Well, it was quite the holiday season on the pass. Unprecedented. We’ve never seen such demand for sledding hills or the resulting traffic jams. First off, PLEASE stay away from the freeway. It is not safe. Also, in the newly restored Gold Creek area we can cause damage to newly planted plants. In this mountain environment there is a short growing season. Stay away so they do not get trampled.
Options for snow play exist on Blewett Pass at Swauk Campground and Pipe Creek Sno-Parks where there is ample parking. In addition to the Sno-Parks, Iron Creek turnoff (near old Blewett Pass road) has limited parking which is free.
Ok, now we head into the “normal” season with a snowpack better than either of the last 2 years! There are events galore and first into the chute is the Gunnar Hagen race at Cabin Creek this Sunday. This is always a popular event and this year should be no exception.
If you are not participating in the Gunnar Hagen, this might be the weekend to try out a different Sno-Park. Try Lake Easton State Park! Quiet area, there is a beautiful section of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail along the Yakima River and heated bathrooms. Also, Salmon La Sac is finally groomed and the road by now should be fine. Personally I love going here, so beautiful. Groomed for skating and set track. Salmon La Sac area also has some nice voluntary non-motorized areas for backcountry ski touring.
The dog sled trails are still being opened. The grooming machine for this system had a big breakdown, and consequently, no one has been able to get to the farther reaches of the trail to clear trees. There was extensive work clearing 26 trees and trail packing today by LandTek and the Mountaineers groomer operator. As of this evening, all of the dog sled trails (except Trail 4, Dave's Trail and Nickie's Trail) have been "tracked packed" - which means they are not rolled, but tree wells were filled in and the platform flattened. The JWPT was plowed for power work, and today they were able to pull some snow back down for a base. It is dirty though. With luck, the groomer machine will be fixed next week.
On a good note, volunteers finally scrambled and LandTek is helping us get the separated use signs up on the Stampede Pass Road (the 54 road). Finally. We got behind with all the snow and lack of equipment to get the signs out. This is not an easy project! Those things are too heavy to carry or drag, so they must be transported out via some over the snow transporter rig. Every year it is a scramble.
Lastly, please pick up branches as you ski along and toss them off the trail. This will preserve our spring season.
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND SKIING AND PLAYING IN THE SNOW! HAVE FUN!