June 22, 2023 – Mt Bachelor

The end of June was approaching, and Dan, Joe and I wanted to get out for some more turns before the month slipped away. The conditions over the past few weeks hadn’t been very good, but our hope was that a few inches of snow from a recent storm would provide a much needed refresh of the snowpack. The three of us met early at Dan’s house and piled into his Tesla and headed up the road, hopeful for what the day would bring.

Gearing up at the parking lot
The boys heading up

We made good time to the mountain, and found the snowpack looking a bit anemic but smooth looking. Dan backed the car into the charging station and plugged in, and we donned ski boots and packs and headed out. It was a short hike to the snow, and we worked our way up the halfpipe and then the snow above…

Hiking up the pipe
Joe and Buddy working their way up Bachelor

Once partway up Canyon, the slope mellowed and the snow became consistent enough for skinning. It didn’t take long and we cruised our way to mid mountain and were working our way up above Pine to the higher slopes/

A quick break near the top of Pine
Joe skinning above Pine

We skinned up towards the summit ridge above Pine under sunny skies, eventually needing to put the skis on the packs and boot the last several hundred feet to make it to the top.

Dan working up towards the Cirque Bowl
Heading up the summit ridge

On the way up, we were afforded good views into the Cirque bowl and the snow looked really white and smooth and we knew the ride down was going to be a good one. A few more steps brought us to the top, and we enjoyed the views from the summit. It was a good time to pull out my Red Sands Amber Ale from Kohola Brewery and snap a summit picture of it, but given it was a bit cold and windy I elected to drink it a bit later in the day.

Joe at the summit
Red Sand Amber Ale from Lahaina Brewing

We enjoyed a quick snack at the top along with the views, but made the transition from skins fairly quickly and proceeded to drop in, enjoying perfect corn turns a few feet shy of the summit proper.

Matt up top
Dan dropping in off the summit
Turns off the summit
Joe enjoying good corn off the top

The turns off the summit and into the Cirque bowl are always fun and spicy, and as usual they didn’t disappoint. The corn was nearly perfect, and I snapped several shots of Dan and Joe as they headed down off the steep summit pitch and into the throat above the Cirque bowl….

Turns above the Cirque bowl
Dan skiing the steep headwall above the main Cirque bowl
Negotiating the upper Cirque bowl
Skiing through the throat

Once down off the steep upper pitches and through the narrow throat which was melting out quickly, we regrouped and decided it was definitely worth milking the rest of the bowl to the very bottom. Dan grabbed the camera and headed down, and then stopped to fire off a few shots of me, and then I returned the favor…

Matt enjoying smooth corn in the Cirque bowl
Dan ripping the smooth June corn
Cirque bowl turns
Dan skiing above Tumalo in the Cirque bowl

We continued on down and I shot a few more pictures of the skiers as they descended. The snow was super smooth and nearly perfect, and we milked it for all it was worth…

Joe ripping it up
Turns in the lower Cirque Bowl

At the bottom, we stopped to enjoy a break and admire our turns. All three of us were pretty stoked on how smooth the snow was, and given the area was warm and out of the wind, it was the perfect time to drink my beer before we donned skins and headed up towards the rope tow to make some more turns.

Skinning out of the bowl
Joe on the skin out

We worked our way back up a ways, to a highpoint that coincided with the location a favorite late season ski that we termed the Batch Patch. Here, the skins came off and it was time to make turns again. Joe dropped in first, and Dan, Buddy and I followed.

Joe heading down
Dan and Buddy enjoying some June turns
Buddy leading the way with Dan behind

As we descended, we skied over towards Pine and hit the slopes below the rope tow. I fired off a few pictures as we descended, and we enjoyed smooth turns down to the access road at mid-mountain below…

Turns in front of South Sister
Matt near mid-mountain

It was a short walk across the road, and then the skis went back on and more turns were enjoyed. I fired off several more pictures of Dan, Joe and Buddy heading down, including the ones below…

Buddy and Dan heading down
Joe skiing with beer in hand
Heading down with a beautiful backdrop
Turns on the lower mountain

Eventually we made our way to Canyon run and were able to link turns on a few strips of snow nearly all the way down to the halfpipe…

Dan skiing down Canyon
Enjoying the last few turns

We skied down to the grass and then walked over to the halfpipe, and I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy a few pipe turns before we made it back to the car….

Riding the pipe
Joe near the parking lot

The final turns down the pipe were pretty swell, and then it was a short walk down to the lodge where we washed off skis and boots with the wash station for the mountain bikers. At the car, it felt great to switch out of ski boots and get into flip flops, and we go brats going on the grill. It was also time to enjoy another cold beverage, and my second offering was a tasty Trailhead Tropical IPA from Ninkasi Brewing.

Trailhead IPA from Ninkasi
Apres in the parking lot

The brats hit the spot, and put the cap on a great day of skiing and riding. We enjoyed the sun, the food and the beer until two of the three were gone, and then it was time to load the car, unplug and hit the road home. All in all, it was a pretty great June day on the snow.



May 19, 2023 – Willamette Pass Dusk Patrol

The month of May was starting to slip away, and I was hoping to get an evening dusk patrol day in at the Pass, so I phoned up Dan and Joe who both were game to get some turns. I left work around noon and we carpooled up 58 in Dan’s Tesla, stopping at Gold Lake to gear up. Halfway up the highway I realized I’d left my skins at home, so booting it would have to be for me.

The view from the Pass exit

We arrived at the Pass a few minutes later, and loaded packs and headed out. The coverage was about what we expected, and it looked like we’d be able to ski all the way to the base on the way out. The weather was warm, and some big thunderheads were looming to our north and east, but stayed far enough away that we felt comfortable on the approach.

Joe skiing up Rough Cut
Skinning up Amber’s

We worked our way to the top of Twilight, and then up to Amber’s and RTS. The booting wasn’t bad, and soon Dan and Joe changed over to boots as well for the climb up RTS.

Topping out on RTS

At the top of RTS, I found a full 16 oz Rainer can sitting next to a tree that had melted out, which improved my mood significantly and made up for leaving my skins at home. We worked our way to the top of EPA, and then over to Peak 2 to check out the conditions on the back.

Checking out the snow stake
Maiden and the Peak 2 chair

At the top of Peak 2, we put a beer on ice and nervously watched a very large developing thunderhead to the northeast which seemed to be approaching our direction. My beer of choice for the day was an aptly named Maiden West IPA from Little Beast Brewing. I positioned it with Maiden in the background and snapped a few photos, including the one below.

Maiden West IPA from west of Maiden Peak
Matt & a huge thunderhead

At one point, we decided we weren’t going to drop into Northern because the clouds were looking pretty menacing, but after another 15 minutes or so they dissipated enough that we elected to give it a go. After taking a tripod shot of the three of us, I stepped into my bindings and headed down to shoot photos of the skiers making turns…

Tripod shot of the three of us on Peak 2
Dan dropping into Northern

I positioned myself just down the slope far enough to catch the skier’s coming over the slope as a silhouette. The turns looked nice and the corn was flying. Dan dropped in first…

Dan dropping into Northern
Peak 2 turns

After Dan, Joe dropped in and I fired off several shots from my Canon R5 as he headed down. Some of them are below….

Joe’s turn to drop in
Joe skiing Northern
May turns on Northern
Evening turns on Northern

We skied the run about halfway down, maybe a bit more, then decided to exit stage right because the snow was still a bit on the bumpy side from closing weekend a week before.

Skiing the lower half of upper Northern
Traversing over to head back up

We slid our way through the trees, and it was hard to imagine that only a month ago we were running sleds through here in the deep stuff while doing sled training for patrol. It was a short boot hike up to Boundary, and then we walked back up Kris Kross to the top of EPA.

Hiking back up Kris Kross
At the top of EPA

Sitting at the top of EPA, it was a good time to take a break, enjoy the views, and drink that cold Rainier that I found earlier while coming up RTS. We watched a marmot (most likely the same one from a month earlier that we saw during the season) and enjoyed the calm that comes with a pleasant evening in the spring at the Pass.

A cold Rainier beer
Hanging out up top

A few moments later, it was time to click into the bindings and shove off. We had to walk down from the top to the Success patch, but it was worth skiing as Dan demonstrates in the below photo.

Dan skiing the Success patch

The get in to RTS was a bit spicy as usual, but once in the skiing was really good. One of my favorite parts of skiing the Pass during May and June is hitting RTS when it’s at it’s most sketch.

Dropping into RTS
Joe skiing the upper pitch on RTS

We all made it through the crux without issue, and Dan gave me the camera back. I headed down a bit further, and took some pictures of Dan and Joe as they headed down. Joe skied all the way to the bottom and by the time I could get my camera out of it’s pouch he looked tiny at the bottom….

Looking down RTS with Joe at the bottom
Dan ripping RTS

At the bottom we were all pretty stoked with how good the run was skiing, and it wasn’t a hard decision to head back up to reuse the bootpack and put in another lap. The hike up went quick, and we dropped in again in perfect conditions and perfect weather.

Back at the top
Dan skiing through the crux

I took some more pictures, including ones of both Dan and Joe skiing through the throat near the top of the run while dodging rocks, trees and stumps…

Joe skiing though the throat
Dan enjoying a second lap

We skied the second lap top to bottom in perfect corn, and everyone was all smiles at the bottom. As usual, RTS delivered once again and we got to enjoy a perfect sunset as well as excellent snow.

Basking in the glow of a couple good runs
Looking back at RTS

At the bottom, we gathered our gear that we’d left below, shouldered our packs, and headed off down Lois Lane to ski Swoosh back to the car. To our amazement, Swoosh had firmed up just enough from earlier when it was roasting in the sun and it skied perfectly.

Heading down Swoosh
Joe skiing with beer in hand
Skiing on down to the base
Matt enjoying the action

We worked our way down the run, enjoying the smooth snow right down to the bottom. It definitely was a pleasure being able to link turns all the way to the lodge…

Evening turns at the Pass
Our tracks on lower Swoosh

At the bottom, it was a short push over to the parking lot, and then back to the car. Although it was hard to believe how much snow had melted in the week since closing, we definitely couldn’t complain at the quality of snow we had during this evening outing.

Looking back at the hill

Once back to the car, we made the short drive down to Gold Lake to enjoy a beer and cook some brats. I was looking forward to a cold Farmstand Fresh Mango IPA from Deschutes Brewing, and it hit the spot with a tasty brat hot off the grill.

Farmstand Fresh IPA from Deschutes
Grilling at Gold Lake

We hung out in the parking lot for a few, enjoying our beers and food, and even had to don jackets as the temperature dropped. A bit later, it was time to hit the road, and I think I can safely safe we all were pretty happy with how the day turned out. Here’s a parting shot from the day….

Parting shot from RTS

May 12, 2023 – Hoodoo Dusk Patrol

Hard as it was to believe, it was time once again for the annual Hoodoo Dusk Patrol with the crew. This event is one that I look forward to all year long, and this year it looked like the weather was shaping up for us to have a perfect afternoon. After running my Commission meeting in the morning and meeting with the lawyers after that, I managed to get a quick lunch in before Andy and I left work and headed for Dan’s to carpool up to Hoodoo. We made the drive up without issue and pulled into the parking lot and found Todd and Neil putting on their skis.

Todd and Neil ready to head up

The weather was beautifully sunny and the corn looked ripe, so we wasted little time getting ready to go and hit the skin track. It was short skin to the top, and soon we were enjoying the views from the top of the ‘doo.

Neil on the approach
Ripping skins at the top

The volcano lineup was looking pretty nice, and I took out the telephoto lens to snap a few shots of Mt Washington and Mt Jefferson looking prime in their coats of white…

Mt Washington from the summit of Hoodoo
The boys enjoying some time at the top

Since the weather was  pretty warm, my first order of business was to get a beer on ice, and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate brewery to represent than Kona Brewing. My beer of choice for the afternoon was a tasty Gold Cliff IPA.

Looking north to Mt Jefferson
Gold Cliff IPA from Kona Brewing

We enjoyed the views up top for a bit, and then it was time to get some turns in. For our first lap, we decided to try the northwest face. It turned out to be a good choice, and we enjoyed nice turns off the top. I took the camera out and snapped several shots of the skiers as they came down.

Neil enjoying some May turns on the northwest side
Todd on the tele
Dan harvesting some prime corn
Andy dropping in

We worked our way down the slope, eventually stopping at the bottom a bit below mid-mountain. The snow was baby butt smooth, and each turn brought a smile to my face. At the bottom, we donned skins and made the quick climb back to the top.

Heading on down
Back at the top

Back on top, it was a good time to crack open my beer which was chilling on ice and enjoy the views. Looking to the southeast, I snapped a few photos of Mt Washington and beyond. The scenery from top of Hoodoo in the spring is quite beautiful.

Looking out from the summit
Neil enjoying the view

We hung out for a little while, debating on what to ski next, and settled on the main bowl under the chairlift. After snapping a few more picture, we dropped in.

Matt & Andy up top
Dropping in for lap 2

The snow was quite good, and I caught several more photos of the guys skiing, including a couple of shots of Todd below. It was great to be out with Todd and watch him rip it on the tele skis, and reminded me of days gone by from numerous Hoodoo dawn/dusk patrols in the years past…

Todd ripping it up
Skiing the main bowl

At the bottom, we skinned back up again and decided on skiing one more lap, this time on the east side. The brats down at the cars were calling our names, so we finished our beers on the summit and dropped in. This time, Dan grabbed the camera and shot a few pictures of me on the upper slope. The snow was absolutely choice.

Matt enjoying Hoodoo’s east slope
Harvesting May corn at the ‘Doo

Halfway down, I grabbed the camera back from Dan and we continued making turns. The sun was in a perfect position to get some silhouette shots of the skiers, and really highlighted the snow as they carved it up….

Dan and Todd harvesting the eastside corn
Todd dropping a knee in front of Mt Washington

We worked our way to the bottom, harvesting quality corn all the way down, and then made the slow slide back out across the flats and to our waiting cars at the parking lot.

Evening corns turns at Hoodoo
Looking back at Dan and our turns

With the skiing over, it was time to fire up the grill. Grilling after skiing is nearly as much fun as the skiing itself, and something I’m always game for.

Cooking brats at the base
Brats on the Grill

It was also time for a second tasty beverage. This offering was a True Gold refreshing golden ale from Breakside Berwing, and it was aptly named for such a great outing.

True Gold
Group apres shot

It didn’t take long and the brats were ready, and we gobbled them down quickly. Hanging out in the sun in flip flops and shorts, enjoying a cold beer and a tasty brat with a good group of guys — it just doesn’t get a whole lot better.

Dan and crew enjoying the evening

Soon, it was nearing the time to hit the road, so I walked across the parking lot to grab a couple of last shots from the area, including Hayrick and Hoodoo itself from the base area.

Hayrick from the base
A final look at Hoodoo

By the time I got back, it was time to pack up and hit the road, so we did just that, satisfied with another fun day of after work dusk patrol turns at the ‘Doo. I’m already looking forward to our 2024 dusk patrol, but until then, here’s a parting shot from the day.

Parting shot from the ‘doo

April 4, 2023 – Willamette Pass Dusk Patrol

After a pretty epic April Fool’s day at the Pass a few days earlier, I was stoked to get out for a mid-week dusk patrol with Dan, who spent most of the last three months nursing his shoulder back to health after surgery in early January. Starting in April, the Pass was on a Friday/Saturday/Sunday only schedule, so we were hoping to see if we could score some fresh snow after yet another storm had rolled in.

Gold Lake shelter buried

We headed up highway 58, making good time to the Gold Lake sno-park, where we found the Gold Lake Sno-park shelter absolutely buried. Wasting little time, we geared up at the sno-park, and donned the skins on the skis. I took a shot of a beer I was planning on drinking later in the evening (a tasty For the Win IPA from Old 99 Brewing Co.), and then we headed up the road to find a place to park.

Dan skinning up at the snow park
A tasty IPA from Old 99 Brewing

To our amazement, the lot near the PCT had been plowed, and there were a couple of cars parked there. We parked next to Jensen’s truck, and headed up the road. Near the ODOT building, we ran into Jensen and Hilliary and they both said the snow was pretty good. Stoked, we headed up the skin track, working our way up Sleepy and then KP. By the time we reached Eagle’s Flight, it was deep!

Walking up the highway
Looking up Eagle’s

The skin track continued up KP, and with 30+ inches of snow off-piste, we decided to continue to head up the track. By the time we got to the Big Corner however, the track continued up the road and out into the trees beyond. Not sure exactly what was going on there, we busted trail up KP and worked our way towards the top of EPA. The going was slow and the snow was deep, but eventually we topped out after stopping to fix a trails merge sign lower down…

Dan at the big corner
Adjusting some signage

The amount of snow on top was staggering. Looking at the Patrol bump shack, it was nearly buried! Heading on up to Peak 2, the size of the cornices looming above Southbound were also quite impressive.

The bump shack buried!
Heading up to Peak 2

When we reached to top of Peak 2, both of us were impressed with the total snow depth at the snow stake. It was about 3 inches from the bottom of the sign, and we later measured that to be an few inches shy of 144 inches! We cleared some of the snow off the ramp at the top to help the area out for later in the week, and then took a break to enjoy a beer.

12 feet of snow at the stake!
Clearing snow from the ramp

Everything in the shack was looking good, and we enjoyed a few minutes in the warm shack while it continued to snow outside. My beer of choice for the afternoon was a tasty Hazy Crazy IPA from Newport Brewing Co., and I captured it with the Peak 2 chair in the background in the photo below.

Enjoying a break in the top shack
Hazy Crazy IPA from Newport Brewing

A few minutes later, it was time to head back to the front and get ready to make turns. Dan was a bit worried about his shoulder, so we decided against dropping in on Peak 2 and skinned back to the top of EPA instead.

Ready to shove off from the top
At the top of EPA

We took a couple of obligatory summit pics, and then decided on skiing Good Time Charlie based on Dan’s assessment that it would be steep enough to provide good turns but also mellow enough that Dan wasn’t worried about falling on his shoulder. Shoving off, we worked our way down to the run and had to ski in the skin track because it was so deep.

Dan dropping in
Matt dropping into Charlie

Once we got to the run, we did a quick assessment and then dropped in. The snow was absolutely deep as could be, and the turns were excellent. Dan had the camera for the first half of the run, and snapped several shots of me, including the two shot sequence below…

Neck deep on Good Time
White room turns at the Pass

We worked our way down the run, and I snapped some shots of Dan who was ripping with his “improved” shoulder. The snow was so good I wished we had time for another lap, but the hour was getting late so we decided it would be best to ski through the trees and catch the haul road over to George. That proved to be an interesting choice, as the snow was 60+ inches deep on the haul road since no public had skied it the weekend prior. It took some time, but we skinned our way over to George after a bunch of effort.

Dan on Good Time
Ready to ski down George

The turns down George were nice, and reminded me of some of the fun dusk patrol outings from a few years prior during the pandemic. We milked it all the way to the bottom, and were able to ski out to the parking lot.

Down at base
Heading out from the Pass exit

The hike down the road went quickly, and it continued to puke snow as we walked. Even though it was April, it really felt like a mid-winter day.

Hiking back to the car

When we got to the parking lot, Dan’s truck was the only vehicle there. Although it was getting dark, we decided there was still time to cook up some brats, and that was definitely a great choice. The hot brats took the sting out of an otherwise cold evening, and we enjoyed them with a cold beverage.

Brats on the grill
Enjoying beers and brats at the truck

Soon, with the beers and brats gone, it was time to hit the road. Both of us wished we could come back in the morning, but worked beckoned, and we’d have to settle for turns later on the weekend. Even so, this dusk patrol was easily one of the deepest ever, and one that won’t soon be forgotten!