P. O. Box 181
Salem, OR 97308

    Mother’s Day has arrived; the sun rises before 6:00 am, tulips are blooming, peas and carrots are growing in my vegetable garden.  Skiing is but a distant memory, right?  Wrong—very wrong.  The Cascades had more than three feet of snow in April.  Yesterday snow was falling above 3000’ and sticking to the trees above 4000’.  There is five inches of fresh snow on Santiam Pass this morning and it is still snowing.  True, snow is melting rapidly at lower elevations, but there is still skiing at the pass for those who aren’t too fastidious.  Don’t put the skis in deep storage yet.  Here’s what’s happened lately and what’s in store for the future.  


April 15, Friday:  Willamette Pass                    by Jeff Starr

    “Friday Bill N, Bill C, and I decided to explore the Willamette Pass area.  We had hoped to ski from the PCT trailhead to Maiden Lakes, possibly connecting up to the Willamette Pass ski area afterwards to come back on one of their runs.  Unfortunately the PCT trailhead wasn’t plowed and there were no other parking options available to reach the PCT trailhead. 

    We opted to park at the Gold Lake SnoPark.  After hearing from others that had attempted to ski to Gold Lake and quickly turned back, we chose to stay on routes that were already broken.  The weather was wonderful and the broken tracks skied very well.  On any ventures off track, we found ourselves knee deep in thick powder.  On track, the ski to Betchel shelter was wonderful and it was fun to ski in an area we’ve rarely explored.  At the end of the day, I ventured out of the tracks and found the snow is firming up indicating that breaking trail should be easier in a day or two as long as we don’t get too much more fresh powder. 

April 23, Saturday:  North Blowout Shelter and Beyond            by Ron Allowitz

    Three hardy skiers “braved” sunny and warm conditions at Benson Park on April 23rd. J. Starr, A. Bremiller, chose to pull snow sleds behind them as we skied Saturday. We experienced well compacted, but ice-free snow as we ventured to North Blowout shelter where we enjoyed a leisurely lunch. Snow conditions remained nearly ideal as we ventured towards Island Junction Shelter (IJS) on the Circle Lake trail. Bypassing the IJS we linked onto the South Loop and back to our vehicle. What was surprising was the near absence of other skiers during our outing.  [Editor’s note:  where were you?]

April 24, Saturday:  Santiam Lake                        by Jim Todd

    Three tours to Santiam Lake in one season is a record for me, but this isn’t a trip you can grow tired of.  We started from Santiam SnoPark on snow that was a bit icy, but warm, sunny weather soon softened the surface and produced smooth, easy skiing.  We took the usual Skyline trail route to the lake for lunch, enjoyed the spectacular views and then had a fun downhill run back to the SnoPark.  Thanks to Fiona and Kim for getting me out on this great route one more time.


    When the road to Three Creeks Lake opens we will wrap up the season with our annual Tam McArthur Rim tour.  Right now we are projecting a tour date the last weekend of May or first two weekends in June.  Contact Bob Young (503x621x6626) for details or to sign up for this great tour.


    The Willamette Chapter has an active volunteer program assisting the Forest Service with ski trail clearing and marking; shelter construction and maintenance; and firewood stocking.  Thank you volunteers!  If you have questions about out volunteer projects or would like to join one, contact Mark Olson (503x559x0728) or Jim Todd (503x378x7003).

    The announcements below detail the trail volunteer training programs sponsored by Cascade Volunteers, Pacific Crest Trail Association, Deschutes and Willamette NF.  The Allingham classes June 2-5, include a session on ski trail maintenance taught by Sue Sullivan of the Central Oregon Chapter of ONC.  Click the links below for more information and to sign up for these classes

    Details and registration links can be found here: Allingham Trail Skills College – Pacific Crest Trail Association (

SAVE THE DATE! Cascade Volunteers (CV) and the Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) are excited to welcome you to the 2022 West Cascades Trail Skills College, on June 10th-12th at the McKenzie Bridge Airstrip on the Willamette National Forest. This year we’re thrilled to be welcoming people back in person for a great weekend of camping, playing, learning and volunteering.

The training weekend will be filled with a wide range of classes from sawyer support, brushing and scouting, Love Your Lake training, and much more. At night you can kick your feet back and relax with volunteers from all around the Willamette.

Classes will start the morning of Saturday, June 11th. Camping on site will be open the evening of June 10th. Camping is encouraged but not required- feel free to just join us for a few classes if you prefer. 

While water and restrooms will be available onsite, due to ongoing COVID safety procedures, CV and PCTA are not able to provide food this year. Please plan to be self-sufficient or coordinate with friends for all meals.

A sneak peek at our schedule:

Saturday June 11th:

  • Intro to Trail Maintenance,
  • Sawyer Support – Swamping, 
  • Hand Tool Field Maintenance,
  • Drainage Design & Drain Dips,
  • Crew Leadership: Project Management,
  • Radio Use,
  • Crosscut Demonstration,

Sunday June 12th:

  • Brushing and Scouting,
  • Love Your Lake Training, 
  • Trail work: Tread and Drainage,
  • Chainsaw Maintenance,
  • Drainage Crossings,

Registration will open on Tuesday, May 10th on Better Impact. If you’re not already signed up as a Willamette National Forest Volunteer, please do so at the link bellow before registering for this event. 

MyImpactPage – Willamette National Forest Volunteer Application (

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