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Ski Every Month: My Odyssey Continues...

This past weekend, I went skiing. That’s right, skiing. Usually by this time in summer, I’ve fully transitioned to rock climbing as my activity of choice. But Sunday was the first day of August, and my girlfriend and I are on a quest to ski every month this year. So, we packed our bags, picked up a friend and hit the road for Mt. Rainier.

Skiing year-round in the Pacific Northwest is not as crazy as it might seem. High peaks, mild spring temperatures and a deep winter snowpack combine to keep the white stuff around long enough for us snow lovers to satisfy our cravings during the summer months. Yeah, you’re bound to get a few weird looks from hikers and backpackers as you trudge along a dusty trail with skis strapped to your pack, but it’s well worth it once you hit the snowline.

There’s even Turns All Year, a website that was founded on the idea of year-round skiing in the Pacific Northwest. It gives us snow-obsessed folks a place to go to write trip reports, share experiences and get psyched about skiing.

I think most skiers would agree that making turns on snow is fun no matter the time of year, but perhaps the best thing about skiing in summer is that you get to leave your heaps of warm winter clothes at home along with the hand warmers and container of hot tea. On a beautiful summer day with the sun shining, you might just be able to make those turns in a pair of shorts.

RussellGlacier2.JPGOn Sunday we managed to get in a 3,000-ft. run on the Russell and Flett glaciers on Mt. Rainier and tick August off the list. It was complete bliss. In my opinion, carving turns in the slushy snow with sunglasses on and short-sleeves flapping in the breeze ranks up there with a powder day in the dead of winter. Okay, maybe it doesn’t beat out a powder day, but it’s darn close.

Skiers in Washington state are fortunate to have the right mix of terrain and weather that gives us the opportunity to ski year-round. I know year-round skiing isn't possible everywhere in the country, but are there other places where you can pull this off? I’m sure it can be done in Alaska, but how about other states? I'd love to hear your stories of ski adventures during the summer months.

So now it’s on to thinking about September skiing. My girlfriend and I have skied every month of the year so far, so to keep the streak alive we've been brainstorming ideas for our next adventure. Part of our ski-all-year goal is that we have to ski in the state of Washington, which could make September a bit challenging. If we have a hot August it’ll be that much farther we’d have to hike for our turns. Are there any year-round skiers out there with suggestions on where to go?

Posted on at 6:31 PM

Tagged: Backcountry skiing, mt. rainier and skiing

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Pddlr

The PNW isn't the only place in the states to get turns all year, I'm getting close to 3 years in a row (currently at 31 months) in Colorado. Maybe not quite 3000 vert in one run but it's still possible and incredibly fun to escape the 95+ degree days in Denver and slide around on some snow on the divide before the afternoon storms roll in, hop in the OC1 on for a little white water on the way home, then onto the bike in the evening for a ride. Woo-Hoo.

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Joe P. Staff Member

Hey Pddlr,

Sounds like you know how to have fun. Way to get after it!

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LoopRope

I would just like to say one 3 foot LoopRope would accomodate strapping all of this gear to the packs including the shovel. If you go to my website you can see how the very same ropes can also hang tarps in the trees for shelter or clip to your skis to dry your clothes. There is nothing more versatile than LoopRope. LoopRope is not just another tie down it's more like a tool.......it's like duct tape but it only weighs 7.5 ozs with two stainless steel carabiners. please see it at www.looprope.com

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