May 13, 2017 – May Powder at the Pass

The weather forecast looked promising, and with luck would be a repeat of a magic day a few weeks earlier in late April. A storm front was moving through the Oregon cascades, and it looked to be cooling down mid-day with Saturday evening being a potential game winner. The only question was whether or not conditions would actually develop. Dan and I had made plans to leave mid-day, so as to get a few things done around the house in the morning. I met him at his place around noon, and we loaded gear quickly and headed up the highway. As we did a few weeks earlier, we pulled off at the Gold Lake Shelter to gear up. Conditions looked to be shaping up nicely….

At the snowpark
Gold Lake Shelter

With skins on and packs ready, we made the short drive up to the Pass, where we were greeted by a few inches of fresh snow. We wasted little time, and started skinning under the lifts.

Highway 58 at the Pass

As we worked our way up to the top of the Pass, it became apparent that a group of snowmobilers had made their presence known. When we crested the top and got a look towards Peak 2, all the visible runs had been thrashed. Irked, we decided to skin over to Peak 2 to see if anything was left, with a backup plan of skiing out of the area in steep terrain not accessible to the sleds. To our surprise, they hadn’t laid a track down Northern, so we were in business…

Dan dropping into Northern
Matt getting some action

I dropped in first, and the snow was really good. Dan dropped next, and I snapped a few photos of him slashing through the May pow. We made turns down to the bottom of Escalator, which had several snowmo tracks, and put in a skin track back to the top. With one run in the books, we decided to crack a Good Life at the top of Peak 2…

Skinning up Boundary
The Good Life

For our second lap, we elected to drop in skiers left of Northern in the steep trees, which is one of my favorite spots in the area. The conditions were equal to or better than our first run, with about 12 inches of fresh snow.

Matt dropping in
Dan skiing down through the trees

We utilized our skin track back up Escalator, as the wind picked up a bit and the temps grew colder. The snow was so good in fact that we would utilize the skin track another three times, for a total of five laps on Northern.

Skinning up Escalator
Cold smoke in May

As the hour neared 7:00, we dropped in for what would be our final lap of the afternoon on Peak 2. Dan had the camera, and snapped a few pics of me riding, including the shot below which is by far my favorite May powder shot ever…

May powder!

With five laps on Peak 2 in the books, we skinned over to the top of EPA for an exit run on RTS. Prior to departure, we iced down a cold beer in the fresh snow and snapped a summit selfie for John before strapping in.

Cold beer atop of EPA
Summit selfie

RTS skied great, perhaps as good as it had all season. The light was getting quite flat as it was about 8:30, but I was still able to snap a few photos of Dan enjoying the goods….

RTS Powder

After skiing RTS, we headed down with huge grins via Rough Cut, enjoying sweet fresh May pow turns right down to the parking lot. Pulling out onto the highway, both Dan and I agreed this trip was special, and one that would not likely ever be forgotten! May powder is rare, but May powder at the Pass is even rarer!