NEWSLETTER: MARCH 2021Willamette Chapter – Oregon Nordic Club. PO Box 181SALEM, OR 97308

Photo by Frank Hoffman

Thank you members

I know it has been a trying year for all of us with normal routines interrupted but so many of our long time members as well as a number of recent and brand new additions to the Willamette Chapter have sent in annual membership dues.  With the state dues increased to $10 per member unit we would be falling behind on account balance if we had meeting place fees to pay, which we did not do this year.  Other fixed fees for us like the web hosting and post office box keep going up as well.  So thank you to all of you who continue to support our efforts to promote and further cross country skiing.

There are many of you that I have not talked to this year but I hope you are getting out there to enjoy what has developed into a fairly good winter.  There is plenty of opportunity to get out and enjoy the snow.  After a couple of arduous backcountry treks with difficult climbs and more challenging descents I was really ready for some good old classic XC.  Wednesday, Feb. 24 turned out to be the perfect day for that.  Bianca and I headed out to Brandenburg to add a sign to discourage the use of the wood stove that had a missing chimney (yes, people are thoughtless and foolish enough to do that, even forcing a chain off the doors).  We had 2” to 3” of new snow as close to powder as the Cascades gets.  Glide was incredible and the sunshine brilliant while the temperature hovered just above freezing.  We ended up skiing the full loop to Island Junction and on to the North Loop, putting in about 9.4 miles.  The views of Washington, Sisters, Broken Top, and Black Crater were the best I can recall seeing ever.

So I hope you all will get out there and keep up the skiing.  We can do it safely and have a great time keeping ourselves healthy.  The current snow pack suggests that we could have some good spring skiing.  And by the way, the Mount Jefferson Snowmobile club took a sled and parts out to Brandenburg and North Blowout shelters and made repairs to the chimneys so those should be back in working order.  A big thank you to our winter rec partners.

Bob Young, treasurer 


We are pleased to report the stovepipes Bob mentions above were repaired on March 1, by Sisters Ranger District staff and volunteers from Mt. Jefferson Snowmobile Club. The stoves are back in service at Brandenburg and North Blowout shelters. You will be able to enjoy a warm fire at these shelters as long as the firewood supply lasts this spring.


February 28, Sunday:  Santiam Lake (again) by Jim Todd
It was great to have fresh, soft snow for this tour after January’s trip on rock hard ice.  Dayna, Fiona and I broke trail up Lost Lake Creek and down to Santiam Lake on a beautiful, sunny day.  The view of the lake and Three Fingered Jack was, as always, spectacular.  This route is worth a couple trips a year.

Lost Lake Creek photo by Dayna Svendsen

Photo by Jeff Starr

February 20, Lava Lake, by Jeff Starr

Anna, Jack and I found very good snow and weather conditions at Big Springs SnoPark as we did an out and back ski to Lava Lake. Travel time took a little longer than expected as there were timber clearing operations along the highway. By skiing one of the closer and lesser used snow parks we avoided the crowded conditions that have lately been plaguing the more popular snow parks.

Big Springs SnoPark is blessed with large Douglas Firs which are visually impressive and make for a very scenic ski. Our route to Lava Lake included skiing through an old lava flow offering open views with a smattering of large trees that somehow manage to subsist on the meager soil.

February 24, Wednesday: Where the heck is Point 4927? By Jim Todd

Once again Frank lead Chuck and I on a new route. Starting from Ray Benson we followed the North Loop to the Two Buttes Cutoff, then left the trails and headed south up the ridge. After a short, steep climb we reached the “summit” of Point 4927–the highest bump on Santiam Pass. The views were great in all directions and so was the skiing.

February 4, Wednesday: FRESH SNOW! By Jim Todd

After more than a foot of new snow Tuesday night, Frank lead Chuck and I on an excursion from Ray Benson to Brandenburg Shelter. Not content to follow tracks on the South Loop, he chose an off trail route following old roads between the South Loop and PCT so we could enjoy the pleasures of trail breaking. And it was enjoyable (untouched snow, solitude, new views), even though we were sinking 8-10″ with every stride. 

Following a well earned lunch at Brandenburg we relented and chose the South Loop (more or less) for our return. Tracks made by earlier skiers gave us a smooth run back to the SnoPark. 

The good news at Santiam Pass: so many skiers are out that tracks should be set on all trails by Saturday. The bad news: first the stove pipe has failed at Brandenburg Shelter so a warming fire is not an option; second, the traffic will be very bad this weekend. Even on a week day Hoodoo was jammed, with cars parked along the road to Ray Benson and crowded against the shoulder on the road out to the highway. If you go this weekend plan on arriving early in the morning and having a long slow drive out to the highway in the afternoon.  

January 30, Saturday:  Tour report for Square Lake and Long Lake

By Bob Young

This is a loop I have wanted to do for a number of years. 2 years ago I lead a tour to do this but we ended up taking the Square Lake trail out and back because of some fairly deep snow and trail breaking. This Saturday conditions were more promising, though it was misting starting out, and 6 of us, Jim, Conor, Bianca, Fiona, Dayna, and I headed up the PCT to a saddle above Square at 5400 feet and did the 600 foot drop to Square at 4800. This can be a fun descent depending on snow conditions. Today the snow was very heavy as the mist had turned it to Cascade cement. Perfect for killer snowballs but not so good for turning. From here we picked up the trail to Long Lake, another 200 foot drop. Weather had moderated and we even had a couple of near sun breaks. At least no more rain.

For the climb back out we split into 2 groups of 3. Jim, Conor, and Fiona skied to the end of Long before retracing the trail back to Square. The rest of us tried to cross the creek to the north facing slope but the tangle of logs and small trees made that impossible. We did eventually cross before getting to Square and climbed to the notch near the official trail and started breaking track back towards the PCT trail head. The other 3 caught up with us fairly quickly and must have had an easier route. The rest of the return was fairly easy with mostly gentle downhill which is a good thing since the snow remained very sticky and heavy. Had to maxiglide twice to keep moving. This was one of the most physically demanding tours I’ve done in a long time and I think we were all sufficiently tired by the time we got back. I may do it again but it will definitely be on better snow. A great place to get views, terrain, and definitely get away from the other people out there.

The Willamette Chapter of the Oregon Nordic Club On the website you can review all Club news, post news, find volunteer activities, locate rental and retail sources for ski equipment, find descriptions of our favorite trails, and much more. Only the Newsletter Archive in the website is password protected. All members can easily sign up to receive new posts to the website via their e-mail. Just go to the website,, and click on “Following ONCWillamette.” We have sent out separately a list of members and their contact information. We do not put that in the Newsletters or Website for member protection. If a member needs the membership list or the website password, please contact Bob Young or Genice Rabe. Willamette Chapter activities have been curtailed by COVID-19, but please renew your membership for the 2020-2021 season. For only $20 you will receive access to all inside club news and support our efforts to promote and improve cross-country skiing for everyone. Our chapter pays $10 from each membership to the statewide Oregon Nordic Club to support its efforts and cover the cost of insurance for all ONC chapters. You can renew by downloading a membership form at and returning it with your $20 check to the Club as directed on the form. If you have questions please contact Bob Young.

Volunteer Opportunities
The Willamette Chapter has an active volunteer program assisting the Forest Service with ski trail clearing and marking as well as shelter construction, maintenance and firewood stocking. Thank you volunteers! Please call Mark Olson (503x559x0728) or Jim Todd (503x378x7003) for more information about our club’s volunteer program. During the ski season Willamette Chapter members help the Forest Service maintain and improve ski trails by reporting trail and shelter conditions. Please help the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests use their limited resources efficiently by sending a Nordic Trail Report when you ski their marked trails. Contact Mark or Jim about trail or Sno-Park conditions and they will forward the information to the appropriate Forest Service office.


The Newsletter now includes an Announcement Section. There members can post ski related items for sale, cross-country related questions, inquiries about conditions and suggestions for ski trips. Please send your announcements to Genice Rabe for inclusion in the Newsletter. Another good place for these items is on the website, Equipment available: NNN bindings $15. NNN BC bindings $20-$40. Multiple telemark skis with bindings, 170 cm $25-$250. Alpina BC 2050 boots, size 46, new in box $125. Black diamond ascension kicker skins 60mmx75cm, new $40. Northern Lites Backcountry snowshoes, new $175. Sierra designs 3-4 person tent 1990s, excellent $150. New ice axes $80, crampons $50. Contact Tim Faber at COUNTRY SKIER MAGAZINE Tim Faber would like to encourage members to subscribe to this excellent publication on our favorite sport. Information can be found at:

2020-2021 Officers and Board Members Available President

Jeanne Miller Vice President, Bob Young Treasurer & Membership, Denise Sanders Webmeister, Genice Rabe Newsletter Editor, Jim Todd Day Tour Chair , David Forkner ONC State Board Rep & Board Member, Pam Wojcik Overnight Trip Coordinator & Board Member, Mark Olson Volunteer Coordinator & Board Member , Christine Young Board Member, Available Board Member

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