May 3, 2020 – Willamette Pass

The days on the calendar have been flying by, and it seems time is moving even more quickly in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The first weekend of May brought with it the promise of some fresh snow in the mountains, so Dan and I made plans to head to the Pass in search of some soft turns. We met at Dan’s early in the morning, and drove the Tesla up 58, stopping off at the Gold Lake Snopark to gear up before hitting the Pass.

Gold Lake Warming Shelter
Dan ready to head out

There was a couple inches of fresh snow that had the mountain blanketed in white, and it was nice to be able to skin right from the parking lot. We followed Joe’s skin track at the base (we’d planned on meeting Joe on the hill), and worked our way up KP. The skinning was nice on the cool morning, but the sun was beating down as we worked our way up. Given the lack of snow on Eagles, we continued on KP and up Lower Rosary to Peak 2.

A little fresh at the Pass

Joe had a nice track down Northern, but there were plenty of turns left so I dropped in on the soft snow. It was pretty good on skier’s right in the shade, so I set up to shoot a few shots of Dan as he descended….

May turns on Northern
Fresh May snow

We skied the soft snow to the bottom and found Joe, who’d just completed a run on Destiny. It looked good, so we headed up the skin track on Escalator for some more turns. Destiny looked to have the right aspect, so we did a quick lap there, and Dan snapped photos with my camera….

Smooth snow on Destiny
May turns at the Pass

After tracking up Destiny, we skinned back up to the top of Peak 2 with our sights set on making a run on Waldo. A quick break was in order, and then we dropped into Waldo, which turned out to have the best snow of the day due to it’s westerly aspect.

Dropping into Waldo
Turns on Waldo

The snow was super smooth, and skiing down the run reminded me of the many days I’ve spent patrolling at the Pass, enjoying fun turns on Waldo. The snow got even better as we cruised down the headwall, and we milked the run clear to the bottom…

At the bottom of Peak 2

From the base of Peak 2, we decided to skin back up under the lift and rejoin our previous skin track. From there, we headed to the top of Peak 2 and then over to EPA for our final turns of the day.

Looking up at Escalator

At the top of EPA, it was time for another quick break to enjoy a cold beer. This day’s choice was a very tasty Hazy IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Hazy IPA by Sierra Nevada
Up top on EPA

Once our beers were gone, we stepped into bindings and dropped into our favorite run on the hill. The snow was a bit on the manky side, and in fact Joe had slid it earlier (he left Peak 2 before we did), but it was still pretty nice.

Matt dropping into RTS
Dan skiing RTS

The lower half of the run on skier’s left was quite nice, and we worked our way down and then out via Lois Lane. At the intersection with Duck, Dan needed another beer, so we took a quick break before heading down Peekaboo for a final ski out..

Matt at the top of Duck
Dan on Peekaboo

We were able to link turns down Peekaboo for quite a ways, with one or two carries. The snow extended down to just above the intersection with Swoosh, and then we finished with a very short ski under the Twilight lift before a final short walk back to the parking lot…

Crossing a short patch on Peekaboo
Matt at the end of the snow

When we reached the base, the mountain looked quite a bit different from the morning, and was definitely taking on a more Spring like look. We loaded our gear into the car, and headed back down to Gold Lake for some well deserved brats and another cold beverage to celebrate the day.

Dan at the base
Grillin’ brats

The brats cooked up quickly, almost faster than we could change out of our boots, and they tasted excellent after a day of turns. The chips and salsa hit the spot too, and I couldn’t think of a better way to end the day. All things considered, it was another good day in the mountains, with good snow, good company, and good food!