Early Season Hiking, Riding, and Grilling at Stevens Pass

We have a bit of a tradition to head up to Stevens Pass for some hiking, riding, and grilling when Stevens has enough snow to ride but before they’re officially open. Well, this year, the snow fell so fast that we didn’t get a chance to beat them to opening day! But, the area we normally hike (near Big Chief) wasn’t open yet, so the tradition remained intact.

Most of us now have some form of backcountry ski gear, which made the trip even more fun. I was finally testing out my Prior Splitboard, which had been sitting partially assembled in the TV room all summer until I finally was motivated to trim the skins late this week (which fortunately was pretty easy).

So, a bunch of us and the dogs headed up on Saturday morning. I was “encouraged” to make some pancakes since most people were meeting at our place. After the drive up, we sorted out the gear and got ready to head up the hill. Skinning up was great! Definitely beats hiking in snowboard boots and the best part is not lugging the board on your backpack. Switching between touring and riding mode was a snap, aside from me putting the skins and bindings on backwards for the second run (tip looks like tail…). And of course watching Lulu and Sadie sprinting excitedly through the ski and snowboard tracks is pretty awesome.

We made two runs in total (with good, light powdery conditions!) before the most important part of the day…burgers. The burgers, chips, and beers provided little relief from the pretty cold day, but we huddled around the charcoal embers for a few hours trying to stay warm and soaking the day in. We made a pact to make sure we do this again when the sun is out!

A few pictures from the day:

Ming making the climb…

Shawn ripping it down…

Lulu lovin’ it…

The crew enjoying a beer at the top of the second hike…

Phenomenal head gear…

Grillin’…

Sam and others get a yellow card for bailing…

More on Smugmug.

Matt’s pictures.

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