a welcome change from the gray city-scape.
The week of high temperatures has changed the look of the mountains. Near the base of Chinook Express the snow cover has pulled back and is patchy. Up high the coverage is still consistent. Green Valley, doing what Green Valley does, still has good coverage and what looks like the most accumulated snow on the mountain. Lucky shot didn’t hold out as well, lower elevations and southerly exposures were baked pretty thoroughly by the sun over the past week.
Jumping over to Forest Queens and Chair 6 found the best coverage and snow conditions. Chair 6 started off the day closed but opened around 11 once conditions had softened up high, so it was jib and groomer laps until the temps climbed a bit higher.
Coverage throughout Campbell Basin is holding out, but the snow has pulled back around cliff bands, taking a lot of hits off the table. Once the temps warmed enough there plenty of options for quick laps and sending to corn. By late afternoon the creeping shadows and approaching storm started to re-freeze northern aspects. The deck at the Campbell Basin lodge felt more like a beach mid-afternoon.
For what the season has been in Washington the conditions and terrain options at Crystal Mountain have been strong. It’s hard to find fault in crushing soft snow, drinking beer in the sun, and sending to corn. Going into March the snowfall historically ramps back up, so the season is a long way from over.
The forecast for the coming weeks for Washington will bring some much needed precipitation to the mountains. Fingers crossed we will be seeing more snow in February. So long June-uary.