Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hello, Headlamp Season 2015!

We're back!  Winter is here, and so is totally dark headlamp racing on Wednesday nights at Cabin Creek.  A new schedule is posted over there on the left.  You know the drill: it's totally dark out there, and we're self-lit, self-timed, start whenever you want to, race against your friends or race against yourself, then go up to the cabin to change clothes and eat dinner and compare stories ... and put down your time on the sign-up sheet.  That's it!

Brent sends us a few reminders:

  • Timing is on the honor system, and cheaters never prosper.
  • If you're skiing on trails other than the race loop (which is the Berg and PK loops), ski with a friend.  Out there be cougars and owls and hypothermia.
  • It's best to use a headlamp of at least 100 lumens, because it's pitch black out there.  A headlamp like that will run you about $50-$100, and don't forget that Petzl is one of our sponsors.
  • On any given night, safety and/or snow conditions may require a change in the course, so just chill and go with the flow.
  • Participants are welcome in the cabin and wax shed, but be sure to take away your trash; there is no garbage pickup up there.
  • Snowpark permits with groomed stickers are required; carpooling is encouraged.
  • This is a nonsanctioned event, so no whining, no complaining, and save your drama for your mama.
  • Awards are given for overall attendance and in age groups: top five results in an age group count, and first in class with five people racing gets five points, first in class with two people racing gets two points, and etc.
See you out there!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Goodbye, Headlamp Season 2014!

It figures that, with the crazy weather we've had this winter, the last headlamp race of the year would feature gusty pouring rain for the drive up to the pass and 40 degrees and torrential rain and thunder at Cabin Creek at 5:00.  By race time at 6:30, however, the weather had mellowed to a lovely soft gray evening with heavy heavy wet snow and the teensiest hint of the fragrance of spring, and the end-of-season relay was on!

Mr Helly Hansen, Brent Turner, picked out two-person teams from the skiers gathered in the stadium area, trying to mix up fast and slow, classic and skating, men and women.  It wasn't easy; as has been the case all winter, the participants skewed heavily toward strong fast men, and handsome, too.  Didn't matter; we formed up teams the best we could and toed the line for six sprint laps: speedster Brad Bauer linked with two second-grade girls, speedsters Kent Murdoch and Rune Harkestad teamed with two slowpoke classic skiers, father/daughter Jeff and Uhuru Hashimoto, father/son Ian and Kaiam Whyte, husband/wife JeffnJoy, last-minute ringer team Russell Stevenson and John Outterson, and lots more.  It was the biggest turnout we've had all year, drawn by the prospect of one last night of headlamp(less) skiing and a party and prizes in the cabin after.

Racing (and I think there were more who didn't put down their names)

Russell Stevenson/John Outterson
Bruce Christopherson/Dale Bohm
John Loeffler/Carmie
Sharon Chen/Jon Fewster
Kent Murdoch/Eric
Brad Bauer/Alma Fast/Mimi Koehler
Christopher Fast/Sven Koehler
Brent Turner/Adrian
Rune Harkestad/Debbie Kolp
Ian Whyte/Kaiam Whyte
Robert Hardwick/Jeff McGrew
Jeff Clark/Joy Cordell
Jeff Hashimoto/Uhuru Hashimoto
Max Sevareid/someone else

Many thanks to Jon, who brought a quiver of new Madshus skis for people to test-drive, and to Brent, who brought enough Helly Hansen goodies in his big duffle bag that every single person went home with something new and fun.  It was a great evening in the cabin, with stories told of the winter just past and biking and running and roller skiing plans hatched for the summer to come.

And that's it for another fabulous year of headlamp racing!  I'll miss you all, but watch for next year's schedule posted here in December, and please make plans to come to our trail work parties in the fall.  Until then, train hard, be safe, have fun!  See you outside, somewhere ...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

End-of-Season Relay--What's That All About?

Grooming ends at Cabin Creek, and indeed all the Snoqualmie Summit snow-parks, this weekend, and that means this Wednesday is the last headlamp race of the season.  So sad!  But let's finish it off with a bang -- the traditional end-of-season relay and party, with prizes!

Here's how it works.  All season you've been able to just show up and race whenever you want to, but not this week -- it's a mass start at 6:30, so plan to be in the stadium area around 6:15 to get organized.  Mr Helly Hansen, Brent Turner, will select two-person teams, mixing up slow skiers and fast skiers and young and old and classic and skating.  (Don't fret if you're a fast skier; all the age-group winners have already been determined, so you won't lose any points by being paired with a slow-poke.)  Each team will have one classic skier and one skate skier, and each team member will ski three sprint laps, alternating with their teammate, for a total of six laps per team.

The sprint course starts on the road, turns right on Amabilis Road and then right again onto the Berg loop (so we're skiing the Berg in reverse -- fun!), around the PK loop in reverse, and then back to the road to tag your teammate.  Doing the course backwards turns it into a whole new day, and since there aren't likely to be any non-racers about, we don't have to worry about smacking into anyone.

After the relay and any cool-down laps you want to ski, we'll head up to the cabin for dinner (bring your own), announcements of age-group winners, and prizes from our fabulous sponsor, Helly Hansen.  And that will be it for another year.  This is a super fun evening and you definitely won't want to miss it, because it's going to be a long nine months until we headlamp race again.  See you there!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 19, Classic

No word on conditions, but here are the results:

5k classic

Christopher Fast, 47, 18:41
Jeff Clark, 60, 21:00
Jim Slyfield, 56, 21:14
Sharon Chen, 49, 26:29
Pat Kaald, 76, 39:00

Just Skiin'

Peter Turcan
Ozzie Nordheim
Gunnar Unneland
Per Johnsen
Paul Kaald
Bert Larsson
Susie Larsson
Jon Fewster
Russell Stevenson
Rebecca Queitszch

Heads up for next week: the end of season relay and party!  The relay starts at 6:30; more details will be coming in a couple of days.  See you there!

Friday, March 14, 2014

March 12, Skate

Hey, the gang is coming back!  It looks like a good turnout this week, so let's keep coming -- two more weeks until the end-of-season relay and party.  Good skiing to be had!

Big thanks to Chris Fast for sending me this report and the results:

Beautiful evening on the trails!  The air was warm and the snow alternated between soft/slowish and firm/fast.  We did a long warm-up lap in the warm glow of the setting sun and managed to finish my two timed laps of Berg before needing to pull out the headlamp.  Fifteem minutes into our post-race ski part way up Amabilis, we realized that we didn't need the headlamps because the moon was rising above the trees.  The lamps were necessary for the descent, however.

Btw, Jeff and Uhuru were there too (not on the results sheet).  They were "just skiing" all the way up Amabilis.

5k Skate
Rune Harkestad, 49, 14:31
Egor Klevak, 29, 17:14
Sven Koehler, 43, 17:38
Christopher Fast, 47, 17:53 (classic)
Jeff McGrew, 54, 18:32
Jeff Clark, 60, 19:03
Peter Turcan, 56, 19:57
Sharon Chen, 49, 21:44
Dale Bohm, 55, 23:00

Just skin'
Pat Kaald
Paul Kaald
Brad Bauer
Loren Hanson
Mark Hanson
Doug Mercer
Rolf Sonnerup
John Outterson
Amelia Keyser-Gibson
Stephen Gibson
Bush Kids

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Gentle Reminder About Tomorrow

Don't forget -- the end-of-season relay and party are postponed until the last Wednesday of the month, so keep skiing!

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 5, Classic ... Again

We have results!  Sharon found the sign-in sheet at the cabin, so now we know who was there on that rainy rainy Wednesday.   Yay, Jordan!

Jordan Goldfarb, 21:59

Just skiin'

Sharon Chen
Ian Whyte
Pat Kaald
Paul Kaald

Anyone else?  Don't forget: the headlamp season is extending through the end of March, and this Wednesday looks dry and clear, with daylight!  See you there?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

March 5, Classic

Nick the groomer's report from Wednesday morning:

I've seen three seasons in the last hour, one of them winter. 

I heard through the Facebook grapevine that the grooming was fantastic and the skiing was actually pretty good during the day.  Did anyone make it up there last night who wants to send me a report?

The slush and rain are making it hard to be in love with skiing right now, but we're optimistically keeping the headlamp racing season open until the end of March and this Sunday is the 50k Slushfest, I mean Ozbaldy, at Cabin Creek.  Come on up and show this crazy mixed-up winter that you are still the boss!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February 26, Skating

I missed out on headlamp skiing AGAIN, but that's okay; Chris Fast sent us this report.

"The weather was perfect and the snow was pretty darned fast."

And these results:

Brad Bauer  12:39
Jon Fewster  14:13
Chris Fast  15.12
John Outterson  15.43
Jeff Clark  18:00
Ryan Jones-Casey  19:00
Dan Moore  20:20
Sharon Chen  21:48
Dale Bohm  22:01
Greg Jacobson  23:00
Ian Whyte, creating his own loop on the road+Viking+Ozbaldy, 45:50

Plus lots of people just skin'.

And here's the great news -- with all the snow we finally got, no one wants to stop headlamp skiing, so Brent is extending the race season to the end of March!  Check out the new schedule on the left, and keep charging your headlamp.  See you next Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Weather Forecast

Here is the forecast (as of Tuesday night) for Wednesday evening.  Let's get the band back together and go skiing!

Mostly Cloudy

Thursday, February 20, 2014

February 19, Classic ... or Whatever

I saw a Facebook post that sounds like someone made it up there through the storm and snow and intermittent pass closures.  Anyone else?

It was nice for night skiing but was snowing like crazy. Amazed that I could skate tonight. Groomer for president!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 12, Skate

The report on Wednesday morning said nine inches of base, five inches of slush, 39 degrees and raining hard, areas of standing water.  What's not to love?  We all know that there's no such thing as a bad day of Totally Dark Headlamp Racing, and last night was no exception: cool and damp like a puppy's nose, the solar system displayed above us in the deep dark sky, headlamps bobbing through the trees, fun conversation over dinner.  Early skiers reported slushy conditions, but for those of us who came later and skied in the dark, the dropping temperatures turned the snow "fast and funky," as Brad described it.

The good news: there appears to be enough coverage to hold the Stampede on Sunday, so come on up and race!

Brad Bauer 40 12.42
Peter Boveng 55 13.55
Jon Fewster 43 15.10  classic
Jim Slyfield 19.01
Dale Bohm 20.07
Ian Whyte 22.20
Sharon Chen 25.20
Debbie Kolp 37.00  classic, gazing upon Jupiter and the full moon, 
making my own kind of music
Just skiin'
Bert Pschunder, back from World Masters!
Jeff McGrew

Thursday, February 6, 2014

February 5, Skating

Brrr!  Way too cold for me, but a handful of hardy Vikings made it up there and raced.  Peter sends us this succinct report -- he's probably too frozen to write any more.  Nice work, guys; now go get some hot chocolate!

Six degrees F with a nice little breeze. Very very very hard snow.

Nolan Poulin 23 12:53
Peter Boveng 55 14:30
Jon Fewster 43 14:51
Brent Turner 59 16:01
Jeff McGrew 54 16:39
Jim Slyfield 56 17:49
Dale Bohm 55 20:29
Ian Whyte (unlisted time)

Plus Jeff and Carey and a bunch of Ellensburg kids and parents and a bunch of Bush School kids.

Friday, January 31, 2014

January 29, Classic

A new contender this week!  Chris Fast doesn't let the iffy snow level scare him away, and he sends us this report:

Here are the results for tonight's classic race: 
First place:  Christopher Fast   25:56  two full laps with PK 
Peter and his brother were skating.  Ian was there before me, so he might have a competitive time.  And a dozen Bush kids were leaving as I arrived. 
It was slooooooooow snow tonight.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

January 22, Skate

Hurray for Ian "glass half full" Whyte, who appears to be the only person actually racing and timing himself on headlamp Wednesdays!  The rest of us, by which I mean me, stay late at work and stare morosely at the dank gray fog and hope for a polar vortex, or a bombogenesis, or just some good old wintry mix.

While we wait, here is Ian's report from this week.  I believe he is a shoo-in for the attendance prize this year!
The groomer's doing a fantastic job with the snow that's out there. I only skied the Borg and the Road (the stretch between the road and the cabin is sketchy), but it was fun! Two laps around the Borg in 19:50. Jeff and the Ellensberg kids were there as well as, I think, the Bush kids and their sawed-off yellow bus.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

January 15, Classic

Hey, people went skiing!  Good for you, and good for you for making up whatever course you could think of to do.  Ian Whyte and his son Kaiam skied the "Borg" loop, which is the Berg loop from the road without the extra loop, in 19:24ish.  Dale Boehm skied from the Stampede start area to the end of the road and back in 14:47.  He reported seeing a pack of Ellensburg skiers, along with coaches Jeff, Carey, and Tim, but I haven't seen any race times for them.  Dale also sends us this conditions report and timely suggestion:

It was 35 degrees at 6:30pm and with day time highs in the
40s forecast for the next several days, I don't think the road will last
too much longer. Get it while you can!

And don't forget: the Amabilis Scramble is Sunday.  See you there, no matter what crazy conditions are thrown at us!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wednesday Update!

Ozzie is up at the cabin now and reports fantastic conditions!  Corn snow, very fast, and enough to ski around the entire course.  The groomer rolled it this morning, but there are no classic tracks.  Our race schedule says classic tonight, but I say, if you can make it up there and want to ski, do whatever you want!  And if you send me your time, I'll post it.  Have fun!

Monday, January 13, 2014

I miss everything ...

... the excitement of pulling into the dark parking lot and wondering how many cars will be there, the warmth and light in the cabin as we put on our boots and adjust our headlamps, the silent whisper of skis in the tracks, the paw prints of tiny animals following the trail, the glimmer of headlamps through the trees, the whoosh of flying downhill in the Mystical Cone of Headlamp Happiness, the anticipation of recording your name and time and seeing how you stacked up, the dinner-eating and story-telling, the long drive home in the dark and snow and rain.

But not this ...

Pass Report


39ºF / 3ºC


3022 ft / 921 m


No restrictions


No restrictions


Roadway bare and wet.



Updated: Monday January 13, 2014 9:38 PM

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ready to Race?

Unfortunately, Mother Nature is not quite ready for you.  The snow at Cabin Creek is VERY thin and not skiable, unless tonight's storm drops down low enough to give us some snow.  The snow higher up on Amabilis is perfect, and, of course, dark, and I've heard that Brent and Peter and Chris are maybe thinking of heading up there for some headlamp action on Wednesday night.  If you go, be sure to check the grooming report first:


... and be safe, have fun, and tell me all about it!  And don't forget to keep doing the snow dance.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Anticipation ...

This is what Cabin Creek looks like right now.

The best headlamp in the world isn't going to make that skiable.  If anyone in LinkedIn with Ullr, this would probably be a good time to call in a favor.