It’s been a slow start to ski season here in Washington state. By Thanksgiving week, I was ready to roll, but no nearby resorts had enough snow to open. Time to hit the road.
As I was sitting by the fire reading a ski magazine in my ski boots (true story), my cat looked me in the eye and told me, in his own way, that I had to go find some snow. Point taken.
Pro Tip: Spend some quality time in your boots before you hit the slopes for the first time. Issues dealt with in the city are easier than those dealt with on the hill.
I called up pro skier and Warren Miller regular, Tyler Ceccanti, and asked him if he was up for a road trip to find some skiing. He was instantly on board. A quick seven-hour drive later we had a snowy volcano right in the crosshairs.
Pro Tip: Make sure the car is winter ready before hunting for snow: winter tires, chains, fresh wiper blades, and a recent oil change and fluids check.
A small but stoked crowd was on hand for Mount Bachelor’s Monday morning opening of a single chairlift serving some park features and snowy trees on the lower mountain.
Pro Tip: If you’re lucky enough to catch the first chair of the season, be like these guys and get it on film; you’re sitting on some golden social media bragging rights!
A number of jibs were in great condition and we spent the morning lapping the rails, boxes and wall-rides.
Pro Trip: Don’t bother putting too much time and effort into tuning your skis for the start of the season. Between the low coverage and the rail sessions, you’re going to be putting extra wear and tear on your boards. Save your tuning dollars for later in the season when the snow is fat and you’re in shape for full speed ripping.
There were equal parts style and pile as folks worked to get the winter legs under them with varying degrees of success.
Pro Tip: Ease in. The season is long, and there’s nothing worse than going too hard at the start of the season and ending up injured on the couch during the peak of the winter.
The K9 contingent of the ski patrol was looking ready for anything.
Pro Tip: Ski patrol dogs are universally adorable, but they’re also working. Ask their handler if it’s ok to approach or pet them. They might be busy saving lives or receiving important training, and the snuggles will have to wait.
After a snack, we decided to put on the skins and see what kind of snow might be waiting for us higher in the hills.
Pro Tip: These days there are amazing gear options for skiers and riders who want to rip the resort and also earn some turns. Consider gear with touring functionality when you buy your next kit.
Tyler dropped in and ripped his first powder turns of the season with the peaks of the Three Sisters Wilderness towering in the distance.
Pro Tip: When shooting photos of skiing, don’t chase the action. Visualize the photo in your mind, frame it with your camera, then when everything is ready, tell your friend exactly where to make a turn.
Powder slashing in the sunshine. Worth the drive every time.
Pro Tip: Surf the mountain. Working the natural contours of the hill can deliver amazing results like this wind-lip surf turn.
Get the latest snow conditions by downloading the REI Snow Report app.