On Tuesday we took my Dad and Kim to Mt. Baker for the first time and we had an amazing day. It was fun showing them our local hill and it was great timing for them to be in the area because they had really nice snow. I just can't stop loving this mountain! The runs were groomed but they were very soft, as it had been snowing quite a bit in the days before. My dad and Kim were very surprised that a groomed run could be so soft, because what they are used to is a lot firmer. They both really enjoyed their day as far as I could tell.
In the photo below, we jumped high jump style into the snowbank, hoping to land in a soft billowy deep snowpile. Instead, it was about a foot of fresh powder and a somewhat packed snowbank underneath, so we just stayed on top. Very disappointing!
Up at Mt. Baker, there is a run called The Canyon. This run is often closed because of conditions. It is a huge cliff that drops into a bowl that comes out in a canyon. It is marked as black diamond, but when there is a lot of soft powdery snow I would say it is closer to a blue run. As soon as we heard The Canyon was open, we planned to make a visit to it. We knew that the mountain had just received 15 fresh inches the day before, and more before that but we didn't quite expect the amount of snow that there was. The snow was endless. Kim and Dad had never rode in anything like it so they were quite baffled as how to keep from falling. They both did really good eventually once they figured it out. The photo below is part of the canyon gate. They leave parts of the rope open along the cliff and you can enter at your own risk basically. It is marked as black, so we went along until we found this area, which looked a lot calmer. It was still fairly steep, but since the snow was so deep it really slowed us down. Both Kim and I fell and got very very stuck several times down this part of the hill.
When you fall, there is no where solid around you to push yourself back up into a standing position. Like my sister Kim in this photo soon found out, your hands and arms just disappear into the deep powdery snow! If you go here and see my sister's post about her visit, you can see a photo of my dad that I took and he is in snow so deep that only his shoulders and head show. (As well as others.) Dad was very stuck but surprised us all with his patience and learning curve. The snow was so deep that by the time you are down the hill you barely have enough energy to stand. On a snowboard you have to keep your back leg bent at a certain angle in order to keep your tip up out of the snow. My dad watched me come down the hill through the powder and he said my board was at a 45° angle. No wonder my leg felt cramped by the time I was at the bottom! There is nothing like snowboarding through powder- it is unexplainable. It is so rewarding to look back and see your S patterns weaving down the hillside.