April 12, 2018 – Willamette Pass Dusk Patrol

A mid-April cold front appeared poised to push through the central Oregon cascades on Thursday, so Dan, Andy, Joe and I made plans to head to the Pass to try and score some late season powder turns. Andy and I left work around 1:00 pm, and were a few minutes behind Dan who was headed up separately. Joe was ahead of us by a couple of hours, and our plan was to hook up with him on the backside for some dusk patrol pow turns.

As we approached the Salt Creek tunnel, I knew it was going to be a good afternoon as the snow was already starting to come down. By the time we reached the Pass, there was roughly 8-10 inches of fresh at the base. We parked quickly, grabbed our gear, and headed out. Andy and I were trying to catch Dan, who’d taken off a few minutes earlier, but by the time we rounded the corner on KP we were cursing because his tracks ended and he’d hitched a ride to the top with Donnie who was going to do some work on the lifts. Nevertheless, we reached the top of Peak 2 about an hour later and found Dan and Joe waiting. Conditions looked to be pretty sweet, with about 14 new up top. We decided to drop into the Northern trees, which was an awesome call.

Dan ripping the April pow
Andy getting some freshies

The temperature was around 25 degrees, it was snowing hard, and the new snow was some of the lightest snow we’d scored all season. I grabbed my camera and captured a few shots of Joe cruising by halfway down the run….

Joe exiting the white room

At the bottom, we quickly donned skins and headed back up for another lap. This time we chose skiers right of Northern, and it was equally as good as the first run. I was stoked on how my Amplid Millisurf was performing in stellar conditions….

Surfing on the Millisurf
April pow surfing

Everyone was stoked at the bottom, and agreed another couple of laps were in order. We skinned back to the top of Peak 2, and took a quick break for a snack and a cold beverage. My beer of choice for the day was a IPA from Caldera Brewing.

Caldera IPA and Karakoram Binders

A couple more pow runs commenced, both equally as good as the first. There’s not a lot more you can ask for in mid-April than 14 inches of blower powder and cold temps….

More surfing on the Millisurf

With our work on Peak 2 complete, and the daylight waning, we skinned out of the backside and hiked over to EPA for the final turns of the evening.  At the top prior to dropping in, I grabbed a photo of our crew with my camera mounted on my pack while using the remote shutter control…..

Good times atop EPA

The wind was blowing pretty hard as we dropped into RTS. RTS proved to be pretty wind blow, so Andy and I headed over to Success to find better snow while Dan and Joe headed down. Success skied awesome, and we regrouped on George for soft, consistent pow turns all the way down to the base as the daylight faded.

Andy skiing Success

At the base, we reveled in our stoke from skiing some of the best quality snow of the season, and enjoyed another cold one while putting the gear away before hitting the road. Little did we know that this would be the last substantial powder the Pass would see for the season. Within a couple of weeks, the entire southside would be entirely bare, as would the north side a few more weeks after that. It just proves that you have to get after it when the snow does fall, and never take for granted a great powder day with friends!