Trees falling, snow and more snow and now avalanches and rain.
Those of us who have ventured up to the pass for many years now remember other seasons with similar situations. Trees trees trees, and big snow dumps dumping 4-6’ in a few days, but these past 4 weeks or so are certainly a conversation. I can’t remember such a relentless suite of daily snowfall as we’ve had. Oh so gorgeous though! Oh my.
For the Sno-Park program, we have Sno-Parks which need plowing before we can ski. I know the snow removal budget is thin now for many areas. I didn’t ask which ones, but one can venture a guess. What this translates to in the short term is be flexible when the Pass is back open. It takes a long time to open Gold Creek, Hyak, Crystal, and Cabin Creek – the 4 biggest. Then Kachess, and Easton Reload and Lake Easton State Park just a bit further and don’t forget Blewett Pass and Salmon La Sac. ALL areas have deep deep snow. Your favorite Sno-Park may or may not be plowed and I am guessing it will take days to dig out. Staff need to dig themselves out before they can get to work. Kittitas County is snowed in.
Below is a photo taken today of the Stampede Pass road – Crystal Springs access road. I was told it was plowed in the middle of the night and now this. Looks like someone had fun swooping through.
The sani-cans service folks also may have had a challenge getting up to do the midweek service, or maybe only got to some, so anticipate this and try to stop at the WSDOT rest area at the Summit. Some of them may not be dug out either – Like the vaults at Asahel Curtis. Most of you know that this topic is usually not a topic, but I am giving you warning that it may be a topic. Staff knows they needed pumping (can't pump when frozen solid). They will be serviced when they can get to them – hopefully some were this week.
As most of you have already heard, the pass looks to stay closed through Saturday. Then when the pass opens, plan on plenty of semi’s moving all the goods we’ve purchased and sold.
Who knows what the conditions will be by Sunday. But in the meantime, the P2C probably won’t be groomed through the avalanche zone until its slid, then they will clear the pile left and then there will be many more trees to cut and most likely limited grooming. The groomer operators may have to go back to packing first. Oh, and don’t forget the power folks using the P2C as access to restore connections. We never know when they will need to be out.
Sunday may be a good day to stay home or local.
Stay safe, read up on deep snow safety, ski with a partner and pay attention to your surroundings. If the trees are still loaded, be extra super careful. And pack that shovel!
In the photo below, notice the ski pole? It took no effort to sink. It is about a 4’ drop into water. The edges can be quite soft.