Our first weekend of powder boarding for the 2014 season, my first time at Steven’s Pass and a swanky cabin full of friend’s celebrating birthdays.
For Nikki’s 30th birthday, she decided to keep it mellow with a causal dinner party back in November. Her idea was to wait for the snow to fall before having a more significant birthday party. Nikki wanted to travel to a place neither of us had ridden before and rent a house where she could ring the bell of her three decade milestone.
The date was rapidly approaching for this mid January weekend but the snow still hadn’t filled in the Northwest slopes. Steven’s Pass had faired better than Mt.Hood but was still very short on snow. That is, until the Friday morning we took off from work to go ride. The weather system we had patiently waited for was finally moving in, warm and heavy. Steven’s received over two feet of fresh snow while we were there. Some wet, some heavy, a good 10inch of perfect fluff and lots of fog and wind.
Nikki, Rager and I had a refreshing afternoon on Friday exploring the mountain. No crowds, low expectations and a little fresh snow stacking up, helped set the mood for the weekend. Friday was a perfect reminder of how good it feels to hope in the car and travel for snowboarding.
The short pitches at Steven’s are a bit steeper than Mt.Hood and are packed with features. We picked our way around the front side of the mountain gathering local wisdom to helps us find the right terrain for Saturday. I was pleased and pleasantly surprised with what we found. Rocks, chutes and small stashes of fresh snow seem to poke out everywhere you look on the front side of Steven’s Pass. Each time I leave Oregon for Washington, I’m immediately impressed and excited by the new, steep terrain.
The weekend was stacked with board testing. Kelso was on a new board, an Amplid Morning Glory 163cm pow slayer. Rager was on his new 157cm Burton Juice Wagon and I was getting a first ride on my long awaited YES Pick Your Line 161cm wide deck. What better way to test our new big mountain boards than to rip deep Northwest pow. It was so fun to be charging hard using fresh, aggressive decks. We were all really stoked with what we had strapped on. The chopped-up pow late in the day was no match for stiff new boards driven by hungry guys.
While at Steven’s, we didn’t capture much in the way of footage unfortunately. It snowed so hard the entire weekend, visibility was hard enough to ride in. Taking out the camera only resulted in a wet lens on my fancy new Canon G15, which I couldn’t bare to risk. Riding on a resort that’s packed to the gills with other hungry pow riders, also makes taking out the camera less desirable. We kept the flow up and pace on instead. Here are a few glimpses from the light snow we found on Sunday.
Many of the 14 friends staying at the Leavenworth cabin were not riding, just gathering to celebrate and enjoy a mountain house for a weekend. I think we pissed everyone off by clanking around the house early each morning. It was worth the lack of sleep for deep turns we found though, I hope they understand some day. The cabin was a fun scene to return to and a good group to celebrate birthdays with. Wining and dinning between soft carpet stretch sessions and hot tube soaks is the cat’s meow.
Happy 30th Nikki! You’re really fun to travel and snowboard with, don’t change, don’t grow up anymore.