December 16, 2023 – Hoodoo

After sitting around waiting for winter to arrive for several weeks, I was able to persuade Dan to get out for a day of turns. Our goal was to ski a peak that I’d skied once before a few years earlier, but I didn’t know if it would go or not. We met at Dan’s house early with the goal of finding out, knowing that Hoodoo would be a possible backup option in the event things didn’t work out.

Dan ready to head out
Heading up the road

We made our way to the Santiam Pass area and then drove up the road to where we wanted to access our peak from. There was some snow on the road, and it looked promising as we started out on skins. After a mile or two, we got a good look at our objective. Unfortunately it didn’t go. It looked like the warm inversion that had been plaguing the mountains had caused the upper slopes to melt out, so we turned around and enjoyed the slide back down the road, getting a few decent turns along the way.

Getting closer
A couple miles in

The ski down the road was a bit crack headed, but we made it back to the truck in one piece with plenty of time to head up and check out Hoodoo. Before we headed out, Dan skinned up a side road and made a few fun turns back down to the truck. We enjoyed a Hazy IPA from Ninkasi Brewing while changing out of ski boots, and then hit the road.

Dan getting some turns at the truck
Enjoying a Hazy IPA from Ninkasi

After a short drive, we arrived at Hoodoo and the snowpack was looking pretty dismal — maybe 6 inches for a base? We figured it would go however, and hope was that maybe we could find some soft turns somewhere on the hill. It didn’t take long to get the skins on and soon we were working our way up the slope.

Skinning up Hoodoo
The view from the top

W followed our standard route up and it was quite warm. Before long, we arrived at the top and enjoyed the views of the volcano’s to the north and south. I snapped a picture of Mt Washington looking pretty fine in the early afternoon sunlight with the telephoto lens. It was also a good time to enjoy a cold beer, and my Hippy Haze IPA from Wild Ride Brewing in Redmond hit the spot.

Mt Washington looming large
A tasty Hippy Haze IPA

We enjoyed our beers along with the sunshine and views on the summit, and then it was time to drop in. The north facing terrain was pretty firm and cut up from skiers who made turns a few weeks earlier, but I thought the east face might yield some corn so we checked it out.

Sponsor shot from the top of Hoodoo
Dan dropping in on the east face

After the first turn I knew it was going to be great skiing, and immediately I wished we would have come here earlier instead of spending a few hours slogging up and down some out of the way Forest Service roads. Regardless, I enjoyed some choice turns before setting up and shooting a few shots of Dan as he came down.

Corn turns on the ‘doo
Dan harvesting some December corn

We skied down the bowl, then cut out early since the lower half was snow free, popping out at the top of Ed’s chair. From there, we were able to find a few soft turns in the sun, but the rest of the ski down was on an icy crust. Even so, it was fun to get out and make turns, and we were all smiles by the time we reached the parking lot.

Corn skiing in December at Hoodoo
A quick break on the descent

We made turns right to the truck, and decided to drive up the lot a little ways to find a spot in the sun to enjoy a beer and grill up some brats. It was really warm as we fired up the grill. In fact it was so warm that Dan was able to sit comfortably in shorts and flip flops! A few minutes later, the brats were ready to go, and we enjoyed them along with some chips and salsa to cap off a day that turned out to be pretty damn nice.

Dan enjoying a cold smoke in the parking lot
Grilling after enjoying turns

After we scarfed down the brats and finished our beers (thanks Jack for the Cold Smokes!), it was time to load up and head out. The temperature was above 55 degrees as we headed down the road from Hoodoo towards highway 20, and although it felt great to sit in the sun and enjoy the nice afternoon, I’m ready for some cold smoke to fly and looking forward to a return to winter!