A Light Fluffy Paradise
For our first ski tour together of the season, we sucked up the long drive to Paradise. We were able to squeeze in the two of us plus Logan, Patti, and Ryan and five pairs of skis into the Highlander outfitted temporarily with the rocketbox. The gate opened at 9:20 am, not too bad. We arrived at Paradise above the clouds, ready for a sunny day in paradise.
The skin highway on the way up to the base of Panorama Point was as congested as I-5. It was stressful, with parties passing each other, cutting each other off, and leapfrogging as others took off layers in the warm sun. At the base of Panorama Point, the traffic jam got even crazier. Some struggled with kick turns on the icy skintrack, so it created traffic jams.
Even though the Nisqually Chute looked enticing, we decided to bail towards Edith Creek Basin to avoid the crowds. The moment we stepped off the skin track into the fresh snow, we felt more relaxed.
We ripped our skins and took an easy, low angle run into Edith Creek Basin. From there, we skinned up to the top of the basin.
We found a way to enter from the ridge into some perfect, untouched 25 degree slopes. The snow was light and fluffy powder, about 6 inches deep on top of firmer snow. It was a great run.
We continued the run further down through some tight trees before taking a lunch break. During the afternoon, more clouds developed and we moved in and out of the fog. At times, we had striking views of the Tatoosh.
We took a few more runs, exploring all over Edith Creek Basin. The most southern aspects were a little sun-affected, but mostly the snow was cold and dry, very good for the PNW! While the others headed back to the car, Logan and I took one last run below Edith Creek Basin. Even though it was Sunday afternoon, we found untouched powder through gladed trees! When we got the road cut of the Paradise Valley road, there were some exposed short cliffs and a ditch between us and the road, so we threw our skis down and jumped the short 5 ft. cliff into powder before skinning back up to the car.
Although we barely spent as much time outside as in the car, it was still an awesome, chill trip with great friends! Considering the winter season has been pretty dry and warm here, the snow coverage and quality was excellent! Next time we go to Paradise, I am looking forward to exploring further.