January Days at the Pass

Backcountry days are beginning to feel like a distant memory as most of my ski days in January — and there have been plenty of them — have been at the Pass for either ski patrol or free riding. After an epic December and early January, the middle of the month was filled with warmer temperatures that produced wet, heavy, fat flakes. Conditions were ripe for a little sled training, and a few friends and I took advantage, running both the 100’s and the 350’s. The snow was pretty deep and sloppy, and made for some difficult conditions on the 100. I took a turn in the handles running down High Lead, and felt like I was pushing down a wave of water in front of the sled…

Sloppy sled running
Sloppy sled running
Working the 100 thru the mush

After a few laps, we loaded the sled on the EPA lift to take it back to the top and grab the 350, which was much better suited for the sloppy conditions…

Loading the 100
Loading the 100

The wet flakes were really coming down, and throughout the day it started to accumulate pretty nicely. By the afternoon, conditions were actually pretty decent.

The crew
The crew at the top
Ian & Laurie on the 350
Ian & Laurie on the 350

Later in the day, I ended up having to give a couple of sled rides to patients who were injured on By George, and was happy to have pounded out a few practice laps earlier in the day.

Closing time
Sweep on EPA

I was also fortunate enough to get out to the Pass for a day with my son in the middle of the month, and it was unique because it was my first ever day on skis after 19 years on a board. I did pretty good, but couldn’t keep up with him….

Big and small
Big skis Small skis

After spinning several laps on the Twilight Chair, he decided it was time for his first trip up EPA. Thankfully, the weather was nice, the views didn’t disappoint, and Shaun was stoked at the top!

The view from the top of the Pass
The view from the top of the Pass

The end of the month brought a return to the snowy weather, and a few more days of ski patrol. Raleigh and I pounded out several morning laps on RTS, and I snapped a few shots along the way. The smile on his face says it all….

Raleigh on RTS
Ripping down RTS

With February coming in a few days, I’m looking forward to more powder, a few more days at the resort, and getting back out into the backcountry for some sweet untracked turns!


  1. Joe
    January 27, 2016

    Glad to see that Shaun had a positive influence on you.

  2. Matt
    January 27, 2016

    Haha,yeah, he had a good time! I switched back to the board for the afternoon….ski boots are so uncomfortable:)

  3. Matt
    February 4, 2016

    Hey there Matt–great name, eh? 🙂

    Saw you have done some 3FJ exploration, I’ve done a tour just south of the shoulder from santiam sno-park and am looking to go back up there and throw a base-camp and enjoy some skiing this weekend. See those reports are behind a password wall. Could I pick your brain, take a gander at them, or get any feedback based on your explorations? let me know if you can’t see my email attached to this comment.


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