March 25, 2020, Willamette Pass Dusk Patrol

With the Pass shut down due to COVID-19, and fresh snow on the ground, Dan and I couldn’t hold out any longer and decided to head to the Pass for an evening dusk patrol. I headed up early, leaving work around 2:00 pm, and enjoyed the easy drive up Highway 58. I pulled off the highway, finding a parking spot out of the way, and it looked like a decent amount of fresh snow had fallen – probably 8-10 inches along the highway.

At the Shelter Cove entrance

I shouldered my pack quickly, and crossed the highway, skinning up through Sleepy and Timburr Glades. There were a few tracks on the frontside runs, and after an hour or so, I made it to the top of EPA. Wanting to check out Peak 2, I headed over, and was super surprised to see about 15 tracks down Northern, and an equal amount headed over to June’s. Finally, it dawned on me that the lifts had spun earlier in the day, probably for employees. Nevertheless, there was still good snow on Northern, so I dropped in and enjoyed an excellent run down.

Fresh pow in some fresh pow

I was surprised to see Escalator freshly groomed, which made for an easy skin back out. So easy in fact, that I decided to drop in for another lap on Northern. Following that lap, it was time to snap a picture of my beer and head over to EPA to meet up with Dan, who was skinning up the frontside. Sitting at the top of EPA, I pulled out the tripod and snapped a few pictures of the clouds over Diamond and a self-portrait while killing time waiting for Dan…

Clouds over Diamond

Self portrait at the top of EPA

A few minutes later, Dan topped out on High Lead, and joined me at the top of EPA. We enjoyed a beer while transitioning into ski mode, and snapped a photo with the tripod before dropping into some of the best powder we’d both skied in awhile….

Enjoying a beer atop EPA

Dropping in off the top of EPA, we rolled over towards Success, and into RTS. It was untracked, and had about a foot of fresh snow blanketing it — it doesn’t get much better. I rode down a little ways, and then pulled out the camera to snap some shots of Dan on the skis. As is usual for dusk patrols, I had to crank up the ISO due to the low light, but the shots still came out nice….

Dan ripping the pow

Skiing RTS

We ripped the snow on the steep slope, and it felt really good. Halfway down, we stopped for a moment, and continued on, completely enjoying the moment and the conditions….

March pow on RTS

Skiing the lower half

We exited out via Amber’s and headed down Swoosh, which skied flawlessly. It was almost dark by the time we got to the bottom, but given how good the conditions were, we had to head back up for another lap. The skin up George took about a half hour, and at the top we pulled out the headlamps to make the changeover to ride mode. We skied down Swoosh by headlamp, enjoying each turn illuminated by the light of our mini-suns. As we made our way down, I realized that these were the types of moments I live for! At the bottom, we skied to the parking lot, and booted across the parking lot in a foot of new snow. It took about 15 minutes to dig out Dan’s car, and he gave me a lift to my car just down the road. After digging it out, I followed him down the highway in a snow storm, thoroughly happy with another great day of skiing at the Pass!

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