November 2, 2022 – Willamette Pass Dusk Patrol

With a trip to Hawaii starting on the 4th of November, I wanted to take advantage of the early weather window to get out and get a few turns in. I knew the timing would be difficult since I had to work, but I found a way to leave the office around noon and head to the Pass to see what was up. I wasn’t overly optimistic about the conditions, with the webcams showing about 6-8inches of snow, but figured it was worth giving it a go.

The Outback at the Gold Lake Snowpark
At the Pass

I made good time heading up Highway 58, and was greeted by a 4-5 inches of fresh snow at the Gold Lake snowpark, where I geared up before heading up to the Pass. The snow where I normally park was pretty gloppy from the snowplow, but after shoveling out a spot I was able to park without issue. A few moments later I headed out.

Looking up at George and the Race Shack

The lower mountain had about 6 inches of snow covering the grass, rocks and dirt, but it felt good to be on the skintrack at the Pass. I headed up KP, and followed a single skin track up. Just before Eagle’s, the skin track stopped and whoever made it had turned around to ski back down. I headed on up, and worked my way up Eagle’s and up towards upper KP and the tree farm.

A fall scene at the Pass
Looking out over the Tree Farm

Once at the top, I stopped off at the bump shack for a quick rest, and to enjoy a break before the turns back down. It was nice to get out of the weather for a little bit, and I took a few moments to eat a snack before locking up and heading to the top of EPA for the ride down.

The view from the Bump Shack
Enjoying a break at the Bump Shack

At the top of EPA, I popped open my beer, a tasty Operation Vacation from Hop Valley Brewing, and setup the tripod to snap a few shots. The beer hit the spot, and once it was finished I stepped into my bindings and shoved off.

At the top of EPA
Operation Vacation from Hop Valley

The snow coverage was pretty marginal, but I was able to make turns down KP without smashing any rocks. At the top of Eagle’s I contemplated heading on down KP, but decided the hell with it and turned right. The riding on Eagle’s was a bit sketch, but I made it down without falling or injury, and even managed a couple of fun turns…

Looking back up at my tracks on Upper KP
Tracks on Eagle’s

The rest of my run down KP was fun, hopping in and out of my skin track and making turns in the fresh, albeit minimal, snow. I only hit a couple of rocks, and soon I was back down at the patrol room looking back up at the mountain, which was looking a bit better than when I arrived.

Back at the base
The Pass truck parked at the patrol room

I made the short hike to the car, and loaded up and headed down to Gold Lake. Although I wasn’t cooking brats on this evening, it was a nice spot to change out of my boots and enjoy a snack. After snapping a quick pic, I hit the road, happy to have my November turns in the books and looking forward to a sun filled vacation in Hawaii with the family.

The lodge from the parking lot
Enjoying a snack at the snowpark