I brought my drone out last weekend to Westport, Washington. By the time I took it up flying the winds had turned on shore but the waves were relatively good still. It was too good in the morning to be filming and not surfing. I’ll be filming with this more hopefully as we move into fall.
I headed on my bike over to the Marginal Way Skatepark event, Lords of Seatown. After a short ride over the West Seattle bridge I arrived at the event late afternoon just in time for the Men’s finals. The competition was stiff. Zion O’Friel was putting down some heavy lines in competition with Phil Hansen and the rest of the men in the finals.
There were fun side sessions going on throughout the day. In particular there was some serious skating going down in the “newer” pool area. Kyle Ward and Zion were especially fun to watch grind down some pool coping. In the end the event raised $4,208 for the park and brought the 5 year fund-raising total to just over $20,000. Pretty awesome.
On my bike ride home I took the drone up for a shot of the Port of Seattle.
I bought a new DJI Mavic Pro a week back and headed to the coast to see what kind of shots I could come up with. I always love surfing on the reservation run by the Makah tribe. They are welcoming of surfers. Last weekend I actually participated in Warm Currents, teaching local kids on the reservation to surf.
Saturday the waves were tiny. We got the David’s Prism Kite out in the morning for some flying while we waited for the waves to pick up. This was my first flying the Mavic. I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth it flew. It’s stability, even in wind, is mind boggling.
Saturday night we were greeted by a bit of rain. We got food in town to pass the time. By morning the rain had stopped and we were rewarded with good surf. Only those who stuck around reaped the rewards.
It has been a great winter of cool temps here in the Pacific Northwest. It all got started in early December. The snow and cool temps have been really consistent. From resort riding to backcountry travels, the fun has not stopped.
I rode Mt. Baker the first Sunday it opened. We had great snow, but it came with low visibility.
We rode Stevens Pass the day they opened the backside up for the first time of the season. My camera was dead before 1pm when it opened. Maybe some things are better left undocumented, left to our memories.
Alpental opening day, like the others, did not disappoint. We ended up getting first tracks down International. Again, undocumented.
And then there’s touring. Here are some photos and video from our tour out Commonwealth Basin across from Snoqualmie West.
Hope your’e finding time to enjoy the snow!
I picked up surfing about 4 years ago. When I first started I was on a “fun board”, a 7’4″ Ocean Pulse. I quickly went from that surfing Lib Tech shortboards about 6’4″ or less while working at Mervin Manufacturing. Surfing wasn’t really an option for me growing up in the Milwaukee, WI area. At the time I didn’t find paddling out with icicles on my face appealing.
This summer I got a longboard from Murdey Surfboards. Dan Murdey was awesome to work with on the board and gave all the right recommendations. Dan glassed for Gerry Lopez for about 15 years and now does all his own shaping, tinting and glassing. I’ve been riding my Bells & Whistles nose rider for most of the summer and it’s been a blast. I’m just now starting to try to learn to cross step. Check out the video below from last weekend in Westport, WA.
I spent this past weekend with a crew of 55 volunteers making a short film, 7 minutes in duration, for the Seattle 48 Hour Film Festival. This film was created under the direction of the talented Ben Strickland of Tricky Whiskey Films. It was my first time doing the 48 Hour Film Fest. It was a great experience seeing what a large group of volunteers, industry pros and amateurs, can come together and make in 2 LONG days.
We shot at a private airfield in Monroe, WA.
We got our shot of a plane riding into the sunset and a van following shortly behind with gunfire.
We had great talent thanks to all the individuals who helped plan the film.
If you’d like to see the film, come next week to SIFF at the Uptown, Tuesday, July 26th, 2016. You can buy tickets online. Be sure to buy tickets for the 9pm showing for Group D if you want to see our film “pew pew”.
We made it out to Bullion Basin for what possibly could have been a very wet afternoon. We had received some snow the week prior, but it warmed and rained on Saturday.
We arrived to the trailhead parking lot around 8:30 am. Stumbling out of his car, we saw Kyle Miller and his buddy stumble out of their camper van only to confirm the rainfall they had seen Saturday. The freezing level had risen to nearly 6,000 ft. on Saturday and saw quite a bit of rain. After conversing with Kyle for a bit, he showed us the sweet K2 Aspect boot coming out next year. The boot looks dope. Kyle put them through the ringer this past year (150 days on ’em) and they still seemed to be doing well.
We then began up the trailhead traveling on switchbacks through the forest. The trail clearly had seen a bit of rain over the past couple days and was icy in spots. One area required a short boot up a steeper pitch. The weather was all over the place on Sunday. In the time we spent traveling up the switchbacks up to the basin, we saw heavy overcast with low visibility, followed by snowfall and sunny skies.
As we started to climb out of the basin up to Bullion Peak the sun broke again giving us clear views of the loose wet pinwheels that had moved prior to our arrival. This was the only sign of avalanche activity we had witnessed throughout the day.
After reaching the Bullion Peak we decided to ride the same stuff we were looking at on the tour up. This would get us some great turns we could clearly see and allow us to see how the snowpack felt while riding. After taking a short lap down from the peak it was clear a rain crust had formed on all aspects below 6,000 feet. This kept us making shorter runs, keeping to the upper elevation.
We headed our way back up and took a lap down Union Creek. Once again, on the tour up we saw just about every type of weather the day had to offer. Overcast, high winds, snowfall and bright sunshine. The turns down Union Creek were great until again, rain crust at about 6,000 feet. The new rain seems to have stabilized recent storm snow, but doesn’t make for the turns we all love.
All in all it was a great day for some exercise and fun in the mountains with friends.
It’s also worth mentioning, David and I both were dealing with issues on our Karakoram Flip-Speed Risers all day long (not the first time). We both love the new design of these over the old and think they’re easy to switch between different climbing modes, but we’ve had nothing but reliability issues with them while climbing. Mine actually broke in half this tour. David’s replacement pair (2nd he’s owned) kept failing him as well. Flipping down to flat while they should still be in climb mode. Hopefully the crew at Karakoram will shed some light on this and we will get something on the blog if they do.
I took my friend Mel up to the Yodelin area at Stevens Pass. We’ve been getting hammered with snow in the Pacific Northwest this December and I wanted to get her into a zone with lower consequence considering it was her first time out on her splitboard.
We got up to the nordic center around 9 am. The parking lot was about halfway full, but it seemed to be with only families sledding and wandering around the base area. We saw only 2 other touring groups throughout the day. The first group was two skiers skinning up about the same time as us. We saw one skier skinning up solo as we were leaving. I wouldn’t recommend riding solo based on the amount of tree wells in that area (I always ride with a partner). Yodelin appeared to have seen about 10-20 people touring the days prior based on the previous tracks.
We were able to reap some great rewards. The snowpack felt very stable. We saw no slide activity in the area. My biggest concern with Yodelin would definitely be the tree wells. We saw and battled many that got very deep in areas. Keep your partner within viewable distance, which can be hard in the dense trees.
We stopped after our first short lap to do some beacon training. It’s the first time I’ve done it this season, and I highly recommend everyone brushes up on this each year, or major trip. In every group people are of varying abilities and you always want to be sure you feel safe with your partner(s).
Happy trails and enjoy the deep snow we’ve been blessed with this season out west!
Someone definitely got the memo that Mt. Baker on Sunday was getting POW. We arrived around 9am to an already halfway-full upper lot. It was filled with 200+ backcountry enthusiasts eager to ride some powder. After last season being such a wash in the Northwest, stoke levels were very high.
We were pleasantly surprised to find the snow conditions highly favorable. There was great coverage starting well below the upper lot. By the time we got to eying up our first drop near chair 1, we were happy to find the snow depth was easily waist deep. One needed to find steeper lines on Sunday because it was deep and heavy! The snow was pretty typical of the Pacific Northwest, a classic Baker storm. Keeping to steeper faces was key for the day, if not you’d often find people digging themselves out from burying their tips. TIPS UP!
After a lap near chair 1 we headed out near Artist Point. Here the sun was starting to break through and produce some amazing light. Even with the breaks in light, dropping in just below Table Mountain the light was still very flat once you got dropped below the ridge line. Flat light and heavy snow were some of my biggest concerns for the day. Some small sluff slides had been set off in the area by others, but nothing too alarming. We will have to see what the future storms bring over the next couple weeks. Layers of rain could be a concern as we move into late November. Lets hope this great dump of snow stays around for a bit!
Our touring group got up to Chinook Pass around 9 am. We scrapped our original plan to try and attack the Sheep Lake Couloir due to very minimal coverage on southern facing slopes (not sure why we thought that might work). We had no idea how you would even begin the approach from Chinook Pass let alone even if we could expect snow after what would have likely been 1,000+ feet of hiking dirt and rocks.
We instead decided to lap the northern facing slopes off Naches Peak. Starting out from the parking lot at 9:30 am we toured in light base layers. Lots of sun screen was a must… and I did not abide by that must. I’m paying for it tonight. The snow starts right at the parking lots and no hiking was required. The snow right from the get go was surprisingly soft with a very thin, weak crust layer about 6″ below.
When we got to the base of Naches it was clear Friday was a lonely day, based on the few tracks we saw. Today, Saturday, was the opposite. We saw about 50+ different people out touring near Naches Peak. Northern aspects were great for making turns in soft, light snow… something we’ve known little of this season.
Skin tracks were heavily traveled. As the day went on snow began to melt and freeze in the skin tracks making them slick. There were a lot of blowouts on the skin trail, damn splitboarders. Side hilling became challenging as the day went on and setting a solid edge was key.
Coverage all around is low, but we had next to no base damage on our gear, even after 5 laps with filled with airs and power turns. Throughout the day clouds kept trying to hold, but the sun would burn it off before visibility could become a problem.
On the drive home we encountered some rain shortly after passing Crystal Mountain Resort.