Stevens Pass and Seattle, WA
Updated: Jan 10, 2021
Flying into Seattle, I knew there was going to be rain because that's what Seattle is known for, but I didn't realize it would be a place as unique and awe-inspiring as it was.
After leaving the airport, we ventured around town and I received a very fast lesson on everything to do with Seattle - I'm not going to give a recap on that because I'll certainly miss some key points.
The Pike Place Market was the most touristy place that we visited and it was well worth the mob of people we dealt with for an hour. Witnessed the famed fish toss (twice), sampled some fresh made pasta, bought some fresh made pasta, and sampled some tea from a small tea shop. Pike Place Market is a place you could get lost in for hours, trying new foods, seeing locals artists, and not once retracing a step.
Surprisingly, the sun burned its way through the clouds leaving an incredible view of Mount Rainier from the city. The photo below doesn't quite do it justice, you're going to have to visit and see for yourself.
View from Kerry Park looking out toward the Space Needle and Mount Rainier
Day two was the day for ski touring. Not knowing the terrain or the snowpack in the Cascades, we stuck with low risk areas, low hanging fruit if you will. We picked the Skyline Lake Trail in Stevens Pass. It was an easy uphill, about 45 minutes, to the lake and then about 10-15 minutes of skiing on the way down, all in low angle trees or on the skin track. The snowpack at the lake was over 300cm deep and the first 20cm was a higher density fresh layer that had settled over the past few days between recent snow storms and a slight warmup. Lap 2 was extremely necessary because of how fun the snow was. Skiing on the second lap may have become secondary to the view of the sunset through the mountains and the snow coated pines from the top of the skin track. And, similar to above, photo just doesn't quite do it. There were clouds rolling through the mountains, rising, and dissipating while the sun slowly creeped lower, forcing the persistent yellows to a deeper orange hue on the horizon. A+ vista for sure.
Sunset from the Skyline Trail in Steven's Pass
After spending day two in the backcountry (more like slack-country, but it's close enough), we decided day three would be a resort day at Stevens Pass Resort and it did not disappoint. In short: backside = spring skiing, frontside = storm skiing. Conditions were surreal. With the incredible conditions, the terrain was exceptionally playful with plenty of dongers (natural takeoffs for the non-skiing folk) peppered across the mountain. Safe to say that skiing at and around Stevens Pass was the most fun skiing I've done this year.
Fun in the sun on the backside, spring skiing conditions all morning
Frontside storm skiing in the afternoon
Day four greeted us with the iconic Seattle once again for a bittersweet final day of vacation. Enjoyed the rain in the best way we knew how with a run through the suburbs of Bellevue. A lovely place with luscious greens from the coniferous, mossy ecosystem. It's surprisingly refreshing and relaxing to run in the rain, all of life's little stressors seem to vanish, even just for a few minutes.
Four days certainly isn't enough to experience everything the Cascades have to offer considering I didn't even make it up to Mount Baker. So, with that, the next trip to the coastal PNW is already in the works.