Ever since my first trip five years ago I have been trying to get back to British Columbia to ski. I thought this year would be the time to make it happen as I have a 6 week sabbatical from work. Prior engagements placed timing restrictions on when I could schedule the extended vacation and the end of April was the earliest I could get away. Timing and partners didn’t line up for BC but as soon as that idea faded, another quickly materialized. Try to ski some of the volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest. I say “try” because the PNW is notorious for huge storms coming off the Pacific Ocean lasting for days at a time shutting down any chance of travel above treeline.
It is always sound mountaineering to have contingency plans, especially when objectives depend highly upon the weather. With 8 days committed to on-snow travel and the ability to travel to different peaks based on weather windows, my party should be able to get in some quality time in the mountains. Even if no summits are reached, it will be a good chance to get my feet wet (possibly very wet if the notoriety for rainy weather in this region holds true).
In the mean time, I have scheduled a few running and multi-sport events to train for which should help maintain fitness. As the weather has turned more normal in the mountains around here, it may be possible to get in a little more skiing before the big trip.
The NWAC has a pretty cool map based tool that overlays the current (and past) avalanche forecast on a topo map. Check it out here. Obviously the bulletin forecast for large areas are pretty general and spatial variability plays a significant role in slope stability but still a neat tool to use for route planning.