“Sunday looks like the day” I said to Dan on the phone. We were debating on whether to try for September turns on Thursday or Labor Day weekend. We preferred Thursday, but the forecast for the weekend looked better, so we opted for Sunday. Dan showed up at my house just after 5:00 am on Sunday, and we loaded the car and headed out.
Driving up I-5, we could see the mountain from Salem and things were looking good. As we approached Portland, clouds were moving in and I could sense some unplanned weather might be headed our way. The mountain was shrouded in clouds by the time we reached Sandy and stopped for a donut at Joe’s, and by the time we reached the parking lot it looked like it may actually rain. Regardless, we packed up our gear and headed up the road to Silcox…
Silcox was visible as we left the parking area, but a few minutes later it was shrouded in clouds. By the time we reached the top of the mile, it had started to rain. Bummer. We continued up and soon arrived at the mid-station of the Palmer, which had exactly zero snow…..
Pushing on, we eventually reached what was left of the snow on the Palmer “Glacier.” The rain came down harder. We found some fresh snow left over from the previous storm, mixed in with the residual dirty older snow.
We topped out just below the top lift shack, switched over to ski boots, and started down. It was raining harder now. The turns were actually pretty good. Dan and I took turns snapping a few photos to document the event….
We managed about 500 feet on the first lap, and decided to head back for another. At the top, we met fellow turns-all-year enthusiasts Jeff and Aaron, and enjoyed some brief conversation while enjoying a beer and continuing to get soaked. At this point, both Dan and I had come to the realization the weather wasn’t going to improve (despite the forecast) and that we couldn’t get much wetter, so we just enjoyed what we had — a fun time skiing and boarding in September. The second lap was even better than the first….
We decided to climb back up for a third lap, and milk the day for somewhere around 1500 vertical. The last lap was great, and so, completely soaked, we headed down the hill for the long hike out over snowless terrain. An hour or so later, it was sure nice to be in a set of dry clothes, siting in a warm car, and enjoying a cold beer and fresh chips and salsa. Although it wasn’t epic riding, both Dan and I agreed, we’ll probably never forget these September turns! Here’s a parting shot from the day…