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Old 04-04-2012, 03:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Any Public Places to Ride in/around Snoqualmie?

So I'm from Chicago and have been staying in Seattle since October for contract work, and I tried snowboarding for the first time in December and quite simply - I'm now addicted.

I usually go to Snoqualmie to snowboard, almost every night and weekends, but the evening hours are gone, and it seems to be the same story with the other resorts I've checked, although the others are a bit far. But I'm still trying to get my fix on weekdays but can't skip work from 9am-4pm (new resort hours).

So does anyone know of a snowy slope/hill that is in or around the Snoqualmie area (or elsewhere in WA) that would not be considered trespassing, that I could shred down a few times? I'd be willing to hike up if I had to, within reason of course. On my drives to Snoqualmie I usually noticed a bunch of snowy slopes on the way and I'm not sure what is publicly accessible.

I know this might be absurd, but thought I'd ask
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sorry to thread jack but Sno if i were in the states i would definitely pay to go BC on one of your tours, in fact i may just make a trip next year again and while there make a point of coming that way while I'm there so i don't miss out!
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Old 04-04-2012, 06:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The short answer to your question is "absoluetly"!. Being from Chicago you may not be familiar with the National Forest. It is public land and you can hike and ride all you want anywhere on National Forest land. You just have to be sure the area you want to hike and ride is National Forest land. Everything adjacent to Snowualmie is part of the Snowualmie National Forest and is fair game.

Now here comes the "but"! Once you leave the resort area, there is no avalanche control what so ever. Unless you get some avalanche awareness training at least through the online resources we have linked to here and understand how to read the NWAC information, don't go out there. Once you have some basic awareness and can log onto NWAC web site and understand what they are telling you, and you have an understanding of what is and is not avalanche terrain, your options are practically unlimited.

Not practical for after work but on your Saturday, Paradise on Mt. Rainier is an awesome place to hike for turns. It has variable terrain and you can find safe areas to play right close to the parking lot that are safe even during extreme avalanche danger. You just have to know what terrain is actually safe terrain.

Short of that, many resorts allow snow play and hiking after hours. At Arizona Snowbowl I used to hand around and hike the trails after closing. Check with Snowualmie, they may be okay with it if you stay in designated areas. If a resort is actually closed for the season and is on forest service land as Snowualmie is, it is then fair game as it's public land.

If you are staying in Washington, consider a split board as we have year round snow to ride if you hike or split board for it. I am actually developing an intro to Splitboarding course this year and I am in Vancouver. This spring and summer, I am doing some test runs of this course non commercially to work out the bugs. If interested, I can give you this 1 day or 3 day course at cost. All I need is my expenses paid. Paradise on Mt. Rainier or White Pass are ideal early summer locations for this if interested.
Wow, thank you so much for your insightful response. I was actually considering going to the resort at Snoqualmie itself and trekking up some of the runs I'm already familiar with, especially "West" since it's been closed for a few weeks now and there has been a ton of snowfall since then. I hope that's legal, but I guess I'll have to find out.

Yeah I hear you about the dangers involved, I read some of the "Back country" trip posts on here and realized just how over my head this city guy could be out there.

I would totally be interested in one of your courses if it was in WA, I'll try to keep an eye out for information regarding that or you can PM me anytime. I think that would be awesome!

Thanks again!
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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OP just be careful, non locals come out to the cascades and don't realize these are not the rockies and quickly get in over their head. Every year there are tourist type folks that get lost, weather happens fast and there are alot of places that hiking would be hellish. The rockies are massive...but idk, I think the cascades are more compact, steep and jagged with tighter trees and brush. It just seems things happen pretty fast, just a wrong turn and you can be in the shitter.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
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wrathful, I am not sure where you get the rockies analogy for this thread, but that advice is sound for any spot you go to. People from out of town get lost out here all the time. If you don't know the terrain and how it works, it's best to be ultra conservative. Trees are tighter in Colorado and Utah btw. By far. At least compared to where I've ridden in the PNW. Tree wells on the other hand are on a whole different level in the PNW. Lot's more cliff outs in the PNW too, and the snow does stick to much steeper slopes making it critical for you to know what is beneath you. Then again, that can be said for any area.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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killz, you are probably right; its been a looong time since being in the rockies...but as I remembered the massiveness...there just seemed to be more space to work with....talking about tree spacing, throat of a chute or cliff...just seems the pnw compactness/tightness is makes it more difficult to work with.
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Old 04-05-2012, 11:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Oh the Maritime snow pack allows the snow to stick to much steeper lines for sure. No argument here. Resorts in Colorado do thin a good portion of their trees in bounds too. Left alone the lodge poles here get awfully thick. Much tighter than the Ponderosa's and such that the PNW has. Again though, tree wells are a big equalizer. The PNW is more pronounced too. As far as chutes go, hell I dunno. I know that you tend to have steeper entrances than Colorado overall. There are still some nasty chutes here I can think of that hold their own anywhere. Again, all backcountry. Different vibes for sure.

I can't tell you how many people over the years have been lost at a spot like Berthoud Pass. It's ridiculous. People spending a night out because they don't know where they are. The funny thing is, if you just head down, you'll generally hit the road at some point, regardless where you are. People do stupid things when they get into bad situations...
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Old 04-05-2012, 12:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hyak or summit east is closed for the rest of the season so its game on for hiking, you most likely wont be alone ether. The rest of the areas at the summit are still open certain days so they will be out with snowcats and such and dont really like the public in the way. Just past the summit on the east side is the Gold Creek Snowpark which is open to public access all year. Across the street from alpental is some gnarly terrain you can hike to, i wouldnt suggest that area unless you are with some expert back country people

If you drive up to stevenpass, on the north side of the hwy behind the garage there is a trail that leads up to a couple cell towers. Just riding the road is fun enough to be worth the hike.

I'll say the same thing as the rest of these people, anything that is outside of an operating ski area is back country terrain and needs to be treated with much respect. Slopes that you are comfortable with at the ski area needs to be treated with caution when it is not controlled. My advise is to find a partner who does have experience. A small problem when you are alone can turn really bad quick. Just hand out at the parking lot / trail head and ask someone if you can tag along. A lot of people hike hyak with there dog and ride the mellow stuff. Over the summer do some reading take some classes (rei often holds free seminars) about avalanches and safe backcountry travel to better prepare your self for future outings.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for the wealth of information guys. I'm definitely not trying to do anything serious at this point. Even riding Pacific Crest's bowl at Snoqualmie West one day, it was like waist deep in some areas and I fell. It was really challenging making it out of there and finally getting on my board again. Just walking like 30 yards in that stuff took an alarming amount of strength. I can only imagine what a true back country experience could entail.

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Originally Posted by Snowolf View Post
As I said however, if you want some basic back country training like what this new course will contain, I am totally down for meeting you halfway like at Ashford outside of Mt. Rainier National Park or at White Pass east of Packwood.
White Pass or Mt. Rainier area would work, I'm free on Sat or Sun. Let me know what you're thinking in terms of costs and I'll let you know if I can pull it off. Oh and I'd be more than happy to run into Bigfoot - I think.

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Over the summer do some reading take some classes (rei often holds free seminars) about avalanches and safe backcountry travel to better prepare your self for future outings.
I'm actually working for REI at the corporate office, so I can probably pick quite a few brains around here. These people definitely live and breathe the outdoor culture. I was going to see if the merchandise dept. would let me borrow a split-board actually. They definitely let their full time employees borrow gear (I'm a contractor).
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Old 04-06-2012, 05:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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So I called up Snoqualmie today and was told that I was allowed to be on their grounds after hours, at my own risk. Thought I'd add this here in case it's helpful to anyone.
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