Culture

Monday, 12/22/2014 6:26 PM
Punxsutawney Phil tends to (ground)hog all the attention, but truth be told, weather-predicting woodchucks are a dime a dozen (see Shubenacadie Sam, Wiarton Willie, General Beauregard Lee). In our rainy climate, we prefer a more amphibian take on meteorology, specifically, a revered bullfrog named Snohomish Slew.
Monday, 12/22/2014 6:16 PM
This article originally appeared on Avvo.com. We’ve all been there, standing face to face with the oh-so-friendly sales associate desperately pitching the brand’s latest deal for “buy one, get one free” or “spend this, get these reward points” that will, according to the salesperson, “save you tons of money in the long run!” Yeah, right.
Monday, 12/22/2014 5:31 PM
After two New York City police officers were shot and killed on Saturday, King County deputies are showing their support and donning mourning bands across their badges. KING 5 reports that the deputies have been instructed "to wear the mourning bands until midnight on the day of the last funeral in New York."
Friday, 12/19/2014 7:58 PM
Quick quiz: What’s the most expensive housing market in North America? If you answered Beverly Hills, San Francisco or Manhattan, thank you for playing.It’s actually Vancouver, British Columbia, a city where the median income is a relatively modest $71,000 and plain Jane single-family houses in good neighborhoods sell for more than $1 million.
Friday, 12/19/2014 6:57 PM
Two historic enemies recently achieved a remarkable détente. The agreement grabbed headlines, but for many, the topic was inherently a snoozer: an alliance between the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. It might sound yawn-inducing, but it could be a harbinger of a major—and positive—shift in regional dynamics. In the new deal, the two ports will act cooperatively in competing and managing the movement of cargo in and out of the region.
Friday, 12/19/2014 6:32 PM
It’s not just you. Pretty much everyone hates Comcast. The super-scientific method of confirming this—checking Yelp reviews—turns up a cascade of comments like these: “If I could, I would rate Comcast below negative,” and “Literally the worst company I’ve ever had to work with,” and “If there were any other option, I’d take it.”You could call Comcast the second-most-hated company in America. The American Customer Satisfaction Index ranked it second from the bottom—only Time Warner Cable scored lower—across all industries.
Friday, 12/19/2014 5:40 PM
A proposed 95 percent tax on electronic cigarettes and other vapor products has local shops that sell e-cigarettes in a tizzy. The tax hike is part of Governor Jay Inslee's buget plan, which was announced yesterday. KING 5 reports the American Vaping Association (yes, that's a thing) says that Inslee's proposal would " nearly [double] the price of nicotine-free vapor products." 
Thursday, 12/18/2014 7:07 PM
Must GrooveDuke Ellington's 'Sacred Music' at Town HallSaturday (12/20, 7:30 p.m.) Earshot Jazz presents the 26th annual concert, a swinging show featuring Ellington’s personal take on “sacred music.” Tickets can be purchased now at Brown Paper Tickets.
Thursday, 12/18/2014 6:57 PM
This time of year can start to feel like you’re trapped in a crinkling vortex of wrapping paper with “Jingle Bell Rock” on repeat. But with his new, permanent work of public art, “There Is Another Sky,” New York artist Spencer Finch reminds us to slow down and look up.
Thursday, 12/18/2014 5:30 PM
Theater renovations for everyone! Seattle's Pacific Science Center just announced that it will close its Boeing IMAX Theater on January 4 in order to revamp it with new technology that GeekWire reports will be "the world’s most advanced digital projection system designed specifically for giant IMAX screens." The Boeing IMAX will reopen in May. PSC is also asking for donations for the renovation.
Wednesday, 12/17/2014 8:59 PM
Whether you are a powder hound, laid-back freerider or Polartec poser, you can find your perfect place in the snow with our at-a-glance roundup of essential ski areas. CRYSTAL MOUNTAINHow big? Largest ski resort in the stateThe scene: FamiliesThe slopes: 2,600 acres; nearly 57 runs of various levels of difficulty Other fun: Sidecountry adventures (see page 126)What’s new: Que Tu Taco Truck, at the base next to the Mountain Shop
Wednesday, 12/17/2014 6:10 PM
Of course there's Bertha news: Digging is slated to continue on the access tunnel above the stalled Bertha boring machine.
Wednesday, 12/17/2014 12:01 AM
Seattle’s Ski HillGet your winter blast fast at The Summit at Snoqualmie When powder fever hits Seattle, the closest snow is less than an hour’s drive east on I-90. At The Summit at Snoqualmie (summitatsnoqualmie.com), a yearly average of 436 inches of the white stuff blankets nearly 2,000 skiable acres across four ski areas—Summits West, East and Central, and Alpental. At Summit East, there’s also a cross-country, Telemark and snowshoe center, and a brand-new quad chairlift (“Rampart Chair”), hauling ever more shredders heavenward. The nearby Summit Tubing Center (complete with rope tow) is a low-tech scream. The amenities might be a tad basic—and the snow occasionally slushy—but you can’t beat the proximity; there aren’t a lot of major cities with such an easy commute to après-work snowboarding and skiing (until 10 p.m. on some runs).Now, something swanky slopeside comes: This season marks the opening of the major chunk of an ambitious multi-use development. The brainchild of former pro skier and Seattleite Bryce Phillips, the so-called Pass Life (thepasslife.com) includes a restaurant, microbrewery, museum and dozens of sleek, green loft townhomes.Inside a Pass Life townhome; Photo by Aaron LeitzPhillips, the founder of Fremont-based sports retailer Evo, says he wanted to create a place for people to linger after open-air adventures: “This project was always meant to be a catalyst, helping to strengthen the community, creating a place for people to connect.” Hungry skiers can come together over hearty comfort fare at the Commonwealth Café (from the creators of Ballard’s brilliant La Carta de Oaxaca) or a pint at brewery/taproom Dru Bru (by engineer turned brewer Dru Ernst). Between these two hubs, the new Washington State Ski & Snowboard Museum will display artifacts of our state’s long love affair with snow sports—and chill ski swag, such as Phil Mahre’s World Cup trophies and Debbie Armstrong’s Olympic gold medal.At press time, the cafe and brewery were scheduled to open mid-December; the museum, later in the season. The lofts are selling quickly—usually before they’re finished—at prices beginning in the low $300Ks. No plans yet for a hotel or short-term rentals, but that could follow. All this upscaling may take a bit of getting used to for longtime locals who love our unshowy but surefire backyard playground. KRISTEN RUSSELLClimb IceHave you ever dreamed of strapping on crampons and scaling a frozen waterfall? Stand aside, James Bond. World-class ice climbing is closer to Seattle than you know. In December and January, Mazama is an ice-climbing mecca, and it’s only a five-hour drive from Seattle via Stevens Pass and Wenatchee to Highway 20 in the Methow Valley.Ice climbing in Mazama, Washington; photo by NCMGYou’ll need to schedule the trip on relatively short notice, since conditions can be fickle, but luckily, there are experts in the area. North Cascades Mountain Guides will help you tackle the frozen waterfall on the 700- to 900-foot Goat’s Beard (a couple miles west of the Mazama Store on Lost River Road). Because the ice forms naturally, routes vary, but there are always a variety of options for beginners and experts alike.“People don’t think of Mazama as an ice-climbing destination,” says local guide Mark Allen, “but this place actually has a very rich history of attracting some of the world’s strongest climbers. When the stars align, it’s some of the best ice in the state.”At the end of the day, refuel with local fare and specialty cocktails at Kelly’s Restaurant (Winthrop, 18381 State Route 20; 509.996.9804; kellys-wesolapolana.com), then settle in for a night of glamping in a tiny, modern cabin on wheels at the Rolling Huts (Winthrop, 18381; 509.996.4442; rollinghuts.com) next door. Bask in the backcountry silence and enjoy panoramic views of snow-covered mountains—or check out the GoPro footage from your day on the ice. Prices start at $340/day. North Cascades Mountain Guides; 509.996.3194; ncmountainguides.com  CHARLOTTE AUSTINSnow DogsGet your mush on in Mt. Bachelor, OregonDogsledding is a surprising study in contrasts. The outing begins with a cacophony of yelping and barking as eager dogs are secured in their harnesses. But lift the sled brake and cry “mush,” and all is silence—or nearly: There’s just the swish of sled runners gliding over the trail and the panting of happy working dogs. With the brisk wind on your face and the smell of evergreens in the air, it’s an unforgettable experience.Follow in the tracks of Jack London with a for-real dog sled adventure; photo: Jay MatherJerry Scdoris, founder of Oregon Trail of Dreams, has been taking novices out with the pack since 1977. His daughter Rachael got so hooked, she became a four-time Iditarod racer, and she now helps Scdoris run the business. Choose one-hour trips or half-day, 26-mile “marathon” runs (adults only) that include lunch at the rustic Elk Lake Lodge, which offers craft beer on tap and dishes made with local meats and produce. The sleds hold four people or 450 pounds, making the short trips a great option for families looking for a low-risk thrill ride. You’ll even get to feed and care for the dogs, and learn about the Iditarod as you glide along trails deep in the pristine Deschutes National Forest. Six-hour drive from Seattle to Mt. Bachelor, Oregon. Sled trips start at $85 for adults and $45 for kids. 800.829.2442; Facebook: “Oregon Trail of Dreams.” DANIELLE CENTONI
Tuesday, 12/16/2014 7:42 PM
Somewhere in our attics or basements lurk dusty boxes containing old family photos, newspaper clippings, marriage licenses, death certificates, maybe even an 8-mm movie taken long ago—remnants of the past and orphans of the digital age. It’s a shame to abandon those precious personal effects, but a daunting task to organize them in a meaningful way. North Seattle–based Molly Bullard, owner of Seattle Photo Organizing (seattlephotoorganizing.com), understands that completely.
Tuesday, 12/16/2014 6:05 PM
You know the feeling well: You’re limping along in the gray Seattle mist when alas--the sun breaks, the clouds clear and our favorite mountain appears. So long, blues!  Cancel that move to Los Angeles. Whether you favor Mount Rainier for its snow sport capacity this time of year or just its sweeping views from Seattle or Tacoma, it’s time honor the roots of our favorite local peak and revisit all it offers.