Written by: Ben Blauer | Edited by: Dara Barney
The ‘Goodest Boy’ of White Pass
ALERT! White Pass Ski Area has taken on a new crew member — a German Shephard named Maverick. Maverick is a one-year-old pure-bred owned by their very own Pro Patrol team member Michael Hildebrand. This bad-ass pooch is training to become the first avalanche search and rescue dog at White Pass Ski Area, since the 1990s. White Pass Ski Area’s first search and rescue dog was never fully trained and certified, according to The Daily Chronicle.
Maverick is well on his way to full certification. Hildebrand told the Daily Chronicle that the pro patrol team does their best to cause avalanches themselves while riders are off the mountain before skiers/boarders cause real potential damage on their own. By the time Maverick is fully certified on the mountain, he’ll have multiple Pro Patrol members certified to work with him so he’s always ready to move out.
Most ski resorts have avalanche search and rescue dogs for good reason. Properly trained search and rescue dogs are able to cover much more ground than people in a shorter amount of time. Because their noses are their most valuable asset, aside from the companionship (obviously), their potential to locate objects buried in the snow is instrumental for recovering downed skiers and snowboarders. Keep your eyes out for Mavy the Avy Dog when you hit White Pass this winter!
White Pass Ski Area – WA’s Hidden Gem
The locals who populate White Pass have skiing in their DNA. This friendly resort is absolutely primo if you want a memorable day on the slopes. Two of the first things you’ll notice after you park your car are the short lift lines and the family atmosphere. Local families bring their children to White Pass to learn how to ski for a reason. There are stories on top of stories online about generations of families learning to ski at White Pass Ski Area. These lift lines will take you back to the golden days of American skiing. Do not expect to wait in a lift line for more than two minutes during the week, and prepare to hit as many runs as your body can take. This rad heritage has built a steady flow of locals over the years who adore this resort — as they should.
You’ll come for the views and terrain, but you’ll stay for the culture. White Pass offers a total of eight chair lifts, 47 trails, awesome pockets of trees, gnarly terrain parks, sweet Nordic skiing, night skiing, on-site childcare, and incredible views of Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams. The resort’s versatile terrain includes easy trails for beginners and more difficult trails for the intermediate crowd. For all you “hardos” out there looking for your adrenaline fix, White Pass has its fair share of hard lines ready to shred.
When you find yourself at the summit of White Pass Ski Area, you’ll quickly realize why the locals keep coming back. Mt. Adams is absolutely gorgeous, and Mt. Rainer measuring at more than 14,000 feet is a special sight to see from White Pass. Soaking up the views from the top of Couloir Express will touch your damn soul. If you don’t believe me, you’ll have to experience it for yourself.
The White Pass culture will resonate with you unlike any big-name ski resort you’ve ever been. I’ll tell you now, you’ll wish you could stay longer. Every season they host annual events you won’t want to miss. My personal favorites are the Castle Jam, Pond Skim, and Winter Carnival.
The White Pass Winter Carnival is an instant classic. As one of the most anticipated winter events in the Pacific Northwest, the White Pass family spends weeks preparing for this awesome weekend of fun. The most notable aspect of the Winter Carnival is the mandatory medieval snow castle; and not like the one we built as kids. Although different every year, it’s built near the base just in front of the lodge where the runs merge. The massive castle is the center of attention for Winter Carnival. Kids and adults alike spend the weekend playing in and around the castle. Other events at the White Pass Winter Carnival include a medieval feast, obstacle course races, fireworks, and the torchlight parade. This season’s Winter Carnival will be held on the weekend of Feb. 29th, 2020. See you there!
The weekend after Winter Carnival, the castle is converted into a terrain park for an event called Castle Jam. There are usually four or five jumps between the castle’s snow pillars ready for contestants of all ages. Some big and some small, riders launch themselves through each gap for an entire crowd of eager fans to watch. Riders of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to participate in this rare occasion. This is one of the most exciting events of the year so bring your friends and bring your skills!
Another classic event White Pass loves to host is their annual Pond Skim. Once again, the White Pass family from near and far gathers for a day of shenanigans at the base of the mountain. Contestants come prepared, dressed head-to-toe in silly or random costumes, to skim across an ice-cold pond. The winner is judged on completion, style, and appearance. Anyone can enter with a $25 donation that goes toward the White Pass Volunteer Ski Patrol. This season’s pond skim will be held April 20th, 2020.
Do not be alarmed by the connection you’ll feel with White Pass after you leave. Everyone says hello, employees smile when you ask them for help, and dogs come running if you ever get trapped under the snow. White Pass culture is simply contagious. No matter what kind of snow rider you are, there is something for you at White Pass Ski Area.