White Pass Washington
24 Degrees, windy, low scudding clouds with light snow showers and reduced visibility
Light maritime powder. The resort had been closed the day prior due to weather and they had received 13 inches on top of several feet from previous storms. The powder was knee to waist deep in wind sheltered areas with some wind packed powder and lots of drifting.
Wind loaded powder steeps in excess of 30 degrees. Tree riding in old growth timber on 20 to 30 degree terrain. Gentle open glades and meadows in alpine basin with natural rolling and undulating terrain in second growth timber.
I arrived at White Pass shortly after 9:30 AM with two friends. We rode up Great White Express to the 6000 foot level and rode down the back side through old growth timber for a 1.5 mile tree run in waist deep powder. This area contains everything from conifer saplings to towering 80 foot old growth Fir with 20 inch diameter trunks. In places these are medium density and in other places the tree density become tight. Through most of these forests, the pitch runs 25 to 30 degrees with some nearly flat benches. Turns in this environment were responsive with great floatation. I found myself riding more confidently in the tight trees without the feeling that the nose would dive and throw me.
On the steeps, this board also performed well with agility to control speed and good flotation. It plowed through the waist deep snow like high performance boat does on water. I found that all it takes is to stay only slightly aft of center and the rocker kicks in just like the Heritage. The wider nose and smaller tail really made a noticeable difference. Even in areas where drifting had occurred or where natural gullies crossed the slope, the nose of the board easily rode up and over the rising terrain without plowing into it.
In the mellow terrain, I found the board to be quite easy to maintain speed and by shifting aft, it was effortless to keep the board up on top of the deep snow. After a full day of riding untracked northwest powder, I did not have the “back leg burn” from maintaining constant tail presses. The nice thing about the design of this board is it allows the rider to ride basically centered most of the time with momentary aft shifts at key points with a return to the centered stance. For as long as I rode in such deep powder, I was not nearly as tired as I expected to be as a result. The only falls that occurred were the result of deliberate panic stops in the tight trees or from not reading the terrain ahead well enough to adjust my stance.