With the calendar showing June already, I was looking forward to getting out and scoring some turns. The problem was, the snow conditions weren’t looking really hot anywhere in the mountains. It hadn’t really precipitated since the first of March across most of Oregon, and reports from others as well as my own observations indicated the snow conditions weren’t really great. Even so, Dan and I made plans to head to Mt Bachelor to see if we could find some smooth snow to slide on. I met at his house early, and we headed up and over highway 58.
Temperatures were pretty cool on the drive over, and we stopped at Sparks Lake for a quick break. The forecast was calling for sun and mild temps, and we were hopeful of getting some good corn. By the time we pulled off at the area however, it looked like the forecast wasn’t going to come to pass. A dark cloud was forming over the mountain, and it remained cold. Nevertheless, we set out on skins and headed up.
The skin track was firm and icy, and by the time we neared the top of Sunrise, it started to snow. The weather was also moving in around the Sisters, and visibility became limited. If we didn’t know better, I would have though it was April and not June. Once we made it to the top of Sunrise, we decided to call it and head back down, not wanting to ski the upper mountain in firm, icy conditions with little to no visibility.
We sat around for a bit at the top of Sunrise, waiting to see if weather would give us a window to head down, but it didn’t appear it would. We decided to hit the east facing aspects as much as we could, thinking they would be most likely to be soft. I dropped in first, then snapped a few shots of Dan as we skied down. The first few turns were indeed soft, but after that it was pretty much firm conditions all the way back down.
We skied back down to the bottom as the snowfall picked up in intensity. By the time we made it to the parking lot, it was coming down pretty good, and it was staying cold.
We made the short hike across the parking lot, and headed for the warmth of the car. Just before we reached the road, Dan snapped the below shot of me as the snow came down…
Back at the car, we threw our gear in the back and headed over to the main parking lot, hopeful that we might find some soft snow on the Cone. We took a circuitous route to the top from the north side, which was a little longer than we’d anticipated, but soon we were standing on top of the Cone, enjoying a cold beer. My beer of choice for the day was a Spring IPA from Coldfire Brewing, and it was really tasty.
After enjoying a few sips of cold beer, we strapped in for the first of several runs down the Cone. After the first few turns, I knew we were going to be in for some much better conditions, as the snow was soft corn on the perfect eastern exposure…
We harvested the corn down to the treeline, then put in a boot pack back up to do it again. Once back at the top, we enjoyed some more of our beers, then laid some tracks down for our second run….
The turns on the second lap were as good as the first, so we headed back for a third run. It was nice re-utilizing the boot pack, and once we were back on top we took a few minutes to finish our beers and enjoy the view, such as it was. The visibility improved slightly, and both of us were somewhat in awe at the lack of snow around the base compared to a normal snow year. Before long, it was time to head down, and we enjoyed the turns back down to our packs at treeline on our third lap.
Once back at treeline, we shouldered our packs and “skied” back down through the trees on some really heinous snow to the parking lot below. Back at the car, it was pretty cold, so we decided to load up and head out, and delay our grilling session to later in the day. As we departed, I snapped the below shot looking back at the Cone…
On the way home, we pulled into the Gold Lake snowpark, but it was still cold, so we decided to just grill in Dan’s backyard. Once we got to Dan’s, both of us figured it was time to enjoy a second cold beverage, so I pulled out one of my favorite Pale Ales — a Bone-A-Fide pale ale from Boneyard Beer.
A few minutes later, the brats were done, and we enjoyed them with fresh garden onions and chips and salsa. A bit late, with the food and beer gone, the day was over, and that ended what turned out to be a decent day of June turns in the Oregon cascades.