July 2, 2020 – Mt Hood, Zigzag Glacier

After a lackluster June, Dan and I were looking forward to getting our turns in early in July. We agreed that Hood sounded like a good bet, and Dan was game to drive, so we met at my house early and headed up I5 in his Tesla. To ensure we had more than enough power to get back, we stopped off in Sandy for a few minutes to hit the supercharger, and then made our way to the mountain.

Charging the Tesla in Sandy

We pulled into the climbers lot around 8:30 am, and got our gear organized, including loading skis and boots on packs. Around 9:00 am, we set out on foot up the climber’s trail, which later proved to be a mistake due to how dusty and soft the trail was. The wildflowers along the way were a small consolation to the slow trail hiking, and definitely made for a few scenic photos…

Hood from the climbers lot
The view from the trail

It took two hours to get to the White River overlook due to the heat and extremely slow going, but it was nice to get a good view of the glacier again. It was looking pretty small for July, but at least the snow was mostly white and smooth.

The White River Glacier
Cracks in the White River

We took turns snapping a few pictures at the overlook, then finished climbing up the trail to the top of the Palmer. From the top of the Palmer, we traversed over to and under the lifts, then made the hike out to the Zigzag to check out the conditions. I always enjoy setting eyes on the Zigzag for the first time of the summer, and this year was no exception…

Dan at the White River overlook
Looking down the Zigzag

We worked our way down to the snow on the Ziggy, and it felt nice to take the approach shoes off and put the snowboard boots on. We skinned up the Zigzag until the snow became too bumpy for fun skiing, and called it just below the snow finger that comes down from Crater Rock. Once at our high point, we enjoyed a well deserved lunch, as put our beers on ice. My beer of choice for the day was a very tasty hazy King Sunny IPA from Pacifica Brewery. Although I took a few pictures of it, including the one below, I decided to have a couple swigs of Dan’s Ninkasi and save the Pacifica for later in the day at the top of the Palmer….

Dan near our high point
King Sunny IPA

After finishing off Dan’s beer, as well as our lunch, we took a few more photos, including the one below of me, before we stepped into our bindings to enjoy some hard earned turns…

Looking out over Illumination Rock

I dropped in first, and enjoyed some really smooth creamed corn down for several hundred feet before stopping to shoot a few photos of Dan skiing down. As usual, Dan slayed the corn and looked good doing it in front of the camera…

Dan skiing under the West Crater
Headed down the Zigzag

Partway down, the Zigzag, the snowfield split into two lobes. We decided the western lobe looked smoother, and headed that way. Dan grabbed the camera and snapped several shots of me as I came down, including the ones below….

July turns on the west lobe
Matt headed down

Before we got to the bottom of the west lobe, I took the camera back from Dan and skied down towards the bottom on perfect corn, then found a suitable spot to shoot some shots of Dan as he came down….

Dan harvesting some July corn
Turns in front of Illumination Rock

Once we were both at the bottom of the west lobe, we made a short hike across the rocks and dirt and strapped back into our gear and continued on down. The snow remained really smooth, and we enjoyed each and every turn as we descended….

Headed down the Zigzag
Riding the smooth corn

The turns on the middle of the Zigzag were probably the smoothest on the snowfield, and we ripped big sweeping turns down, enjoying each and every turn.

Summer turns on the Ziggy
Dan skiing below Illumination Rock

We continued on down to the lower snowfield, skiing by a very large rock that has served as an gauge for us over the years with respect to snow level on the snowfield. The rock was just becoming totally exposed, and both of us were a bit concerned since it was definitely early for the snow to be at this level…

Dan enjoying turns on the lower snowfield
Heading down towards the bottom

We worked our way down to about 7200 feet or so, then decided to call it since the snow was getting soft, even though we could have skied down a bit further. Our transition to skins was quick, and soon we were headed back up the Ziggy…

Skinning back up the Zigzag

We made it back up to our gear about an hour later or so, and then made a beeline for the top of the Palmer to enjoy some fun skiing on the Palmer snowfield. Our hope was that we might even get lucky and score a groomer on the way down. Once at the top of the Palmer, we put our beers on ice, and I enjoyed my King Sunny IPA while both of us enjoyed the views. A little bit later, it was time to strap into the bindings and enjoy some really nice corn turns….

Dropping in on the Palmer
Dan shredding the upper Palmer

The snow on the Palmer was equally as nice as that on the Zigzag, and we thoroughly enjoyed the fun turns down to the mid-station. Both Dan and I took turns shooting photos of one another, and were pretty stoked by the time we made it to the lower Palmer…

Dan skiing the Palmer
Heading down below the mid-station

We headed on down below the mid-station and were stoked as we saw the cat coming up, laying down a single groomer track behind him. We stood out of the way and let him pass, and then enjoyed some of the best corduroy this side of Deer Valley.

Matt slaying the groomer
All smiles in the Palmer Canyon

The groomer was so good, both of us couldn’t help but have big shit eating grins on our faces as we headed down. As far as July turns go, we both agreed it doesn’t get a whole lot better than this!

Matt heading on down
Dan getting some groomer action

We cruised on down and into the Mile Canyon, and once we got over towards the half pipe the grooming stopped, but we still enjoyed some really nice turns on down the canyon below Silcox Hut…

Turns by the halfpipe
Dan skiing through the Terrain Park

We worked our way through the terrain park, and down below the cats, and skied to within a few feet of the parking lot. Both of us were stoked on skiing back to the lot, as well as the quality of the snow, and decided to celebrate with a beer in the parking lot.

Dan below the cats

We made the short walk to the car, and it felt great to change into shorts and flip flops. I pulled a tasty Kick Step IPA from Ghostfish Brewing out of the cooler, also pulled out some fresh garden salads I made up the night before. Sitting in the sun, enjoying our beer and fresh food, we both agreed it doesn’t get much better.

A cold Kick Step IPA
Apres’ ski in the parking lot

We enjoyed the food and beer until they were gone, and then loaded our gear in the Tesla and headed out, capping off another great day of summer skiing at Mt Hood.