Get up and ski
Jan. 6, 2023
We have snow and grooming! This is a nice combination. So when it comes to wondering what the conditions are, not to worry, there are tools the groomers use to prep the snow for us. One tool is the tiller shown in above photo.
Predicting snow conditions…Will the snow be hard, soft, wet, dry, slow, fast, the consistency of mashed potatoes or cascade cement?! It seems like we should be able to look at the forecast and get a good read on what the snow conditions will be like along the I-90 corridor. We can look at the temperatures on the Kongsberger website, we can read the grooming reports, and we can get almost real-time reports via the CCWRC Facebook Page. But if you really want to know what the conditions are you just have to go up there and put your skis on the snow.
There are many factors that affect the snow conditions: was it below or above freezing the previous night, did it get above freezing during the day, a north facing slope could be solid ice on a day with above freezing temperatures, the trail could be soft in the sun and then icy in the shaded areas. There are a myriad of microclimates in the area. One particularly interesting feature is when cold air flows from east to west through the pass and keeps the freezing level at the surface, even when the forecast is for the freezing level to be above 3000 feet. This typically happens when there is high pressure in eastern Washington and low pressure on the west side.
Be prepared to be surprised at the conditions and be prepared to change your plans (classic vs skate vs snowshoe). More often that not I find the conditions to be better than forecast even when they are predicting rain.
The bottom line: the grooming can only be done while there is snow. Get it while it’s here. If you hesitate…the opportunity may melt away :)
As for conditions at Erling Stordahl for this Saturday’s Ski for Light, the groomers were moving a lot of snow and they are hoping for double set tracks. Erling Stordahl trails are not on a smooth base surface like the P2C or “The Road” at Cabin Creek. Think big stumps hiding under that snow. Typically the trail system needs about 3’ of snow to set track. We are not quite at 3’.
Race weekend at Cabin Creek. It will be very busy.
Thanks John for the help this week!