My wife had her first Hyak experience today, and now understands why I've been eager to get her over there. We both agree that it is both the best that The Summit has to offer, and holds the most untapped potential.
When I called the snow line this morning, it said that East was open and that both Keechelus and Easy Gold would be in operation. We arrived a 10ish, and parked at Silver Fir in order to avoid the awful Hyak parking lot. Big letdown when we got to the crossover trail and found a huge CLOSED sign. Arggh. Hyak was the goal of the day and we didn't want to wait for the pokey shuttle, so we hopped in the SUV, I kicked off my right boot, kicked in the 4WD, and we bounced our way through the Hyak lot.
2nd big letdown of the day was to see that Easy Gold wasn't running as advertised. Dang! That is one long hike up, especially when I try to do the "good husband" thing and carry both sets of skis. We immediately decided that it was our only hike of the day, and once we skiied down for lunch, that would be it. We cooled off with the leisurely ride up Keechelus.
My son and I shared a chair, and seeing the spotty coverage on the lower face his comment was that the hike "was so not worth it." On first glance, I agreed with him. When we got to the top, I saw how wrong we were. Coverage was excellent, though slightly crusty in spots. No worries about brown bleed-through until the trail merge above Easy Gold. All runs were open, including the crossover to Central (clearly, a one-way trip!) Serpentine was in great shape all the way down; my wife liked it so much we took it three or four times. I did notice that other than the main signs at the top, there was little or no signage on the hill directing riders to the runs themselves; hopefully that will arrive sometime this season.
No crowds at all, and never a line to get on the lift until it broke down at about 1:30. Probably everyone that wasn't stuck on the lift or on the backside doing nordic was at the load station, and it easily totaled a whopping 20 or 30 people. A mechanic came over on a snowmobile and eventually got it running, but by then we decided it was time for a bio-break and lunch, so we called it a day with no regrets.
I can't wait until we go to Summit East again. Now I know what we've been missing.