Over the weekend, the WALLY Team took a quick trip deep into the Washington Cascades for the 10th annual Hope on the Slopes, Ski and Ride for a Cure event. Each year, skiers and boarders from around the state travel to White Pass to raise money for the American Cancer Society. In a contest to rack up the most vertical feet skied, participants ride for 24 hours in teams made up of 10-15 people.
We witnessed the dedication of the participants, who hit the slopes determined to raise money for a cure. At the end of two days, the team that claimed the victory had skied well over 1,500,000 feet - wow!
Fortunately for participants, weather conditions were ideal with only a slight mix of rain. But we're sure that even poor weather conditions wouldn't have stopped these skiers and boarders. Had the rain washed away the seven inches of fresh powder, our guess is these participants wouldn't have had a problem being the Skis in the Rain Guy if it meant supporting a great cause.
In the Pacific Northwest, we love skiing and snowboarding just as much as the next person, but poor weather conditions, such as rain, are just one of many hazards you could encounter when on a mountain. Rain actually acts as a catalyst that can trigger other dangers when skiing or snowboarding. Since it's always good to be prepared, here are some tips the WALLY team picked up over the weekend:
Watch out for Avalanches
Avalanches are bad news. The same warm temperatures that cause big fluffy flakes to turn into raindrops can also create the perfect conditions for a deadly slide. As the weather heats up, the top layers of snow begin to melt. This change is triggered by rainfall and it’s only a matter of time before gravity wins and an avalanche is triggered. That’s why it’s extra important to avoid avalanche-prone areas.
Watch for Ice
Ice is another hazard that skiers and boarders need to be aware of. Keep in mind that the weather and temperatures are constantly changing; you could start a run in the rain, but the slush can quickly turn into black ice.
This may sound obvious; if you're riding in the rain, you either wear waterproof gear or you get soaked. What some people don't remember is that being wet in cold temperatures can lead to hypothermia. Since the weather is unpredictable at times and changes fast, it's always a good idea to be prepared; you could start your day with a nice, clear run, only to encounter rain in the afternoon. Play it safe and bring extra clothing just in case, so you won't have to cut your day of skiing short.