April 9, 2021 – Willamette Pass Dusk Patrol Redux

For the second time in as many weeks, Dan and I left work early and headed up to the Pass for an evening of corn snow turns. Our objective on this trip was to ski a few laps in the evening, and then stay the night at the cabin and patrol the following day, for what would be my final patrol day of the season. Dan had to stay up for closing day on Sunday as well, so we took separate rigs up on Friday afternoon. I pulled in to the Gold Lake lot around 3:45 pm, geared up, and Dan arrived shortly thereafter…

Gearing up at Gold Lake

While waiting for Dan to arrive, I snapped a few pics, including the one below of an Imperial O’Dark  black IPA from Oakshire Brewing, which I hoped to enjoy a little later once on top of the Pass. At 16 oz and 8.6%, it definitely packs a punch!

Imperial O’Dark by Oakshire Brewing

With boots on and gear ready to go, we made the short drive to the Pass and shouldered packs to head out. The snowpack was still holding up ok, but it was quite a bit lower than the previous week, and it definitely looked like the end of the season was approaching.

Parked at the Pass
Heading up George

We skinned up George, and then KP, on our way to Eagles. It looked like Rick had been up earlier with the cat, and there were quite a few snow and ice chunks in the run. Both of us hoped those things would be groomed out by morning, since it was supposed to be in the low 20s overnight, and we had to patrol the next day.

Cat debris on KP

We made good time up Eagles and then to the top of EPA, and the weather was warm and nice. The lighting was nice as well, and it felt good to be at the Pass with nobody around, enjoying the views out to Diamond Peak and beyond…

Dan atop EPA
Looking out over Odell Lake and beyond

We put our beers on ice, ripped skins, and I got my board ready for the ride down. A few minutes later, the beers were cold and it was time to enjoy a tasty cold one with a view. As has become customary for dusk patrol days at the Pass, I pulled out my tripod and took a few photos of us and our gear, before it was time to shove off and lay some tracks down RTS.

Obligatory shot up top before dropping in
Dan ripping corn off the top

We dropped in right off the top, and the turns were pretty nice right from the start. The afternoon sun had corned the snow up nicely, and I setup to snap some shots of Dan as he crested the rollover onto RTS and headed down…

Turns through the steeps


Dan headed down

Dan skied about halfway down the run, and waited for me to come down. I made my way down, and the turns were fun as the snow was setup better than the week earlier. When I met Dan, I handed him the camera, then he skied down a bit and snapped a few shots of me as I milked turns to the bottom

April turns on RTS
Matt riding RTS

At the bottom, it was a no-brainer to head back up for another lap, and we put an easy bootpack in up the steep slope. I caught a picture of Dan just above the fallen tree that went down earlier in December and came to be a defining feature on RTS this season.

Hiking up for lap 2

Lap 2 was equal to or better than lap one, and I captured a few shot of Dan heading down. After he was at the bottom, it was my turn to head down as the sun started to set over the horizon.

Dan dropping in for lap 2
Heading down RTS

We worked our way out Amber’s Way, and stopped for a few minutes at the top of Twilight. The snow was in good shape, I captured the below shot of Dan taking a quick rest prior to heading down ByGeorge…

A quick break at the top of Twilight

The ski down George was pretty nice, and we laid big, sweeping tracks down the hill. It wasn’t quite as perfectly smooth as the week before, but still skied really nicely, and our tracks would be clearly visible the next morning from first chair on patrol.

Evening turns on ByGeorge
Stoked at the bottom of George

Once at the bottom, it was a quick hike across the parking lot, and then to our cars. I headed out a few minutes before Dan, and drove down to Crescent to grab a six pack for the evening. When I got back to the cabin, Dan was there, and it didn’t take long to get our gear inside and get the fire going to warm the place up…

Heading to the car
At the cabin

With everything inside and drying out, it was time to crack open one of those beers and get the brats on the grill. I was in the mood for something a little on the lighter side, so we both enjoyed a Blonde Bombshell from Cascade Lakes Brewing Co. while cooking up dinner.

A tasty Blonde Bombshell 6-pack
Brats on the grill

The rest of the evening was filled with good food, drink and bs before it was time to hit the sack in anticipation of closing weekend at the Pass. All in all, it was a pretty awesome way to spend end the workweek and spend a Friday afternoon!