January 2022 Newsletter

WILLAMETTE CHAPTER – OREGON NORDIC CLUB

oncwillamette.org

P. O. Box 181

Salem, OR  97308

NEWSLETTER

January 2022

                            photo by Frank Hoffman

    Just as predicted in December, the snow, though a bit late, did come; and it came with a vengeance.  The Cascades had nearly 200% of their normal snowpack on New Year’s Day.  But almost drowning the cheers are the laments of skiers exhausted by hours of trail breaking.  Such is the nature of our sport.  Along with the joy of fresh snow comes the tedious slog through mounds of white.  Carry on and take comfort in the prospect of extending our ski season into May or even June.  

    And it would scarcely be a January Newsletter without a reminder that Ski Shool is on January 29, and IT IS NOT JUST FOR BEGINNERS!  Whether you have skied 10 years, 20 years or 40 years, a day spent honing skills on groomed snow should be part of your ski season. Tune your diagonal stride, develop a kick double pole, polish your snowplow, try a little skating or work on a telemark. These skills will save energy (and falls) on backcountry tours. You will ski greater distances on more challenging routes and you will enjoy it more. All these benefits will be yours with just one day at Ski School; and a day gliding on groomed snow will be a welcome change from trail breaking.  Pass the word to your friends and get them out on the tracks with us.

MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL

    Please renew your membership for the 2021-2022 season.  For only $20 you receive access to all the inside club news, and the satisfaction of supporting our efforts to promote and improve cross-country skiing for everyone.  You can download a renewal form at https://oncwillamette.org/membership.  Join us for a great season on the snow.

WEEKEND DAY TOURS   

    Under current COVID-19 safety guidelines it is possible to resume the club’s scheduled ski tours.  However, individual members should assess their risk carefully before deciding whether to ski with a group.  We are responsible for our own safety.  No one should participate in a club tour if they have symptoms that might indicate Coronavirus infection.  The Willamette Chapter will require everyone to be vaccinated to participate in club tours.  Tour leaders may require proof of vaccination.  Carpooling to the trailhead is an individual choice.  Those who carpool should wear a face covering as a precaution.  Tourers should maintain 6’ social distance at all times and wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible.

    Guests are welcome on Willamette Chapter day tours.  Please contact the tour leader for details and to ensure the tour matches your interests and skill level.

    We need more tour leaders for weekend tours; please step up and lead a tour to your favorite destination.  If you wish to lead a tour, suggest a tour destination or learn more about tour leading, contact Jim Todd (503x378x7003).  The tour schedule is sparse at present due to Holidays and uncertainties about early season snow conditions; more tours will be added as the season progresses.  Remember, impromptu tours are always an option.  If you yearn for a day on skis phone Jim or a skier on the roster emailed last month.  Connect with your fellow Club members and get out when it snows.

January 8, Saturday:  Beginner/A Tour, an easy road ski or perhaps the groomed tracks at Hoodoo.  Contact Jim Todd (503x378x7003).

January 15, Saturday:  A Tour, Santiam Pass or Maxwell SnoPark, depending on snow conditions.  Contact Craig Wojcik (503x931x2705‬).

January 15 or 16, Saturday or Sunday:  B Tour, date and location depending on weather conditions and group interest.  Contact Bob Young (503x621x6626‬).

January 22, Saturday:  B Tour, the Ray Benson/Little Nash traverse.  Contact Jim Todd 

(503x378x7003).  

January 23, Saturday:  A Tour, Santiam Pass area, depending on snow conditions.  Contact John Hortsch (503x507x5727).

January 29, Saturday:  A or B Tour, Ski School at Hoodoo.  See details later in this Newsletter.

January 30, Sunday:  A Tour, Santiam Pass area, depending on snow conditions.  Contact John Hortsch (503x507x5727).

February 5, Saturday:  A Tour, an easy road ski or a return to Hoodoo’s groomed tracks.  Contact Jim Todd (503x378x7003).  

February 5 or 6, Saturday or Sunday:  B Tour, date and location depending on weather conditions and group interest.  Contact Bob Young (503x621x6626‬).

March 19, Saturday:  A or B Tour, John Craig Memorial Ski Event at McKenzie Pass.  Tour or race from the Sisters snowgate on Hwy 242 to Dee Wright Observatory and back; the route should be groomed.  Check February and March Newsletters and watch the website for details.

Tour Ratings: A key to the Tour Rating codes: 

    “Beginner” = Easy, short distances on flat or gentle slopes; appropriate for first time skiers.

    
“A” = Easy, distances up to 5 or 6 miles with a few slopes; basic skills are required; some of these may not be suitable for 1st time skiers. 

    “B” = Intermediate or experienced; distances of 6 to 12 miles or possible elevation gains of 2000 feet; may include steeper sections; some downhill skills are required. 

    “C” = Advanced, longer with greater elevation gains; includes both trails and off-trail with frequent steep terrain.

    “D” = Expert, very difficult or long; possible backcountry travel and/or ski mountaineering. 

WEEK DAY SKI TOURS

    Why not break the shackles that bind you to the calendar this season?  Try a mid-week tour.  Contact one of the enthusiasts below and arrange an escape from routine.  If you want to be added to this list, send your phone and email to Jim Todd, and we’ll include it in the next Newsletter.   Likewise, contact Jim, if you want your name removed for this season.

Weekday skiers:

    Chuck Daellenbach    541x928x4256    daellenbachc at comcast dot net

Frank Hoffman    541x475x0185    hh_tex at msn dot com

    Bianca Klar        503x949x9089    bianchiklar at yahoo dot com

    Mark Olson        503x559x0728    mark at olson dot us

    Foxie Proctor        503x581x0207    foxieproctor at comcast dot net

    Denise Sanders    503x859x4597    oncwillaweb at gmail dot com

    Jeff Starr        503x851x8403    jeffstarr3 at gmail dot com

    Jim Todd        503x378x7003    toddwac18 at gmail dot com

    Craig Wojcik        503x931x2705‬    ccwojcik09 at comcast dot net

    Pam Wojcik        503x362x3439    pjwojcik09 at comcast dot net

    Bob Young        503x621x6626    arch.byoung at gmail dot com

TOUR REPORTS 

December 14, Tuesday:      by Frank Hoffman.

    I skied from the 801 road to North Blowout Shelter. Blue sky, not much breeze. No broken trail, so I was moving pretty slowly—2-1/2 hr to the shelter, 1-1/2 back in my tracks.  I was sinking in a foot or more and backsliding on the new snow, so I attached skins, which helped. No need for them on the way back in my tracks. Fortunately, the pond was traversable. I didn’t see anyone else.

12/14/21:                photo by Frank Hoffman

December 17, Friday:      by Jim Todd

    Bill, Craig and I headed up Hwy 22 hoping to ski at lower elevation to avoid trial breaking at the pass.  Unfortunately, the first place we could park was Big Springs SnoPark with 2’ of fresh snow.  It was a slog in heavy, wet snow; but good exercise and the trees were beautiful.

12/17/21:                                photo by Jim Todd

January 1, Saturday:              by Frank Hoffman

    I skied the Little Nash and Nash/Potato trails New Years Day. Clear and cold, though it seemed snow had consolidated some since my trip to the pass a couple of weeks ago. I used skins, which helped on some of the climbs; my travel took me about 5-3/4 miles RT with 570’ gain. Trails were quite clear with the brushing/signing we did in mid-Nov. I saw one other skier when I reached the west end of FS 892, then a couple of snow shoe groups almost back to the snopark. Molly and her son Craig invited me to sit with them at the fire they’d built in the snopark near my car. It was an interesting, if unexpected, ending to my trip. Molly said she and her family had planned to snowmobile out of Ray Benson, but all parking was filled and the loop was gridlocked—police were there trying to sort it out. On my way back I noticed Potato Hill snopark was full with about 30 cars.

1/01/2022:                            photo by Frank Hoffman

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES:

    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 Deschutes and Willamette National Forests do 
essential work keeping our ski trails open, marked and 
signed through the winter; but they are desperately short
 of winter recreation staff. We can help them 
use their limited resources efficiently by sending a Trail Report whenever we ski the marked trails. “Cascade Volunteers” records volunteer activity
 and reports directly to Forest Service offices.
You can access their Trail Report form at:  https://cascadevols.org/usfs-work-report/.  (Note:  the form requires a trail number, but our ski trails are not numbered; just enter any number in the “Trail Number” field, then describe the trail in the “Trail Name” field).  You can also report your observations by sending an email to Jim Todd:  toddwac18 at gmail dot com.

SKI SCHOOL

CROSS COUNTRY SKI RACING

    The Winter Olympics will be held next month in Beijing and our sport will briefly appear in the spotlight.  The usual powerhouses (Norway Sweden, Finland and Russia) are likely to dominate, but the US women’s XC team has a reasonable chance of bringing Olympic medals home.  In World Cup competition this season Jessie Diggins (gold medalist at the 2018 Olympics) has two golds (10K Freestyle and Sprint) and three silvers (10K Freestyle, Sprint & Team Sprint); Rosie Brennan has a bronze (10K Freestyle); Julia Kern has a silver (Team Sprint with Diggins); and the Relay Team of Diggins, Brennan, Kern and Hailey Swirbul placed 4th—just missing a bronze.  For information on Olympic and World Cup cross country skiing visit https://olympics.com/en/beijing-2022/ and https://www.fis-ski.com/cross-country/

SNO-PARK PERMITS

           The Willamette Chapter will not sell Sno Park permits in the absence of our regular monthly meetings.  Sno Park permits may be purchased online at the Oregon DMV: https://dmv2u.oregon.gov/eServices/_/.  Annual permits purchased directly from DMV cost $25—no handling fee.  The process takes only a few minutes and includes a downloadable copy you can print and use immediately while waiting for your permit to arrive in the mail.  Buy a permit and support Sno Park plowing.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
    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 Bob, Jim or Denise for inclusion in the Newsletter. Another good place for these items is on the website, ONCWillamette.org

    1.  Jeff Starr (503x581x8403) has a pair of Garmont Excursion 3-pin boots for sale.  They are Euro size 26.5, in good condition, for $40. 

2020-2021 OFFICERS & 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

Trip Reports

From Kim Jones:

I had a great day up at Marys Peak. Bit of a death march as it was 13 miles round trip for relatively few turns. I parked at the first high spot on the road about MilePost 3.5 in about 12 – 18” of snow. I skinned up to Conner Camp at MP5.5 but the East Ridge trail was blocked by fallen trees. Another day when I drive to there I will try it again but it was tough to tell if there was enough snow to ski it as there was less snow under the trees. So I continued skinning up the road to the main parking lot at MP 9.5. From there it is 1/2 mile to the summit. No wind to speak of but drifting overcast as you can see in the photos. Two other folks had skied to the top. There was a good 3 feet of light dry snow with some drifting. Gorgeous day. Nice ski back to the road below the parking lot and then a fun run down the road to 1/2 mile from my truck. Then boot tracked up the incline back to my truck.
I could have put chains on and driven up further but I only saw 4 trucks coming down the road and they had chewed up the road pretty badly. Some trees had come down and some were bent over, so being by myself and no chain saw, decided to ski from lower down. More folks drove up later in the day.
The only real downside to Mary Peak is that the road is not plowed (for the past 20 years) and a lot of knuckleheads drive up the road and get stuck blocking the road. Being parked low down helped a bit. But the road is drivable to the summit parking lot with a high clearance rig and chains (see pic). Best option is to go up early and hope for the best on the way down. It is likely best just to head up to Santiam Pass, but Marys Peak can be beautiful under rare conditions, like this week when it is cold and the snow deep.

Mary’s Peak
Mary’s Peak
Hoodoo

Hoodoo

Trip Report

From Bob Young:
Too much of a good thing? Well, maybe. With clear skies on Tuesday a number of people were getting out to get on the anxiously awaited snow. Those who sought XC had to work hard to set deep tracks but the snow was cold, slick, and soft. Bianca Klar, Howard Simon, and I took advantage of Hoodoo not being open yet and did some climb and tele. Groomers were packing many of the main runs which helped with the climbing and there were plenty of untracked slopes for nice downhill runs. Howard and Bianca climbed to the top twice. I stuck to some lower runs but still got plenty of workout for a first day on the snow.
Let’s all get out there soon and take advantage of scheduled tours. With a number of trail breakers we can get to some great destinations.

Newsletter, November 2021

WILLAMETTE CHAPTER – OREGON NORDIC CLUB
P. O. Box 181
Salem, OR 97308

oncwillamette.org

    Welcome to the 2021-2022 ski season.  La Nina conditions have formed in the Pacific, our long term forecast calls for a cooler, wetter winter and Santiam Pass received a couple of light snowfalls.  We can hope for plenty of good skiing this year.  Here are some preseason remarks from our Treasurer (and backcountry guru), Bob Young

Thank you members

    I know it has been another trying year for all of us with normal routines interrupted, but ski season is just around the corner and it’s time again to renew your ONC Willamette Chapter membership.  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 have again decided to suspend for this year due to COVID protocols.  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.  We are going to work on setting up online membership payments but such technology is beyond my skill base so I’ll be relying on our webmaster.  If all your member info is the same, all I need is your name and signature on the form and I won’t have to check all the rest.  [a membership form can be downloaded or printed at https://oncwillamette.org/membership]

    Also, because we are not having regular meetings, we will not be selling sno-park permits.  Fortunately, ODOT has made online purchase very simple.  You can print out a temporary pass and they mail you the real thing within days.  Since I was hoping for the snow to continue to build this week, I already got my pass.  Imagine my disappointment with all this moisture coming with warmer weather.

    Thanks also to all our volunteers who have helped with trail work and firewood stocking at the shelters.  We had everything in pretty good shape but already getting reports of more trees coming down across the trails.  Keep us posted on what you see.  The Detroit district has not officially opened their shelters but is not locking them off and we have Mountain View and the South Loop shelter stocked with wood.

    So, get your skis prepped and your bodies conditioned and let’s get out there.  We can do this safely and conscientiously.  Our tour master will have more to say on all of this, but I for one am looking forward to seeing you on the trails (and off, of course).

    Bob Young, treasurer 

[STILL] SKIING IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

    We had hoped rapid development and deployment of vaccines would end the Coronavirus pandemic and shift us back to normal skiing and club activities this season.  Sadly, high rates of infection and hospitalization continue due to slow progress towards full vaccination and the highly transmissable Delta variant.  Fortunately, restrictions have been eased as more and more people are vaccinated.  Our club will resume some of our normal activities, but will continue our compliance with guidelines and restrictions placed by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA),  We strongly urge individual members to do the same.  The OHA website is: https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19.  Check this site for current news and links to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other sources of reliable information.     

    We realize that individuals face different levels of risk from COVID-19 based on age, health, employment, family associations, vaccination and other factors.  We urge members to consider their risks carefully before deciding whether (and how) to ski this season.  If anyone chooses to forego skiing as a precaution, we respect that decision.  But even if you are not skiing, we hope you will remain connected with our club to keep in touch with other members and stay abreast of skiing news.  A club roster in attached with this Newsletter so you can contact other members.  We also urge you to check the club’s website regularly for the latest information.  Please feel free to contact Board members by email or phone with your comments and suggestions.

    Here are the Willamette Chapter’s plans for this ski season:

    The club will continue volunteer activities to improve and maintain ski trails and shelters; volunteer work is done under Forest Service guidelines designed to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection.

    Although current Oregon guidelines permit indoor meetings, there are restrictions.  Our club decided to forego meetings again this season and focus on our on-snow activities.     

    Overnight trips will be left to the discretion of individual members; but should follow all COVID-19 precautions.

    The Willamette Chapter will resume schedule tours this season and will help skiers connect with each other to plan their own tours.  

    We hope to revive our Ski School this winter; more about this in the December Newsletter.

    Ski tours (and volunteer projects) require the following precautions:

    1.  Skiers who feel ill, have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, sudden loss of smell or taste), receive a positive test for COVID-19 or have had recent contact with someone with a positive test; will stay home and avoid contact with others.   

    2.  Skiers may choose to carpool or drive separately to trailheads; masks should be worn if carpooling and proof of vaccination may be required.

    3.  Skiers will maintain a social distance of 6’ (or more) at all times, in parking lots, on trails and during lunch stops and rest breaks.  

    4.  Masks covering nose and mouth will be worn whenever social distancing cannot be maintained. 

    Skiing can be done with these COVID-19 precautions, though no set of precautions guarantees absolute safety.  If you have assessed your risks of COVID-19, are comfortable with the known risks and are willing to adopt and maintain these precautions, our club is ready to help you ski this winter.  For everyone’s sake, please take this pandemic seriously. Use these recommended precautions for your safety and the safety of other people.  Let’s all stay safe and enjoy the winter.

TOUR REPORT (from last spring):

    June 5, Saturday:  we kept skiing as long as there was snow!  Seven skiers turned out for the nearly annual Tam McArthur Rim tour.   There were  spectacular views as always; but the snow and weather were “suboptimal”.  The  pack had melted out to bare ground in numerous places requiring many detours and hikes, the surface was deeply pocked and rippled which added to the challenge,  and there was a howling wind.  Perhaps the worse Tam tour in ten trips.  But the worst Tam tour is still very good.  Next year can only be better and we hope you will join us.

6/5/21:  Broken Top from Tam McArthur Rim                photo by Jim Todd

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES:

    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).

 This summer and fall eighteen club members logged over 500 volunteer hours on Willamette and Deschutes National Forest projects.  We scouted trails for later clearing; logged, brushed and marked ski trails; and stocked firewood at five shelters.  Special thanks to Mark Olson and Dave Carter for bringing their splitters to our wood stocking parties, to Mt. Jefferson Snowmobile Club for collecting and bucking logs for stocking Santiam Pass shelters, to Jessie and Ashley of Deschutes NF and Eric and Brandon of Willamette NF for bringing  trucks and hauling wood to the shelters.  Photos are attached below.  

7/24/21:  Brushing the South Loop Ski Trail                    photo by Jim Todd

9/25/21:  Placing blue diamonds on Brandenburg Loop        photo by Aaron Bremiller

10/02/21:  Stocking firewood at North Blowout Shelter        photo by Frank Hoffma

10/16/21:  splitting firewood for Mt. View Shelter            photo by Frank Hoffman

SNO-PARK PERMITS

           As Bob noted above, the Willamette Chapter will not sell Sno Park permits in the absence of our regular monthly meetings.  Sno Park permits may be purchased online at the Oregon DMV: https://dmv2u.oregon.gov/eServices/_/.  Annual permits purchased directly from DMV cost $25—no handling fee.  The process takes only a few minutes and includes a downloadable copy you can print and use immediately while waiting for your permit to arrive in the mail.  Buy a permit and support Sno Park plowing.  Bob and I already have ours!

ANNOUNCEMENTS
    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 Bob, Jim or Denise for inclusion in the Newsletter. Another good place for these items is on the website, ONCWillamette.org

    1.  Bob and Jim have their skis waxed and standing by the door.  If you are ready to go, too; then when the first real snow happens, phone Bob (503x 621×6626) for a B Tour or Jim (503x378x7003) for a Beginner/A Tour. 

    2.  Jeff Starr has pair of Garmont Excursion 3-pin boots for sale.  They are Euro size 26.5, in good condition, for $40. 

Tour Ratings: A key to the Tour Rating codes: 

    “Beginner” = Easy, short distances on flat or gentle slopes; appropriate for first time skiers.

    
“A” = Easy, distances up to 5 or 6 miles with a few slopes; basic skills are required; some of these may not be suitable for 1st time skiers. 

    “B” = Intermediate or experienced; distances of 6 to 12 miles or possible elevation gains of 2000 feet; may include steeper sections; some downhill skills are required. 

    “C” = Advanced, longer with greater elevation gains; includes both trails and off-trail with frequent steep terrain.

    “D” = Expert, very difficult or long; possible backcountry travel and/or ski mountaineering. 

2020-2021 OFFICERS & 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

Tour Report – Tuesday, May 4th

It’s not over yet! Tuesday, May 4th Howard Simon and I (Bianca Klar) skied towards North ridge of Mt. Washington. We took a chance on possibly facing some ugly conditions, but knowing that there is still plenty of snow left.

Day started out cool and drizzly but not below freezing, thus keeping the snow in good condition. We started out via South trail from Ray Benson snow park. There was some debris on the trail but we managed to even have a glide. Only a couple of barren patches that we easily skied around. Before we reached Brandenburg shelter, on the right side, facing Mt. Washington we found and a wide opening in the trees that gave us a good view of the terrain we needed to cross in order to reach the North side of the Washington ridge.

It was like a gate, (picture of it included). We basically took a bee line for the ridge, crossing old burned forest, climbing over gentle ridges, and going around some ravines between those ridges.

The crux was when we reached the last band of unburned forest. Now we were above 5500 ft. crossing some frozen steep patches with lots of debris on the snow. As we were exploring the terrain and looking for a best way through, we saw that there were more leveled sections way below us and way above us. Naturally we were between them:-).

It didn’t last too long and we came out on a beautiful open face with clean, soft snow right below the saddle for which we were heading. We zig-zagged our way up to the ridge at 6360 ft. and took a well earned break with glorious views.

Going down was fun! It took us 6.75 miles to get to it and on the way back we took a bit shorter route. Total 12.6 miles and 2199 ft. elevation gain with all our ups and downs.

Photos and report by Bianca Klar

…Tour ReportMay 2, Sunday:

by Jim Todd photos
by Dayna Svendsen

…a little misty rain, some sleet, a dusting of snow and plenty of afternoon sunshine. It was all good. We had intended a last foray north of Santiam Pass, but the rapid melt left too many bare patches and lodgepole tangles for pleasant skiing on south facing slopes leading up to Three Fingered Jack.

Instead we parked at Hoodoo and pinned our hopes on the plateau west of the downhill runs. After a steep climb we found, once again, a hidden stash of skiable snow that holds later than most surrounding terrain. Even better, we discovered the Big Hoodoo thinning project has opened it up for rambles in all directions (CHECK IT OUT NEXT SEASON!). We wandered southwards around Hoodoo, yo-yo’d down and back up in a few places, enjoyed the views and cruised Hoodoo’s Skyline XC trail and Over Easy downhill run back to the lodge. Bob, Dayna, Fiona and I a fine day of spring skiing.

by Jim Todd , photos by Dayna Svendsen

Tour Report

By Jim Todd

April 20, Tuesday: Jessica Larson, Trails Volunteer Coordinator for Deschutes NF, joined me at 0900 for a survey of Ray Benson Ski Trails. Santiam Pass still has 3-5′ of snow, but high temperatures and our freeze/thaw cycle have taken a toll. Tree wells are deepening and adding a challenge in some places. The North Loop was a bit icy at first and rutted by steady use, so we headed off trail onto smoother snow until we reached the PCT trail junction. By this time the snow had softened and trail skiing was easier, but ruts from heavy usage were still unpleasant.

Throughout the day we veered off trail into smoother, untracked snow whenever possible. We followed the North Loop to North Blowout Shelter and then took Circle Lake to Island Junction Shelter. Both shelters still have some firewood, but it was more comfortable to sit outside and enjoy lunch in the sun. We continued on Circle Lake to the junction with South Loop and Two Buttes, then zigzagged back to Ray Benson via Two Buttes, Claypool Buttes and finally the South Loop.

The trails would be pleasant skiing again with a little fresh snow, but right now skiing is better off trail in the Big Hoodoo thinning area that stretches from Ray Benson to the Santiam Wagon Rd. between Big Lake Rd. and the PCT. Enjoy some spring skiing while the snow lasts.

Trip Report

By Bianca Klar

On April 18th, beautiful Sunday, the 5 of us decided to take advantage of a still solid snow pack in the mountains. We (Bob Y, Fiona C, Dayna S, Howard S, and Bianca K,) proceeded on a three lake tour; Summit, Martin, and Booth lake loop. When we started at 9:20 am from Santiam snow park the temp was already slightly above freezing. As the snow was beginning to soften up we had a decent grip ascending via Skyline trail to the ledge at the West side of the crater. By the time we got to the top of PCT, snow was soft but not sticky. After enjoying beautiful views we tackled the hardest part of the trip, finding a survivable way to Summit lake. It was not for the faint of heart, to put it lightly, and we managed:-). The snow melt seems to be more consequential on a steep slopes, making them steeper. There was lots of debris in the trees and the tree wells were deep.

Emoji

Once we descended to the Summit lake we enjoyed well earned lunch and the downhill reprieve. We could see turquoise water under the snow on Martin lake and Booth lake. We linger around unnamed, lovely turquoise lake partially melted and took our time going back with many beautiful views of the Cascades jewels.