By Jefferson Starr
Friday December 18th, Jim Todd, Bill Nelson and Jeff Starr along with Beth Dayton from the Salamanders and Dillan from the McKenzie Ranger District found ideal snow and weather conditions at Ray Benson SnoPark. Temperatures hovered around freezing as mostly clear skies made for very pleasant skiing. Coverage was excellent for this early in the season. We split into two groups practicing social distancing. Jim led Beth and Dillan on the north side of the North Loop while Jeff and Bill cut north from the parking lot to tie into the south side of the North Loop. The thinning project at Ray Benson made off trail skiing much improved compared to prior years. Both groups met at the North Blowout Shelter for lunch break.
click for link to Ray Benson Map
After lunch, Bill and Jeff broke trail on the PCT and found the ruts left from old tracks made for less enjoyable work. Jim and his group continued on the Two Buttes Cutoff trail with more favorable results. Everyone enjoyed a wonderful day with fantastic snow.