The Leavenworth Winter Sports Club just can’t get a break this winter. Earlier, lack of snow hindered its operations and canceled some annual festival events. Now, the glut of snow and resulting avalanche danger has canceled one of its big events of the year, this weekend’s Hog Loppet ski trek.
This would have been the 26th year for the cross-country ski trek, in which some 600 registered participants make the 30-kilometer trek from Mission Ridge ski area, near Wenatchee, to Blewett Pass. (For more background, see this Seattle Times story from last November.)
“We have been in touch with the Mission Ridge Ski Patrol and forecasters at the Northwest Avalanche Center as the winter storm cycle continued to develop,” Mark Milliette, general manager, wrote in a posting on the sports club’s website. “The most recent observations and forecasts have brought about the decision to cancel the event due to safety concerns for our participants, support organizations and employees.”
“We share the disappointment felt by all those that planned to participate and support the event,” added Milliette.
More than six feet of fresh snow has fallen in areas of the Cascades since last week. The Northwest Avalanche Center on Friday showed high avalanche danger for the Blewett Pass area, noting “dangerous, deep, persistent slab conditions” east of the Cascade crest. Two skiers died at Washington ski areas this week, one at Crystal Mountain when he fell into a tree well and suffocated, and another at Stevens Pass when he apparently hit some rocks. A tree-well accident happens when a skier falls into a well of deep, loose snow at the base of a tree and becomes immobilized.