North Cascades, WA: This season has been a sick one in the Northwest. From opening day forward, heavy cycles kept hammering Cascadia and it was full on, all year. More than 800 inches of accumulation and unseasonable spring temps meant it stayed really good, really late. My March, April and May were all-time and those three sick months merged into one glorious face-shot blur.
I thought my season was done after Baker’s closing weekend. But Cinco de Mayo at Alpental was too good to miss. Bonus tracks down south kept me lapping Chair Two’s nearcountry until the end of May. But even when Alpental finally shut it down Memorial Day, 100 inches still covered the dirt and rocks. I called it good and put away my gear, but then June hit and I was convinced to ride again.
Washington Pass-the highest paved crossing through the Cascades-holds snow late and is an annual spring rite for those not ready to let go. But Highway 20 rarely opens before May, and this season few weekends aligned with sweet corn and good stability until June hit. So when it looked like it was finally on, frequency creative director Jessica Galbraith and I pulled camping gear, climbing skins and split boards from our respective closets to get in a scenic Sunday tour in the shadow of Liberty Bell.
To all my other riding partners who passed to go surf, fish, work or fix your roof, you blew the call. The vis blew back in, the refreeze softened on cue and the party we encountered at Blue Lake had no bearded old guys but included six fun, fit girls in stretch pants. A longtime frequency subscriber showed us a new line and we ripped a three-grand chute of sweet North Cascade corn from cornice to switchback.
Back in the Blue Lake lot, Jessie Lu’s first impressive split was toasted with pulls of Maker’s Mark and chilled Tecate cans as an epic yoga session broke out right there on the pavement. At the time it seemed fitting to call it a season, but I just checked the report and it snowed eight inches last night. Might need to finally hit the Muir Snowfields or go rip one from the summit of Baker. It could be good and I just can’t stop.