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Snow sends siers on a long uphill climb Jan 6, 2007

January 7 2007 at 5:11 AM

Jack  (Premier Login hyak)
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Snow sends skiers on a long uphill climb

Snow sends skiers on a long uphill climb
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By Matt Markovich

13 inches of snow fell on Snoqualmie Pass on Friday night, not only slicking up the roads but also burying the area in white but also knocking out power to the area and triggering an avalanche.

A transmission line feeding the area went down early Saturday morning Everything that needed power and was not connected to a generator was shut down, including ski lifts at the Summit at Snoqualmie. Some skiers who weren't willing to give up on their day on the slopes had no choice but to hoof it up the hill.

"If you wanted to go to the top it takes about an hour," said one skier. "It's a lot work for five minutes coming down the mountain "

The power outage came at a crucial time for the ski resort. The first Saturday in January is usually one of their busiest days of the year. And the resort expected 9,000 people this year, plus another 3,000 for the first day of private ski school.

Power was restored around 3:30 this morning, but only Summit Central is open for night skiing on Saturday. The entire ski area is expected to be back up and running on Sunday.

Meantime, travelers heading over the pass had bad news, too. An avalanche came crashing down onto the pass at the Lake Cachess snowshed, shutting down all lanes between 1:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m.

Mike Westbay with the state Department of Transportation says it wasn't the amount of snow, but rather the type of snow that was falling that caused all the trouble.

"It's like ball bearings and it's just not sticking to the side of the mountain," he said. "So they are just rolling off on and over the snowshed blocking a couple lanes ," he said.

Crews cleared the avalanche in two hours, but road crews are planning for another foot to hit the pass Saturday night.


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