On Tuesday, reports of a foot of fresh snow were heard in Seattle. Good news, to be sure, but not compelling. By Wednesday, another foot had fallen and snow was predicted through the night on Wednesday. Jen rented us skis. The snow and was still falling heavily on Thursday morning.
Even before we started climbing up the pass, the snow was falling like nothing I’ve ever seen. I grew up in Northern Michigan, in the heart of the snowbelt, where words like lake-effect and whiteout are common. Michigan has 4 of the top 15 snowiest cities in the lower 48.* I’ve seen a lot of snow but I can’t ever recall seeing snowflakes 3″ wide. They accumulate so fast they had been closing the pass daily for avalanche control.
This is also the fist time I’ve been skiing in bounds, on the runs, in snow above my knees, and occasionally up to my waist. On the runs! Snow so deep it begged the little boy in me to get a good run and cannonball into it. Snow so deep that when Jen fell in, all I could see was her hat. Snow so deep that the momentum lost by carving a single turn stopped me dead in my tracks.
What a day.
* cities excludes mountain regions and Alaska which would dominate the list. Valdez AK gets over 300 inches a year, beating its nearest competitor (Yakutat) by 100 inches. I’ve been to Valdez, and calling it a city is severely stretching the definition of ‘city.’