Protected: June 3, 2018 – Mt Washington, North Bowls

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Protected: May 22, 2018 – Mt Jefferson, West Rib

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May 4, 2018 – Burgers, Brats & Corn

It seemed like May arrived early this year, and with Hoodoo closing a couple of weeks earlier, it was time for a favorite tradition of dusk patrol turns at the ski area followed by grilling in the sun. Andy and I left work around 1:00 and headed over to Dan’s to carpool up to the mountain. A couple of hours later, we were ready to head out and join Joe, who was already on the hill.

Ready to head out

Groomer at the base

The weather was almost perfect, with nice sunshine and a bit of wind that would calm down later in the evening. We followed Joe’s skintrack, and it didn’t take long to get to the top, where Joe was hanging out enjoying the view. We decided to ski the east face for our first run, and the snow was super smooth dropping in on the rollover.

Dan skiing the east face

Joe, TFJ and Jeff

Towards the bottom, the snow gave way to the manzanita brush, but we found a path to the bottom and enjoyed turns down to the flats below before traversing back around to the front to head up for another lap.

Skiing through the manzanita

After a short bit of skinning, we regained the top in time to see Todd, who was going to meet us on the hill, heading back through the parking lot to the car. He was one and done after breaking a boot buckle I would find out later. Regardless, it was time for a cold one prior to dropping in for run 2. The drink of choice for the day was fitting — a Hoodoo Voodoo IPA from Three Creeks Brewing.

Hoodoo Voodoo on top of Hoodoo

Matt & Andy on top

The second lap down the northwest face of the mountain was fun, but the snow wasn’t worthy of bringing out the camera, so we just enjoyed turns down the face before switching back to skins for one more trip up to the top.

Dan & Joe looking south

Up top, we finished the remainder of our beers, and took out the telephoto lens to shoot a couple photos of the distant volcanoes. The first photo below is of North and Middle Sisters. It was fun to look out over the area we skied the last couple of years at the end of July and first part of August. The second photo is of Mt Jefferson.

North and Middle

Mt Jefferson

With my photo session over, we strapped in for a final lap back down the east face. The turns were good as we headed out and Dan grabbed my camera and snapped a few photos of me halfway down the run….

Andy at the rollover

Turns in front of Mt Washington

On the lower half of the run I snapped a few pictures of Andy ripping up the over-softened snow with Mt Washington and Hayrick Butte in the background. Once we milked turns all the way to the bottom, it was time to ski the flats back to the parking lot and get ready for some apres grilllin’.

May turns at Hoodoo

Andy and Hayrick

Back at the car, after organizing gear and cracking a beer, it was time to get the grill on. We pulled out the burgers, brats and all the fixings and got to work. Honestly this is probably the best part of the trip. The weather was warm and calm — pretty much perfect, and after a few minutes dinner was ready…

Andy grillin’

Matt, Joe and Dan enjoying the offerings

We devoured the burgers and brats in short order, and after a bit more relaxing and bs, it was time to head out. Unfortunately, what little snow had fallen this year was melting fast, so it was unlikely we’d get another dusk patrol this year. Not to worry however, more turns will be had somewhere, and before too long it’ll be time to head back to the ‘Doo for burgers, brats and corn in 2019!

April 12, 2018 – Willamette Pass Dusk Patrol

A mid-April cold front appeared poised to push through the central Oregon cascades on Thursday, so Dan, Andy, Joe and I made plans to head to the Pass to try and score some late season powder turns. Andy and I left work around 1:00 pm, and were a few minutes behind Dan who was headed up separately. Joe was ahead of us by a couple of hours, and our plan was to hook up with him on the backside for some dusk patrol pow turns.

As we approached the Salt Creek tunnel, I knew it was going to be a good afternoon as the snow was already starting to come down. By the time we reached the Pass, there was roughly 8-10 inches of fresh at the base. We parked quickly, grabbed our gear, and headed out. Andy and I were trying to catch Dan, who’d taken off a few minutes earlier, but by the time we rounded the corner on KP we were cursing because his tracks ended and he’d hitched a ride to the top with Donnie who was going to do some work on the lifts. Nevertheless, we reached the top of Peak 2 about an hour later and found Dan and Joe waiting. Conditions looked to be pretty sweet, with about 14 new up top. We decided to drop into the Northern trees, which was an awesome call.

Dan ripping the April pow

Andy getting some freshies

The temperature was around 25 degrees, it was snowing hard, and the new snow was some of the lightest snow we’d scored all season. I grabbed my camera and captured a few shots of Joe cruising by halfway down the run….

Joe exiting the white room

At the bottom, we quickly donned skins and headed back up for another lap. This time we chose skiers right of Northern, and it was equally as good as the first run. I was stoked on how my Amplid Millisurf was performing in stellar conditions….

Surfing on the Millisurf

April pow surfing

Everyone was stoked at the bottom, and agreed another couple of laps were in order. We skinned back to the top of Peak 2, and took a quick break for a snack and a cold beverage. My beer of choice for the day was a IPA from Caldera Brewing.

Caldera IPA and Karakoram Binders

A couple more pow runs commenced, both equally as good as the first. There’s not a lot more you can ask for in mid-April than 14 inches of blower powder and cold temps….

More surfing on the Millisurf

With our work on Peak 2 complete, and the daylight waning, we skinned out of the backside and hiked over to EPA for the final turns of the evening.  At the top prior to dropping in, I grabbed a photo of our crew with my camera mounted on my pack while using the remote shutter control…..

Good times atop EPA

The wind was blowing pretty hard as we dropped into RTS. RTS proved to be pretty wind blow, so Andy and I headed over to Success to find better snow while Dan and Joe headed down. Success skied awesome, and we regrouped on George for soft, consistent pow turns all the way down to the base as the daylight faded.

Andy skiing Success

At the base, we reveled in our stoke from skiing some of the best quality snow of the season, and enjoyed another cold one while putting the gear away before hitting the road. Little did we know that this would be the last substantial powder the Pass would see for the season. Within a couple of weeks, the entire southside would be entirely bare, as would the north side a few more weeks after that. It just proves that you have to get after it when the snow does fall, and never take for granted a great powder day with friends!

April 3, 2018 – Willamette Pass Dusk Patrol

I couldn’t believe it was already April, but the calendar doesn’t lie. Dan and I wanted to get an April dusk patrol in at the Pass, so we made plans to head up on Tuesday evening after work with the hopes of finding some soft snow somewhere on the mountain. We drove separately since we were each coming from work and because Dan had a cold, and I arrived a few minutes before he did, so I had a chance to snap a few pics with the camera.

Willamette Pass

One of many trucks on Hwy 58

Dan arrived a few minutes after 6:00 pm, and we headed out shortly thereafter. There wasn’t a lot of snow on the lower mountain, but it was soft as we started out. It did firm up however as we headed up the mountain…

Looking up By George

We worked our way up Eagle’s, skinning side by side straight up the run, and the snow firmed up considerably as the clouds rolled in. A few moments later we reached the top of EPA, and enjoyed a beer while we transitioned into ski/ride mode. Sitting atop EPA, it was really quiet, and as light snowflakes started to fall from the sky, it reminded of sweep during ski patrol. 

Matt atop EPA

We finished our beers as the light began to get flat, and dropped in a few minutes prior to 7:30 pm. The first few turns were scratchy, but a little lower down the conditions improved substantially. I headed down below Dan and snapped a few pictures as he descended and skied by me…

Dan skiing RTS

Evening turns on RTS

Halfway down the run, Dan grabbed the camera and returned the favor of shooting photos of me. The results are below. One of the things I love about dusk patrol photos is the grainy nature of the pictures given the low light conditions in which they’re taken….

Riding down RTS

Dusk Patrol at the Pass

At the bottom, we headed out via Amber’s, and then skied Swoosh out. Swoosh was really nice, with good coverage from side to side and top to bottom. We whooped and hollered all the way down, and ended up at the cars right as it was getting dark.  All in all, it was an evening that exceeded expectations, and another April dusk patrol is in the books.  Here’s a parting shot of RTS from the evening…

Looking up RTS