December 28, 2014 – Willamette Pass

With Mother Nature electing to be a stingy bitch this winter, getting fresh snow has been easier said than done.  As such, it was a no-brainier to head up to the Pass when a foot of fresh snow finally fell in late December.  I firmed up plans late on Saturday evening with Dan and Joe to head to the Pass the following morning, headed out at a leisurely hour around 7:30 am.  Joe and I headed up together, and would meet Dan a bit later in the day.  At the parking area, we ran into a few friends with similar plans as ours, and discussed taking a run together later in the day.

With Dan about 30 minutes behind us, Joe and I headed up the hill, breaking trail in about 8-10 inches of new snow on the lower mountain.  It continued to snow on our approach, and soon we started up the lower portion of Eagle’s Flight….

Skinning up Eagle's

Skinning up Eagle’s

At the top of Eagles, we ripped skins and decided to take a run before heading over to the northside.  I dropped in first on my DIY Option split, and enjoyed sweet surfy pow turns down halfway to where I set up to snap a few pictures of Joe…

Joe enjoying the pow

Joe enjoying the pow

Having left our packs at the top for a quick round trip, we started back up on skins and made quick time to the top.  Halfway up, we spotted Dan working his way up behind us, and the three of us joined up at the top of Eagles and skinned over to the backside.  Snow conditions were looking good up top, with a bit of wind and a lot of fresh….

Peak 2 Chair

Peak 2 Chair

At the top of Peak 2, we met our friends Andy and Steve from the parking lot, and after a bit of chit chat, decided to ski Northern.  Dropping in, I felt the sweet pow fly over my head with each turn, and thoroughly enjoyed each face shot on my way down.  Andy dropped next, and I shot a few photos of him dropping a knee…..

Andy dropping a knee

Andy dropping a knee

If I was pleasantly surprised at how good the top half of Northern was, I was equally surprised at how poor the bottom half was.  The sweet pow up top gave way to a wind blown ice crust near the bottom, which also yielded to poor coverage due to the snow being mostly windswept off the run.  The skin back out Escalator to the top was a bit dicier than would it would be otherwise given the firm conditions.  I took a few photos of both Dan and his dog, Sadie, on the way back up…

Climbing back up

Climbing back up

Sadie

Sadie carrying Dan’s beer

We climbed back to the top of Peak 2 and elected to make a run down the top of Boundary since the snow there was nice and soft.  Dan took a few photos of me enjoying the snow on the low angle slope….

Surfing the pow

Surfing the pow

As the hour worked it’s way towards the afternoon, Joe, Dan and I decided to head back to the frontside for a few more runs before heading for the car.  Back at the top of Eagle Peak, we enjoyed a well earned beer and hunkered down inside the lift shack to eat some food.

Looking north from the top

Looking north from the top of Eagle Peak

After enjoying my Worthy Brewing IPA, it was time for another run on the frontside.  The three of us agreed we’d head down the toothpaste tube and take a run on Eagle’s, then head back up for a final run on either Good Time Charlie or another frontside run.  The snow on KP was excellent, as was the snow on Eagle’s, as Dan demonstrates in the photo below….

More Dan

More Dan

At the bottom, the skins went back on the board for one more climb, and soon our tired legs brought us to the top of Eagle Peak for another well deserved beer.  Our final run of the day started at the top of Timburr, and Dan snapped a few photos of me, including the shot below ripping a nice pow turn in the fresh….

Getting some pow

Getting some pow

After the top piece of Timburr, we elected to hike over to Charlie’s and take advantage of the better coverage, and enjoyed the best snow of the day for our final run.  A few shots of both Dan and I from Good Time Charlie’s are below….

Dan on Eagles

Dan on Good Time

Charlie's pow slash

Charlie’s pow slash

Back at the car, I figured this would be my final day on the split for 2014, and reflected back on a great year while enjoying garden salsa and sweet pickled salmon caught earlier this summer in the Pacific.  If 2015 turns out anything like 2014 I told myself, I’ll be one happy splitter!

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