Skip to main content

Club News

2013 December CDS Membership Meeting Minutes

Cascade Drift Skippers

Membership Meeting

December 11, 2013


Kurt Zeutchel, President, thanked everyone for coming this evening. 

Chris Mayer introduced all guests and new members that attended this evening.

  • Casey Jones looks forward to riding this season.  He is new to the club this season and has 2 brand new sleds.
  • Herb got new 2014 Pro.Rides a lot in I90 and Baker.Anyone who has the time contact him as he rides a lot!
  • Mike Morin, guest at the meeting as he was interested in attending the avalanche class this evening.He rides a ski-doo.
  • Mike Metzer, plans to join our awesome club, lives in Edmonds.Rides a Pro and has been 6 times this year already.
Christmas Party:  Rebecca thanked the Christmas party team (Jason Holmes, Pete Beaupain, Gary Harris, and Christmas elf Linda Bowen.  The party will take place on Sat, Dec 14th at Last Resort in Ronald.  509-649-2222.  42 people ordered so far.  Happy hour is at 5:00, Dinner at 6:30, and the party will follow.  Christmas elf will cover the gift exchange.  Rooms are available for $55 single, $70 double and you get 10% off at breakfast.  Gift exchange, you need to bring a present if you plan on  participating.  No gag gifts allowed.  Numbers will be drawn to select a gift.  Just a reminder to everyone, Don Mays sells non-ethinol gas at the Last Resort gas station. 


Budget Report:   Income from CDS dues, WSSA dues, t-shirt sales, dinners, straps, raffle, and .04 cents in interest.  Expenses were 40 dinners, Club Express fee’s, new logo design, CDS stickers.  See the report online for details.



Grooming Report:  Grooming council meeting had 34 people attend.  Bought knife for Tim Foss’s retirement.     State parks was at the meeting and will have sani-kans.  4517 road to Easton had a dog musher and replaced culverts in the road.  Putting up signs to let everyone know what is allowed on the trail.  Tony D sent a two page letter of questions asked by the mushers, Pete talked to Tony and he was happy with the answers.  All Trails day to Olympia on January 28th, make room reservations and contact Dee Alred to make reservations for appointments with the legislators.

Raffle Run January 25th at Last Resort.  Tim Penelerick is in charge of the event. 


Safety:  Mick Steinman covered safety with the club.  Reminded people of stumps and other hazards as you are riding right now and don’t want you to rouine your sled.  The Friend of Avalanche Center is sponsoring Snowball auction on January 30th and cost $90 down in Georgetown area.  See Mick for tickets.  Check NW Avalanche site before riding this season.  Take precautions when going out.  If you have any special requests talk to Mick Steinman. 

WSSA report:

WSSA talked about gasoline tax lid, registration fees, and discovery pass.  Dick attended the WSSA meeting in Selah, along with Kurt and Carl Corn.  2nd Annual Leadership Meeting is on December 13th downtown Seattle and it’s a great opportunity for the Commissioner to meet with leaders.  And, an opportunity to discuss outdoor recreation in Washington State.  There is no listing of monies coming from non-motorized and other fund, but our fund is being swept and this is the main reason Dick is going to attend this meeting.  The big issue is the $100,000 in money that was swept out of the funds for Teanaway Valley, which is 50,000 acres.  Wayne Mohler is negotiating and an update will be shared once we have more information. 


  • Tom Imm recommended a name of an avalanche DVD that is great to watch.
  • Mick has Mike Duffy’s avalanche DVD that you can borrow, if interested.
  • Tim Penerlick has beacons to test and use if you forgot yours. Stop by Last Resort to pick one up if you want to
  • Bill Yager makes straps and sells them if anyone needs straps.
  • Bob Posey has ice scratchers for $20
  • Linda Bowen had two shovels for sale $10.

Upcoming Events:

December 14th: CDS Annual Holiday Ride and Party:  Party will be at The Last Resort.  5:00 PM

December 26-28th:  Carl Corn and Cheryl O’Shaughnessy will be camping out of Crystal Springs Snow-park if anyone is interested in riding out of there on those days.


January 1st:  Next Cascade Drift Skippers Board Meeting.  This meeting will take place through virtual meeting.  Contact Chris Mayer (VP), if you are interested in joining the call as he will provide dial in information.


January 4th:
Passing out WSSA 101 Flyers to remind people of the Importance of Registering your snowmobiles. We are meeting at the Summit Rest area just past fire station on left at 7:00am. Then will determine the snow-park we will hand out flyers for.  Later riders are meeting at microwave tower at 10am.   LEADER (TBD)

**The Senior Center in Cle Elum is having its Annual Crab Feed on Saturday, Jan 4th. 5pm is Social Hour, 6pm is Dinner. $25.00 per person. Kay Lloyd will have tickets available. The tables hold 10 people so need to get them reserved.


January 8th:  Next Cascade Drift Skippers Membership Meeting.  Issaquah Elks Lodge.  6PM Please register online by January 1st if you plan on attending and would like dinner that evening.

January 11th:
**CDS Skills Ride with Chris Mayer – Out of Crystal Springs at 8AM

**North Cascade Ride with NW Glacier Cruisers at Mt Baker. Check out their website for more details.

January 18th:
Family Friendly ride led by Jon Ferrian.  Meet at Crystal Springs at 9:30, leave at 10:00.


January 25th:
Whistlin’ Jacks Ride. Meet at Gardner’s at 8:30, or at Cle Elum Safeway by 8:00.  Ride starts from Gardners at 9:00. Need a ride leader. 


January 30th:
Friends of The Northwest Avalanche Center Annual Snowball Event:  The Seattle Design Center; Georgetown District of South Seattle
Seattle, WA.  6PM. 
For more information, contact Mick Steinman

WSSA General Meeting-

Date: January 11th, 2014 (9am)
Mt. Baker Ranger District 810 State Route 20 Sedro Woolley

Contact: 360-630-0717

Join us up at Mt. Baker for a ride and meeting! District 1 North will be hosting the January WSSA Meeting. In addition, rides are planned for the weekend. If you have been wanting to attend a WSSA meeting, and maybe more importantly, ride Mt. Baker, here is your chance! Everyone is welcome!

WSSA's 'All Trails to Olympia Day'
Date: January 28th, 2014 (8am)
Location: State Capitol, Olympia

Join us and talk directly with your State Senator & Representatives. Tell them what snowmobiling means to you!

WSSA Winter Rendezvous & Meeting
Date: February 14th-17th, 2014
Location: Campbell's Resort, Lake Chelan

Four days of spectacular riding! Dinner and other entertainment on Friday, Saturday & Sunday evenings! Join us!
WSSA Raffle: Reminder of the raffle will be drawn in February at the Rendezvous.  1000 tickets are sold and the winner gets Triton open trailer.


Dave Jordan of NW Avalanche Center covered the Awareness Course

Dave spends most of his time as a mountain guide, mountaineering, rock climbing.  Their new website came online today so he wanted to share it with the group and mentioned we need to check it out.

There are 3 levels of courses that NWAC provides.  Level 1 is all anyone needs for a safe backcountry user for 8 hour class and runs somewhere around $300.  Level 2 goes on to a 5 day course and you learn a lot of about the science of snow.  Level 3 course is an 8 day course and for the professional (ex: dept of transportation, forecasters, etc). 

NWAC is funded by the government and just started forecasting today and goes until around the middle of April.  There is a special Snowball event each year in January that helps generate funds to keep this going. 


Fatality by Activity listed:
-Climber/hikers                  32 fatalities
-Snowmobilers                   126 fatalities
-Backcountry Skier             49 fatalities
-Out of Bounds Skier         30 fatalities



Fatalities by age, younger age have a higher risk tolerance. On average 36 people will die in North American in avalanches this season.  Snowmobilers ride a majority of the time in the tree’s, so that’s why snowmobilers have a higher risk.  He briefly discussed the science behind avalanches. (EX: unstable snow, avalanche terrain, and triggers) that make it happen.  Also shared when stress exceeds strength, and differences of slab versus loose snow avalanche.  Avalanches can be very small or very big.  Humans can only create avalanche like 3’, but a snowmobile can create a much bigger avalanche due to the weight. 
Loose avalanches don’t typically amount to a lot; sloughs are what they call them.  Loose wet is a hazard, especially in the spring; a lot of the wet snow has a lot of mass to it and moves slowly and easy to get out of. 



Unstable snow, make sure you park out of the area when riders are on a steep slope.
The new homepage for NWAC was shared and it’s very important that everyone checks the website before you ride.  Look out for red flags as the slope is obvious with new avalanche debris. 

Signs of instability:  Listen for the signs..but it’s tough for snowmobilers to do this.  This is why snowmobiling is much more difficult to gauge.  Look for cracking, collapsing, and whumpfing.  Take a break and check out the area to test the snow for whumpfing and cracking.  The best you can do is get off occasionally and wonder around and pay attention for these signs. 

Weather clues:  Do trip planning and check the avalanche report and forecast.  Take note of changes.  An 1” an hour of snow fall is an indication of changes.  If you are constantly needing to clear the snow from your goggles, and if you are making comments about how hard it’s snowing, then that is a change in the weather.  He commented on how this changes things, such as wind transported snow (weight), winds are coming pretty hard, cornice is probably facing east and these easterly slopes get all the cornices.  What lands on the leeward side could be 3-5 times more than the other side.  That is the problem with heavy snowfall and wind.    Dave shared a video of an avalanche in Upper Tee Pee Basin.  Great example shared.
The temperature makes a huge difference.  If the sun comes out, the heat breaks the bonds and avalanche will happen shortly after.  Especially in the spring, this may occur more often.  Understanding and managing avalanche terrain is vital. 
Dave showed a picture of Source Lake, there is a giant basin that holds a lot of snow and is very complicated.  The sweet spot of avalanche terrain is 30-45 degree slope angle grade.  Slope meter is a great tool to have and use, so we should all get one of these. 


Reviewed start zone, slide path, and run out photos to share what it looks like when an avalanche occurs.  Recognize the avalanche terrain, gental terrain on top, and a lot of tension on the snow-pack.  On the bottom there is compression and all it takes is a snowmobiler or skier to interrupt the balance.  In one example that was shared, there was not a lot of terrain, but a picture he shared someone lost their life. 


Some clues to look for in avalanche dangers would be busted off trees, look around to find clues.  Terrain trap is another big hazard, terrain features that increase the consequences of being caught in an avalanche.  They are endless.  Start painting these pictures that if you take a route and know what the hazards is, then ask what are the consequences. 



Trigger is any form of stress on the snow-pack.  Snowmobiles, humans, rain, sun, etc.  Rain can sometimes put a stress on the snow and adds a lot of weight on the snow-pack.  Is noise a stress?  No, it would need to be an explosion and the concussions would cause stress.



Choosing your terrain is extremely important.  When in doubt increase your margin of safety.

Covered convexity, slope of shape, concavity terrain… and, if you come through that then you can bring that entire piece down on you.  Complex terrain includes watching for gully/depressions, steep to flatter slope transition, cliff band or trees.  Plan your route and stay on ridges.



10 commandments:

-Have a riding plan for the day; choose terrain that is appropriate for the avalanche conditions. 
-Test stability of snow on small slopes.  Find them and test them out.  If it goes flat, great!
-High marking/hill climbing are high-end activities.  They need high-end assessment skills for avalanche conditions.  Helping others increases the risk to add another snowmobile on the snow pact and sometimes creates the avalanche.
-When crossing avalanche paths
-Know what’s above you.  (busted off trees is a clue)
-Only allow one person on the hill.
-Watch or gather in safe areas only, never sit in run out zones or terrain traps. Get off to one side or the other.
-Trip planning.  Guidebooks, local knowledge, website talking about conditions, retail outlets, what else?  Paint a picture of what it’s going to be like when you go out there. 

If they are calling for certain conditions, go out on those days and see what they are talking about.



NWAC site:

Dave showed us the forecasts, observations pages (danger scale, what the levels look like, telemetry page, map showing the zones, wind directions, temperatures, etc.).  Forecast is put out to be used for daylight hours and used for that day, then updated in the evening so people can use for the next day.  They are trying to get it out, so people can use it for that day. 

Also, shared the tree line scales and avalanche concerns.  High hazard is in the black on the aspect/elevation chart.  When avalanche danger is high, they mean it’s a high likelihood of it happening. 

If interested in beacon courses, they can do those too.  They can cater a course to whatever we need, just ask. 

People need to bring all their tools with them and use them….



Most people are killed on a considerable day.  Once it hits high and extreme, we need to be very cautious even on considerable days.  Critical that we go and watch what’s going on. Mick has seen run outs at 3,000 ft and need to watch up.  Mick had a personal situation of losing a member while riding a few years ago.  Northwest Avalanche can do these training classes for any size of group and feel free to contact Mick or Dave to have these taught at your site. 

If showing up at a club ride, we should be carrying beacon, shovel, probe, radio, etc.  Turn the beacons on.  It’s such an essential tool.    Carl would like to do a test run on beacons on one of the upcoming rides…wear it, use it, and test it wherever you go!  Great idea was shared to have someone at the start of the line of riders and test them as they ride by so we know the beacons are working.