April 22, 2011 – 5th Annual April Dusk Patrol

The time had come for Todd, Andy and I to sneak away from work early for our 5th annual April Dusk Patrol.  This year, unlike the last four, we headed to Hoodoo since the forecast was for sun.  There had also been a bit of snow the past few days, and the snow gauge on Hoodoo’s website was reading 103 inches.  We pulled into the parking lot around 3:30, loaded our light packs, stashed a few cold ones in the snowbank, and started skinning up the hill.  Within 40 minutes or so, were standing on top of the butte with excellent views in all directions…..

Skinning up Hoodoo
April view from the top of Hoodoo

We decided to ride down the east face of the butte, since the pitch is so consistent and nice.  The turns down were fun, and the snow quality was somewhere between corn and powder.  Here’s a shot of Andy with Hayrick Butte in the background…

Working down the east face

We reached the cat track at the bottom and skinned back up the southeast side to the top.  Todd and I ended up splitting off from Andy since he was booting and we were skinning, so we could skin the whole way up.

Todd skinning back up
Looking north to TFJ & Jeff

Somehow Andy thought we were behind him, so he waited for us for quite a while and then took another partial run while we milled about on top wondering if he fell into the only tree well on the hill:)  Finally, we met back up on top after about 30 minutes.  This time, we hit the north side to get some of the freshies that were preserved on the north aspect.  Here’s a shot of me riding some late April pow….

April pow at Hoodoo
In the whiteroom

In the above photo, you can barely see Mt. Washington peeking out of the powder cloud to the right.  I  ended up losing my hat and having to climb back up the ridge to get it after several turns.  The sun was starting to get lower in the sky for our last run down the hill, and I was able to snap the below shots of Andy riding on his snowblades….

Andy the snowblader
April turns at the ‘doo

Back at the parking lot, we found our “friends” in the snow, who were nice and cold.  Drinking down a Cascade Ale from the Deschutes Brewery put the finishing touch on an excellent day of after work skiing and riding.

Matt, Andy & Todd enjoying a post ski beverage

On the car ride back down to the valley, we reflected on the fun turns from the day, stoked to have left work early to earn them. Given the snowpack in the mountains right now, it looks like there will be many more to come this season! Here’s a parting shot from the day

Andy ripping on the short skis