November 3, 2003 – Willamette Pass Dawn Patrol

It had been snowing for a few days in the mountains and Andrew and I were getting ancy for the season to begin. Soon the weather broke, and the forecast was for clear and sunny skies. We couldn’t wait any longer and headed up to Willamette Pass for a dawn patrol to check things out. Upon arriving in the parking lot, we found about 16-20 inches of snow on the hill, so we quickly loaded our packs, shovels and gear, and headed up By George.

Andrew heading up By George

We worked our way up the mountain, and I had no doubt the riding on the way down would be great given the lightness of the snow. After about 45 minutes or so, we traversed left and worked our way up High Lead, stopping a few hundred feet from the top, as the upper pitches didn’t have quite enough snow for good turns. We ate our lunch, then rode down to a suitable spot to build a small jump to fool around on near the left hand side of the run. It didn’t take too long to make and we were sessioning it in no time. The amount of snow dictated that the jump couldn’t be too big, especially since the landing zone wasn’t flush with excess deep snow.

First air of the season

We hit the jump several times and just enjoyed being out in winter again after a long hot summer. Andrew busted out with several 360’s sans poles…..

Andrew busts out an early season 360

Once afternoon rolled around, we packed up our gear, and traversed back to By George. The ride down George was really good given the early season conditions. Riders left yielded enough snow for some decent powder turns but I didn’t open it up fully for fear of bottoming out. Back at the truck after an excellent day, we reflected on how nice and refreshing it was to get out and enjoy winter again!