November 27, 2016 – Hoodoo Powder

Where to ski on Sunday…..that was the question. Dan and I were looking to get out for some turns, but the majority of the snow wasn’t predicted to fall until Sunday evening through Monday. When I arrived at Dan’s in the morning, we decided Hoodoo would be the best bet, given the weather station was showing 16 inches of snow. We made the drive up Highway 126 quickly, and pulled into Ray Benson snowpark for a quick restroom break before hitting the skintrack. Even though we’d been by the snowpark numerous times, neither of us had ever stopped in, and were surprised by the nice shelter mostly used by snowmobilers. It was empty this morning however, with the exception of a lone backcountry skier from Corvallis who had a toasty fire going.

Rodger Schmidt Shelter

After our pit stop we hit the skintrack. Skinning through the fresh snow felt good, and it didn’t take long to reach the top. Both of us were surprised by the fact that even though we got a leisurely start at 9:30 we were the only ones on the hill (that would change about an hour later however when 10-15 other folks showed up).

Dan skinning towards the top

At the summit the wind was howling and visibility was limited — in other words it felt like winter. I ripped skins and dropped in first, and setup to snap a few photos of Dan on the way down…

Dan skiing off the top
Dan on Grandstand

We made turns nearly all the way back down to the bottom, with the idea of climbing back up and exploring a different aspect for our next run. I caught a pic of Dan skinning back the uptrack that captured the gray mood of the day…

On the skintrack

Back at the top, we decided to tour out and check out the backside to see what conditions were like. The wind was howling, but as we dropped in, we found undisturbed primo powder. The only downside was that after about 300 feet the brush became too thick to descend further. Not to worry, it was a good time to take a break and enjoy a well earned beer…

The view from the end of the turns
Hop Valley time

Skinning back out through the trees on the backside reminded me of previous early season trips to the ‘Doo.  Stopping long enough to snap a picture of Dan heading up, I definitely had that feeling of nostalgia, and was happy to be visiting a special to me place.


Soon we worked our way back to the top, ripped skins, and were ready for another lap. This time we elected to ride the westerly facing face to check out the snow. It was good, so we made two laps. Dan snapped a few photos of me getting some of the action…

November turns on the ‘Doo

We finished the skiing off with a run from mid-mountain back down to the base. Overall, though expectations were somewhat low, both of us agreed it was a pretty sweet day. Hiking back to the car, we paused long enough to get a shot of the mountain with it’s early blanket of snow…


Back at the car, and looking forward to some apres’ skiing, we headed over to Ray Benson to take advantage of the shelter. Sitting in the shelter, and watching the storm move in while drinking a beer and enjoying some chips ‘n salsa was pretty fine. Winter’s definitely on it’s way….and I can’t wait for it to arrive.