Wednesday, December 26, 2012

View from the... Home: Wenatchee Valley Edition

The view from the lake up to Glacier View after the epic December dump. Lake Wenatchee, Washington. For two days, I was trapped up here with no electricity or water with impassible roads. This little experience made me think of when Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern seaboard.

The Cascade Mountains trapped within the horizon of the passing clouds.  One 48 hour storm brought 6 feet of snow to the base of Stevens Pass. This made for some epic alpine powder days, but wreaked havoc to the surrounding communities. Power has been out for 10 days and counting to Lake Wenatchee, Plain, and Chumstick Canyon. When outside, you can hear trees snapping under the weight of the snows. The sound is not unlike a muzzle-loader hunter hitting his target. A short, sharp explosion of tree fibers snapping, followed by the rush of timber falling down through the forest that reminds me of a deer dashing through the woods with it's last few breaths of life. 

Being home means reconnecting with the old hometown ski club. These days, I race for the Bridger Ski Foundation out of Bozeman, Montana, but I got my start - and still talk to my Leavenworth coaches frequently - from the old neighborhood. Here I got to do a little stride, glide, and double pole with the high school age crew. At the end, Shane Wilder from IcicleTV came out and caught a little bit of the action. You can see Mr. Wilder's work from the little impromptu session here. 

With so many trees falling, and 3,800 people directly affected,  the County and the Public Utility District have been working overtime, bigtime. Here,  a helicopter tries to "shake" out the snow from the overburdened pine tree. You know when public agencies are resorting to practices like these, they are doing all they can to alleviate the situation. A neighbor two houses away was not fortunate. Two giant Douglas Firs came crashing down onto their roof, crushing the structure. 

In just a couple day's time, it's off to Salt Lake City Airport I go for the US National Cross-Country Championships. I imagine you can check back here for a personal update when the show comes to an end. Races are scheduled for the 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th of January.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Belly of the Whale

Snowy scene at Lake Wenatchee
Indian "Summer" days in the city of Wenatchee.

After the racing season got off to a slow start due to some upper respiratory infection, I made it back to Central Washington. It's must be something about sleeping back in familiar territory, but the health is coming back strong. After a couple days of running in the foothills of Wenatchee and rollerskis along the mighty Columbia, I headed up to the parent's cabin in the Cascades to get on the real stuff. 

Fortunately, winter has recently arrived in the Northwest's mountains. Nearly two feet of the dense "Cascade Cement" fell from the heavens yesterday, with another foot or so on it's way tomorrow. It is so cool to see such big, monster-sized flakes falling from the sky, and feel a part of such a monster storm.   With the nordic center up at Stevens Pass up and running right now, I have a great venue to get back on snow and seek the good tidings -  and technique and timing of cross-country skiing.

The 5th Graders back in Mr. Peck's class were psyched on their early Christmas present - Toblerone chocolate straight from it's source from across the Atlantic. At twelve pounds of solid triangular Swiss chocolate, honey, and almond nougat, I knew this would be a winner with the young lads and ladies.  It's definitely an added bonus to get to spend a little extra time in the classroom.