April 4, 2022 – Willamette Pass

Eight days after the Pass had closed for the season, it looked like a storm would be rolling through that had a chance to produce a few fun turns. I made plans to head up with Dan in the afternoon to see if we could get lucky, and left work around noon and headed to his place. After loading gear in his Tesla, we headed up the highway. As we pulled off on the Waldo Road to gear up, we were greeted by a few inches of wet, heavy snow with the temperature hovering around 34 degrees.

Gearing up at the Waldo Road

We made the short drive to the Pass, and found a parking spot, only having to do a minimal amount of shoveling. The Pass was looking a whole lot better than closing day just over a week earlier as we grabbed our gear and headed out.

Fresh snow at the Pass
Ready to head out

We started skinning up ByGeorge, and the run, which was completely bare a few days earlier, had about 6 inches of new snow on it. We continued on up the hill, and soon made our way to the top of KP where we enjoyed a quick stop in the patrol shack before heading on over towards Peak 2 to check out the conditions.

Skinning up above the lodge
Heading up to the top

At the top of Peak 2, there was about 10-12 inches of new snow, and we wasted little time before dropping into Northern to sample the goods. The snow didn’t disappoint, and it really felt nice to rip a few powder turns after such an abnormally dry winter.

Dan skiing Northern
April pow turns at the Pass

At the bottom, we were both pretty stoked on the conditions, and quickly changed over to skins and set a track back up. A short time later, we arrived back at Peak 2, and enjoyed a quick break and a cold beverage before readying for another lap. My beer of choice for the day was an excellent Nebula Stout from Block 15 Brewing Co.

The view from the top of Peak 2
Nebula Oatmeal Stout from Block 15 Brewing

As we were preparing to drop in for our second run, Dan offered to grab the camera and I was happy to give it to him so he could get a few shots of me enjoying the snow. We elected to ski right near the trees at the top of Down Under, and then headed over skiers left to sample the snow there.

Matt enjoying a pow turn
Ripping a pow turn on Peak 2

The snow here was awesome, and after Dan handed me the camera back, we worked our way down Down Under and then onto lower Junes. Below are a few shots of Dan enjoying the skiing.

Cruising on Down Under
Heading towards lower June’s

We worked over towards the lift line, and then I spooned Dan’s tracks down over the roll over under the chair. From there it was a short ski back through the trees, and then we set a skin track back to our existing track and worked our way back to the top.

Looking up the liftline
At the top of Peak 2

Back at the top, I enjoyed a few more swigs of my cold beer, and after a quick break, we headed over to June’s to sample the snow there. By now the depth was pushing closer to 14 inches of new snow, and the turns just kept getting better and better. Below are a couple of shots from our third run of the afternoon…

Pow turns on June’s
Matt enjoying a turn below the chair line

We worked our way back over to our skin track at the bottom, and put the skins back on as it continued to puke snow. On the track back up, the wind started howling, snow was blowing everywhere, and both of us agreed it felt awesome to experience winter again!

Heading back up

On the way up, we ditched our packs at the top of Escalator for one more run because the snow was just too good to pass up. We dropped in around 6:20 pm, and it was definitely a good call. I snapped several pics of Dan on the way down, and enjoyed my share of face shots as well on what was probably one of my best powder runs of the season.

Dan cruising down Escalator
Evening pow turns at the Pass

The final skin up went quickly, and we punched in a new track back to the front, and spent a few minutes in the patrol shack before dropping in to check out RTS. The top of RTS was a bit scratchy, but once we were in the turns were excellent. The snow was baby butt smooth and we ripped the run top to bottom.

Turns at the top of RTS
Skiing RTS in the evening light

At the bottom of the run, I snapped a picture looking back up the run, and it looked better than it had since early January.

RTS from the bottom of the run

From the bottom of RTS, we skied Lois Lane out, and then cruised over to Swoosh for the final turns of the day. Swoosh skied awesome, with about 12 inches of new on the run, and we worked our way down skiers left. At the bottom, what was bare dirt only a day or two earlier skied really nicely, and we hit the haul road over to George and made turns right to the parking lot. Neither of us could believe how good the turns were, especially given the fact that everything was bare only a couple days earlier!

Back at the base

The walk to the car was a short one, and we loaded our gear while it continued to snow. Unfortunately the Tesla’s fronk (front trunk) was frozen shut and we couldn’t get it open, and that’s where the grill was so there would be no brats on this day. Even so, we celebrated with another beer before we hit the road. My second offering for the day was a tasty Hazy Falls Pale Ale from Three Creeks Brewing.

Hazy Falls Pale Ale from Three Creeks

The drive back down to the valley went smoothly, and although we got home late and both had to work the next morning, it was definitely worth it for the excellent turns and the satisfaction of getting to experience winter again. Hopefully the cold, wet spring weather continues. Until then, here’s a couple of parting shots from the day.

Fresh tracks on Peak 2
Skiing RTS in the late evening

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