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Dolomites with Mountain Madness

Blue Bird Conditions for Avy Students!

With a win­ter full of incred­i­ble ski­ing, knee deep pow­der days, and bot­tom­less snow packs, what could pos­si­bly make a week­end of ski­ing any bet­ter? BLUE BIRD!!! That’s right, this past weekend’s avalanche class not only enjoyed the ben­e­fits of some fun ski­ing, but also two beau­ti­ful days in the Mt. Rainier back­coun­try. MM guide Dal­las Glass checks in with some news about some great stu­dents and mid-win­ter pow­der skiing. 

What Rainier trip report would be com­plete with­out a pho­to of the moun­tain? Mt. Rainier, in all its mid-win­ter glo­ry, made this won­der­ful day all the more spe­cial. Dal­las Glass photo

I remem­ber my first avalanche class, we sat inside for hours on end, lec­ture after lec­ture, and then when we did head to the field, we spent hours sit­ting in a snow pit look­ing at crys­tal types and try­ing to fix bro­ken snow den­si­ty gauges. We def­i­nite­ly didn’t do much ski­ing. A lot has changed in avalanche edu­ca­tion over the past sev­er­al years. We still have inside lec­tures and we still dig a few snow pits, but we also like to get out there and enjoy the moun­tains and remem­ber what brought us to this class in the first place: play­ing in the snow. As the group gath­ered in evo Ski and Board shop’s con­fer­ence room, you could tell this group would be excit­ing in the moun­tains. Avalanche class­es bring­ing togeth­er peo­ple from all walks of life into one room with one big item in com­mon, our love for winter. 

Mak­ing some obser­va­tions to help us plan for our Sun­day ski day. MM Stu­dents spend some time in the snow. Dal­las Glass photo

Jason Slye photo

After lay­ing our foun­da­tion with some infor­ma­tion about ter­rain, the snow­pack, and back­coun­try team­work, the group was ready to move out into the field and get neck deep in snow. We were not dis­ap­point­ed. Sat­ur­day on Mt. Rainier dawned in what would be my first blue sky ski day of the year. The group start­ed the day with huge grins and a cou­ple hun­dred feet of ski­ing before set­tling in for some seri­ous learn­ing. Sev­er­al of us found our­selves all too lit­er­al­ly waist deep in the snow as we were remind­ed how much fresh had fall­en in the past few weeks. It was tough to stay focused as we saw oth­er recre­ation­ist out play­ing in the snow, but every­one buck­led down to insure Sun­day would be our day to get after it. 

Can you say Blue Bird”? Stop­ping to dis­cuss some recent snow obser­va­tion and of course what line to ski. Jason Slye photo

All smiles! Noth­ing bet­ter than enjoy­ing the rewards of good obser­va­tions, good plan­ning, and a great ski day. Jason Slye photo

As we left Par­adise park­ing lot Sat­ur­day evening, a fresh few inch­es of snow was falling and we won­dered if the clear sky fore­cast for Sun­day would come true. Well, Sun­day morn­ing it was time to break out the shades and sun screen! With­out a cloud in the sky our two tour­ing groups set out the back­coun­try with a beau­ti­ful mid-win­ter Mt Rainier tow­er­ing over our heads. The groups pre­vi­ous day’s obser­va­tions and care­ful tour plan­ning were pay­ing off as we found great sta­ble snow to ski. This is where I feel avalanche edu­ca­tion has real­ly changed; what bet­ter way to apply our new­ly acquired skills than to go ski­ing togeth­er? And ski we did, get­ting in a respectable 2000’ of pow­der ski­ing before we need­ed to head back to our cars. Shar­ing a blue­bird ski day with new friends, learn­ing new skills, and com­ing home safe; who could ask for more?”

~ MM Guide Dal­las Glass

Dal­las bring­ing up the rear after a great day of ski­ing. Jason Slye photo