October 17th & 19th, 2016 – Early Season Pow

I was heading to Bend for a three day work conference, and as luck would have it, the timing of the conference coincided with one of those rare 1 in 10 to 20 year October deep powder snowstorms.  I didn’t get to leave the valley until late Sunday afternoon due to cleaning up after a strong windstorm, and found myself driving over Highway 20 in the evening light…

Highway 20 Country

Highway 20 Country

I got to Bend after dark, and found my way down to a pre-conference shindig with Mark.  The next morning, several sessions on water quality came and went, and I decided to skip lunch and head up to the hill to see what was up (I’d been checking the webcams for the last couple of days, and couldn’t take it any longer).  I met Joe in the parking lot when I pulled in, and he snapped the below photo of me before I headed out…

Matt

In the parking lot

The amount of snow in the parking lot for the 17th of October was impressive.  In the base area, there was on the order of two feet of fresh as I skinned up towards the Pine Marten chair…

Entry

Heading up to Pine Marten

The snow deepened as I worked my way up the mountain, and it felt good to get out on the split again.  I stopped a couple times on the way up to snap a couple of photos of the skintrack, etc., and made it to mid-mountain about 45 minutes after leaving the car.

Snow

Snow loaded trees

The skintrack

My skintrack

At the top of Pine, I strapped in and made the typical fun, but foggy Bachelor turns down along my skin track.  The snow was a bit on the heavy side, but still sweet as I made my way back down to the parking lot…

Parking Lot

Parking Lot after  a great run

The great thing about staying in Bend is how close the mountain is.  By 2:15 I was back at the conference for the rest of the Monday afternoon sessions.  Tuesday came and went, and I got to enjoy a couple of beers with Morgan at Good Life in the evening.  When I got back to the hotel, I laid around a bit contemplating whether or not I should head up to the hill in the morning.  Finally, I decided that if I didn’t go I’d be kicking myself, so I set the alarm for 4:30 and went to bed.  I didn’t sleep very well that night, so I was up by 4:15 and headed out the door shortly thereafter.  The weather appeared perfect, and I started skinning from the parking lot around 5:30 with temps in the teens.  Soon I’d worked my way up above the Pine Marten Lodge and had sweet views out across the Three Sisters & Broken Top…

Pine Marten Lodge

Pine Marten Lodge

I worked my way up the northwest ridge, and by about 7:00 or so the sun started peeking over the horizon to the east, lighting up the Cirque Bowl with pink and violet light…

Sunrise over the Cirque Bowl

Sunrise over the Cirque Bowl

I booted the last bit to the summit, and topped out around 7:30.  The amount of snow in the bowl was pretty awesome, given just 10 days earlier we barely had enough to ski.

Morning light on the Cirque Bowl

Morning light on the Cirque Bowl

Central Oregon Sunrise

Central Oregon Sunrise

I prepared to drop in, and switched over to ride mode on the split.  Looking off to the west, I could see the early morning shadow of the mountain from the early morning light, as well as the snow caked Three Sisters and Broken Top glistening in the early morning sunshine.

Morning shawdow

Morning shawdow

Sisters & Broken Top

Sisters & Broken Top

I dropped into the Cirque Bowl and made a few ski cuts.  Everything appeared stable, but being solo and with nobody around, I decided to ski the northwest gullies and not commit to riding the steep rollover just in case.  The gullies rode excellent, and I didn’t regret my decision.  The wind lips and early season snow features always impress me.  The turns were excellent down to the road between the Northwest and Pine Marten lifts, which had a single cat track on it.  I poled my way over to the top of Pine, and resumed riding excellent early season pow all the way to the base.  By 8:00 I was heading down the road back to Bend.  On the way down, I had to stop and get a shot of the mountain in the morning sunshine.  Looking pretty good for October….

The road home

Bachelor from the road home

I made it back to Bend by 8:30 or so and was able to catch breakfast at the hotel and then check out, and still made it to the conference for the morning sessions.  By noon the conference was over, and I got to catch up with my buddy Brett for lunch and beers at Worthy Brewing Co before heading back to the valley.  Although I’ve been cursing Bend lately because everyone and their dog is moving there, I have to admit it’s a pretty sweet place to live if you like outdoor adventures and good beer.

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