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Trip Report    

Cross-country Ski - Plain Valley

Good day with weather and snow once we got to Plain. Heavy snow and wind at Stevens Pass.

  • Snow and ice on road
  • With the recent heavy, wet snow at Plain they've had a challenge getting the trails rolled and tracks set.  We started at the parking are just north of Stonewater Ranch at the recommendation of the groomer.  Because of the overnight snow they didn't have the lower trail groomed at the time we started (9:30AM).  He suggested we start at Stonewater and ski up to Thousand Trails.  We did and in several cases the groomer met us and was setting track as we were skiing the trail.  Even with freshly laid tracks the snow was soft and powdery.  I found it easier to ski out of the track on the more firmly rolled/packed snow just to the inside of the tracks.

    We were all skiing classic today.  Was not a good day to skate although I did see a few folks trying.

    This isn't a complaint, just an observation.

Getting to Plain today was a challenge.  Heavy snow on Stevens, chains required unless AWD, etc.  Wind was blowing quite a bit and road on the west side of the pass wasn't well plowed.  Once over the pass the road was in better shape and when we got to Plain we had blue sky, puffy clouds, minimal wind, and lots of fresh snow as noted above.

I had planned on about a 10+ miler today based on starting at the Hardware store but since we started part way up the valley we only logged about 6.  

Snow was easy to ski where packed.  Started to get slushy in spots by early afternoon.  Temp at start was about 30 and was about 38 at the end of the day, creating the slush in spots.  Because of the softening snow and the predicted heavy snow coming for the pass in the late afternoon/evening we decided to call it a day when we got back to the parking lot rather than ski down valley some.  

Plain Hardware has moved their rental gear next door to the cafe/restaurant to use the space, help the owners with rent, etc. since Covid has closed their indoor dining much of the past year.  The coffee bar, hardware, and gift sections of the hardware store remain. In fact, they were having a pretty decent sale on gently used skis, boots, poles.

Parking, at least for this good snow year has moved across the street and up about a block to a special plowed area (clearly marked) instead of parking along side the store as in the past.  We started halfway up the valley at the Stonewater Ranch parking/access point as noted above.

Only negative, and has nothing to do with Plain, is that on the trip home Hwy 2 was closed about 5 miles west of the pass due to low hanging power lines.  Several of us sat for 2-3 hours.  A couple of drivers planned their return to North Bend/Bellevue by going Blewitt/I90.  One driver left the Highway 2 standstill after a while and then got caught up in an I90 shut down for avalanche control.  We all have stories to tell about this trip :-)