Trip Report: A Zoo at the Santiam Pass

As some others will likely report, parking at Santiam pass has become a nightmare on the weekends at least. Hoodoo was full by 9:00 and had traffic backed up to below Hogg Rock. No place to park at Santiam Snopark and Potato Hill parking was the same so Dayna, Bianca, and I ended up at Little Nash snopark and skied some unfamiliar area. The snow at that elevation was not great but the track that was set, and well separated from snowshoers, had great glide.

My intent was to ski up to the Hash Brown Loop via the Nash Potato trail but the cutoff sign for the connections was totally engulfed in a small tree with no noticeable tracks and the road 725 continues straight ahead, which we did. Ended up skiing up the snowmobile road for a thousand feet elevation gain and got into some really nice snow up there. Skiing in those areas that have been thinned for fire control is really beautiful. We found a sunny spot with a nice view of Jack and Potato Hill for a lunch break. We did 8.7 miles, got in a good climb, exhilarating downhill, and great diagonal stride on the final leg back. It was a good day despite the change in plan.

Bob Young

ONC Willamette Chapter Newsletter January 2021

Willamette Chapter–Oregon Nordic Club

P.O. Box 181

Salem, OR 97308

MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL

Willamette Chapter activities have been curtailed by COVID-19, but please renew your membership for the 2020-2021 season.  For only $20 you receive access to all the inside club news and support our efforts to 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 renewal form at oncwillamette.org/membership. 

 

SKI SCHOOL

The Willamette Chapter’s Ski School will be another casualty of the Coronavirus pandemic.  We have cancelled our group lessons and mentoring program for 2021, but hope to resume them in 2022.  Beginners and members interested in improving their skills may still find lessons taught by certified Nordic instructors at local ski areas.  For self-instruction please access the books and videos on our website and practice technique in a controlled setting. If you have questions about technique or equipment, please contact experienced club members.  We would be happy to help.

 

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.  

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 (503559-0728) or Jim Todd (503-378-7003) for more information or to sign up for one of our projects. 

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 SnoPark conditions and we will forward the information to the appropriate Forest Service office.

 

VOLUNTEER REPORT

December 29, Tuesday:  Jeff, Jim and Mark assisted the Salamanders volunteers with ski trail clearing and placement of blue diamonds at Maxwell SnoPark.  Diamonds were placed between junctions 5 & 16 and between 21, 24 & 18.  An overgrown section between junctions 9 & 24 was cleared with hand tools and a power pole pruner.  To download a trail map with junction numbers: go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/willamette/recreation/wintersports/recarea/?recid=4671&actid=91, an incomprehensible area map; but fear not, just click the back button on your Browser to open the full Maxwell Sno-Park page; then, near the top of the page, click on Map of Maxwell Sno-Park Area (pdf) to download the map.

 

 

SKI TOUR REPORT

January 5, Tuesday:  our first ski of the New Year.  Chuck and Jim did an exploratory tour off the Mt. View Loop trail at Maxwell SnoPark.  To shorten the distance we parked at Big Meadows Rd. on Hwy 22.  After skiing the Big Meadows Rd. for a mile (4WD ruts with a dusting of fresh snow) we branched off to the south on the marked route to Mt. View Shelter; then headed east on old logging tracks.  With a little GPS and compass work we located a frozen pond for our lunch stop, then bushwhacked to the Shortcut trail near junction 19 and followed Big Meadows Rd. back the Hwy 22.  The snow was good, the weather mild, and theroute…interesting.

Cautionary Notes:  

1.  In the morning we pulled off the Hwy at Big Meadows Rd. onto a 12” layer of frozen snow and parked easily.  But by afternoon the snow had softened and our tires spun their way down towards the pavement.  We had to dig our way out to the Hwy.  Be wary and carry a shovel.

2.  The 40 mph speed limit on Hwy 22 is being enforced.  Slow down—stay safe and unticketed.

Skyline Trail and attempt at Joy Lake 12/12/20

By Dayna Svendsen

Bianca, Fiona, Bob, Jerry, Jim and I met at Santiam Sno-Park for a Saturday ski. It was quite cold and foggy. This, paired with the burned out forest created a bit of an eerie feel at times, though it was quite beautiful. We toured up the Skyline Trail in search of Joy Lake, though the fog was prohibitive. Bob and Bianca led Fiona and I to their “playground” on the way down. We trekked up the slope and back down a few times, which was quite fun. The sun even came out to greet us for a few moments. Overall, it was a great day of skiing. Joy Lake eluded us, but we will have to seek her out on a sunnier day.

Trip Report

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.

.Ruts

Hoodoo is open

According to the Hoodoo website – check out their page for more information.

Chuck’s Page

Revised December 2020 Nordic Club Newsletter

Skiing in the Time of Covid-19

            The Coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of our lives in nearly every way.  But with winter approaching, we can be sure that if snow falls there could be skiing.  The Oregon Nordic Club remains dedicated to skiers and cross-country skiing.  However, our activities will be changed by COVID-19.  The Willamette Chapter’s board has developed the plan below for the 2020-2021 season. 

            First, we acknowledge that COVID-19 is a serious threat to health and safety.  Our club will comply with guidelines and restrictions placed by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and 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.

            Second, we realize that individuals face different levels of risk from COVID-19 based on age, health, employment, family associations 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.         

            Please feel free to contact Board members by email or phone with your comments and suggestions.

            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.

            Regular monthly meetings will not be held this season due to the increased risk of COVID-19 infection in indoor settings.

            Overnight trips are suspended because of difficulties arranging travel and lodging in ways that minimize COVID-19 risk.

           The Willamette Chapter will not schedule tours this season, but will help skiers connect with each other and plan their own tours, if they wish to ski. 

            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 will drive to trailheads separately; only immediate family or household members may carpool.

            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. Skiers will wear face coverings at all times per latest statewide mandates ( https://govstatus.egove.com/or-covid-19 ).

          5.  Skiers will carry hand sanitizer and use it.

            6.  Skiers will bring all necessary clothing, equipment, water, food, etc. and will not share these items—except in emergencies.

         Skiing can be done with these COVID-19 precautions, although no set of precautions guarantees 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, please take the pandemic seriously. Adopt recommended precautions for your sake and the sake of others.  Let’s stay safe and hope for an effective vaccine and better skiing next year.

Featured Ski Report

            After a week of anticipation and careful observation of what the storm was doing in the cascades, we scored a golden and rare opportunity to ski on a bluebird day and on fluffy snow!  Bob Young and I ventured out to Hoodoo where we thought the snow would be the deepest, with our light weight back-country gear.  There was a solid 18-20 inch base, and we were sinking about 6 inches in fresh snow.  Up higher we were sinking 8 inches.  Given that we were at Hoodoo and some of the runs and roads were groomed we chose to preserve energy by climbing up on groomed stuff, and running down in deep fluffy snow.  So we climbed laps that gave us good exercise, and on the blissful downhills we refreshed our memory on how to do tele turns.  About 5.5 miles of it and 1970 foot elevation gain.  Not bad for the first day.  There were about 20 AT skiers doing the same thing and looking stoked.  And I saw a pair of cross country skiers.  Hoodoo staff was preparing the facility for operations.  The temperature reached 35 Fahrenheit which with a light breeze was very comfortable.  We were reminded how quickly the temperature drops when the sun lowers.  The snow started freezing quickly on our last climb in the shade and so did our lips and hands.              –Bianca Klar —

What’s Open – Santiam Fires and Covid 19

            September was a wildfire disaster in Oregon and the Santiam Canyon along Hwy 22 was especially hard hit.  Large stretches of forest were destroyed and all the communities from Mehama to Idanha sustained damage.  Hwy 22 has reopened, but fire cleanup is still in progress and there is a 40 mph speed limit from Gates to Pamelia Creek.  Drive with caution if you travel Hwy 22 and be aware that there is no longer a gas station between Mill City and Sisters.

            Sections of the Willamette NF are currently closed to the public.  To find what is open, please check the websites of the Willamette National Forest and Deschutes National Forest.  Closure information can be found at:  https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/willamette/alerts-notices/?aid=61574. For a detailed description including a great map for Willamette National Forest, see https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd832171.pdf.

            In the Maxwell Sno-Park area, the Forest Service has temporarily closed the Mountain View and South Maxwell Snow Shelters to help contain the spread of the Covid 19 virus in accord with CDC guidelines and local authority recommendations.  Because of the closures, no firewood will be stocked in these shelters for the 2020-21 winter recreation season.

The Willamette Chapter of the Oregon Nordic Club Website

          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.  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, please contact Bob Young or Genice Rabe.

The website address is ONCWillamette.org. 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.”

2020-2021 Officers and Board Members

            Available                                 President

            Jeanne Miller                           Vice President  

            Bob Young                             Treasurer and 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 MemberWinter Driving Safety

            A further consequence of COVID-19 could be increased highway traffic due to reduced carpooling.  More inexperienced drivers could be traveling on our snowy roads.  This situation raises the importance of being well prepared for winter driving and exercising caution when traveling to mountain trailheads.  Below are some resources for safe winter driving that we should all review: 
            ODOT Traffic Safety Director, Nicole Charlson, has kindly given us a copy of their Winter Driving PowerPoint, ODOT_Winter_Driving2020web.pptx.  It’s well worth reviewing. 
            ODOT also provides a wealth of information on safe winter driving through their websites.  The Winter Driving Guide ( PDF), 
https://www.oregon.gov/odot/Documents/winter-driving-guide.pdf, covers basic winter safety; the Winter Driving Tips, website https://www.oregon.gov/odot/pages/winter-driving.aspx, has everything from how to drive under varying conditions (rain, snow, ice) to videos on installing chains and links to road reports from Oregon and surrounding states; and finally, TripCheck.com should be consulted for road reports, pass cameras and weather forecasts before every drive to the mountains. 
            Below are additional Cascade ski specific thoughts from our club members: 
            Always have Chains or Winter Traction tires when heading to the mountains.  Both improve traction on snow and ice and each has advantages and disadvantages.  Chains are cheaper, but there is the inconvenience of installing and removing them.  If you use chains, be sure they fit properly; practice putting them on at home; carry a pad to kneel on when installing them; drive 100’ and retighten before heading back on the road.  A disadvantage to chains is the tendency to try getting by without the nuisance of putting them on; this can lead to driving on hazardous surfaces with inadequate traction.  Two important precautions for using chains: put them on before you think you need them and don’t drive faster than 30 mph with chains (more on this later).  
            Winter tires are more expensive than chains, but give the peace of mind of always having enhanced traction on snow and ice.  Most club members who drive to the mountains frequently use winter tires for convenience—even though chains worked well for them in the past.  However, this “peace of mind” offered by winter tires can lull drivers into a false sense of security.  Winter tires stop a car much better than all season tires on snow and ice, but stopping distance is still greater than on dry pavement.  Also, winter tires will not prevent a dangerous slide if driven too fast for the road conditions; and winter tires will not stop a car as quickly as all season tires on dry or wet pavement.  Be aware that in especially hazardous conditions ODOT will require chains on all tires.  Even if you have winter tires you should carry chains, just in case.  
            Slowing down is the most important winter safety practice regardless of your tires.  The 30 mph rule for chains (to keep from breaking chains and damaging your vehicle) is actually an advantage because it forces drivers down to a speed that minimizes the risk of a slide and also the consequences if one occurs.  This may seem agonizingly slow, but consider: it’s about 15 miles from the chain up area on Hwy 22 to Santiam Pass.  This will take 30 min. at 30 mph.  A driver with snow tires at 60 mph would save only 15 min. and at 45 mph only 10 min.  But if chains are required it would be crazy to drive 60 mph and probably unwise to drive 45.  Better to put on chains, slow down and enjoy the journey.  Even if using winter tires, slow down.  If you have to pull over to let a string of cars go by, you are probably driving the right speed.  Stay safe. 

Volunteer Opportunities 

            The Willamette Chapter has an active volunteer program assisting the Forest Service with ski trail clearing and marking; shelter maintenance; and firewood stocking.  Thank you volunteers!  All volunteer activities on National Forests were halted during the early stages of the Coronavirus Pandemic, but volunteer projects have resumed with COVID-19 precautions in place.  For volunteer projects on the Willamette National Forest it is now necessary for volunteers to register individually through Cascade Volunteers at http://cascadevols.org/index.php/volunteer/.  You can call Mark Olson (503x559x0728) or Jim Todd (503x378x7003) for more information about our club’s volunteer  program. 

            The Forest Service has requested that Willamette Chapter skiers report conditions encountered on winter trails to assist them in deploying their limited staff efficiently.  Any information (trail marking, downed trees, parking problems) would be appreciated.  Reports can be submitted through Cascade Volunteers at https://cascadevols.org/index.php/2020-phase-1-report/  or by phoning or emailing your observations to Jim Todd. 

          Volunteer Project:  Willamette Chapter volunteers will ski Forest Service trails and place extra blue diamonds this inter.  Contact Jim Todd if you wish to assist with these “working” tours.

November and Early December Ski  Reports

         November 21, Saturday:  Any ski before Thanksgiving is a treat.  This season we already have two feet of snow at Santiam Pass—well above normal.  Four club members got out on this mild, sunny day for an early ski.  Rocks were well covered along the South Loop as we cruised down to Brandenburg shelter.  Views were great and trails were deserted until afternoon as we were returning to Ray Benson SnoPark.  We put on masks for the final quarter mile—just in case.  

            November 29, Sunday:  Bianca lead the first backcountry ski of the season north of Santiam Pass.  Weather was mild and sunny, snow was deep enough to cover downed logs and firm enough on top for easy skiing.  Five of us climbed over the Cascade divide and continued northeast to the Heavens viewpoint; then had a great downhill run back to Santiam SnoPark.  It doesn’t get much better.    – Jim Todd –

             December 2, Wednesday, Fay Lake ski: With winds forecast for the pass I decided to stay in the trees and catch some snow before the upcoming sunny days create crusty conditions.  It’s been years since I’ve skied to Fay Lake and pulling off at Big Meadow Road was available.  Recent 4-wheel traffic left a smooth center area that had just a skiff of new snow making it like a groomed track up to the Fay Lake junctions.  From there, foot traffic continued from the Maxwell side for about a half mile.  Two small downed trees were covered with snow and one larger one, part way down, stretched halfway across the road.  Most of the snow condition was perfect for game tracks. The only challenge was the icy snow shed under trees which became more frequent as I progressed.  A quarter mile from the lake road 405 forks to the left and was so open and inviting that I went that direction for about a mile, setting about 2” deep track, until I hit sunny patches that were very sticky.  Caught just a glimpse of the top of Turpentine, where Jim Todd and I hiked to the peak earlier this year, and then turned back.  Classic stride and glide back to the junction of 2257.  That last quarter mile up to the lake was, ummm, not fun.  A bit steeper and icy under the full tree canopy but the effort rewarded me with a sunny warm rock and great view of the lake for lunch.  The return trip is mostly gentle downhill.  The last mile was perfect for practicing long stride with full pole extensions behind.  Total of about 8 miles, calm and cool air, great day of exercise.     –Bob Young — 

Announcements

            The  Newsletter now includes an Announcement Section.  There members can post ski related items for sale, cross-country related questions, inquiries about condition and suggestions for ski trips, and, of course, ski reports.  Please send your announcements to Genice Rabe for inclusion in the Newsletter.  Another good place for these items is on the website, ONCWillamette.org.  If you have signed up to follow the website, you will receive all such posts automatically.  See Website portion of this newsletter above.    

          Ski Equipment available:  Cross Country skis – Karhu “wide track,” 5’2” long (160cm), partial metal edges, Fischer bindings (NNN).  In good shape, not heavily used.  Also Swix poles.

            $100 total for skis and poles.  

            Also for free Rossignol boots, about women’s size 8, NNN bindings.  In good shape.

            Call Marcia Hoak, 503x363x1352 and leave a message.

Membership Renewal

            Please renew your membership for the 2020-2021 season.  For only $20 you will receive access to all inside club news and satisfaction of supporting Club efforts to promote and improve cross-country skiing for everyone.  You can renew by downloading a membership form at https://oncwillamette.org or completing and printing and returning the membership form below and your check.   

                                                                            Membership Form 

Nordic Club – Willamette (Salem) Chapter Membership Application / Renewal Form Annual Individual or Family Membership fee is $20.00.

Please make checks payable to Oregon Nordic Club.  Mail to Oregon Nordic Club – Willamette Chapter P.O. Box 181 Salem, OR 97308

Name(s)_____________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Mailing Address: ____________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

City/State/Zip:________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Phone: _______________________________________________________________ (optional)

E-mail address: ______________________________________________________(optional)

I hereby release the Oregon Nordic Club (ONC) from any liability for any injury to myself or my family which may occur while participating in any club activity. I realize that there are risks in the participation of this outdoor sport, and that some risks are unforeseeable. I freely give this release with full knowledge that this is a hazardous activity.

Signature: ______________________________________________

Date:____________________________________________________

(Contact Bob Young for more information)

Willamette Chapter–Oregon Nordic Club

P.O. Box 181

Salem, OR 97308

December 2020 Newsletter

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Oregon Nordic Club
Willamette Chapter
December 2020

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Make Tracks – Invitation to Ski

Skiing in the Time of Covid-19

            The Coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of our lives in nearly every way.  But with winter approaching, we can be sure that if snow falls there could be skiing.  The Oregon Nordic Club remains dedicated to skiers and cross-country skiing.  However, our activities will be changed by COVID-19.  The Willamette Chapter’s board has developed the plan below for the 2020-2021 season. 

            First, we acknowledge that COVID-19 is a serious threat to health and safety.  Our club will comply with guidelines and restrictions placed by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and 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.

            Second, we realize that individuals face different levels of risk from COVID-19 based on age, health, employment, family associations 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.         

            Please feel free to contact Board members by email or phone with your comments and suggestions.

           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.

            Regular monthly meetings will not be held this season due to the increased risk of COVID-19 infection in indoor settings.

            Overnight trips are suspended because of difficulties arranging travel and lodging in ways that minimize COVID-19 risk.

           The Willamette Chapter will not schedule tours this season, but will help skiers connect with each other and plan their own tours, if they wish to ski. 

            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 will drive to trailheads separately; only immediate family or household members may carpool.

            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.  Skiers will carry facemasks and wear masks whenever circumstances force them to be within 6’ of others. 

            5.  Skiers will carry hand sanitizer and use it.

            6.  Skiers will bring all necessary clothing, equipment, water, food, etc. and will not share these items—except in emergencies.

         Skiing can be done with these COVID-19 precautions, although no set of precautions guarantees 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, please take the pandemic seriously. Adopt recommended precautions for your sake and the sake of others.  Let’s stay safe and hope for an effective vaccine and better skiing next year.

Featured Ski Report

            After a week of anticipation and careful observation of what the storm was doing in the cascades, we scored a golden and rare opportunity to ski on a bluebird day and on fluffy snow!  Bob Young and I ventured out to Hoodoo where we thought the snow would be the deepest, with our light weight back-country gear.  There was a solid 18-20 inch base, and we were sinking about 6 inches in fresh snow.  Up higher we were sinking 8 inches.  Given that we were at Hoodoo and some of the runs and roads were groomed we chose to preserve energy by climbing up on groomed stuff, and running down in deep fluffy snow.  So we climbed laps that gave us good exercise, and on the blissful downhills we refreshed our memory on how to do tele turns.  About 5.5 miles of it and 1970 foot elevation gain.  Not bad for the first day.  There were about 20 AT skiers doing the same thing and looking stoked.  And I saw a pair of cross country skiers.  Hoodoo staff was preparing the facility for operations.  The temperature reached 35 Fahrenheit which with a light breeze was very comfortable.  We were reminded how quickly the temperature drops when the sun lowers.  The snow started freezing quickly on our last climb in the shade and so did our lips and hands.              –Bianca Klar —

image.png

What’s Open – Santiam Fires and Covid 19

            September was a wildfire disaster in Oregon and the Santiam Canyon along Hwy 22 was especially hard hit.  Large stretches of forest were destroyed and all the communities from Mehama to Idanha sustained damage.  Hwy 22 has reopened, but fire cleanup is still in progress and there is a 40 mph speed limit from Gates to Pamelia Creek.  Drive with caution if you travel Hwy 22 and be aware that there is no longer a gas station between Mill City and Sisters.

            Sections of the Willamette NF are currently closed to the public.  To find what is open, please check the websites of the Willamette National Forest and Deschutes National Forest.  Closure information can be found at:  https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/willamette/alerts-notices/?aid=61574. For a detailed description including a great map for Willamette National Forest, see https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd832171.pdf.

            In the Maxwell Sno-Park area, the Forest Service has temporarily closed the Mountain View and South Maxwell Snow Shelters to help contain the spread of the Covid 19 virus in accord with CDC guidelines and local authority recommendations.  Because of the closures, no firewood will be stocked in these shelters for the 2020-21 winter recreation season.

The Willamette Chapter of the Oregon Nordic Club Website

          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.  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, please contact Bob Young or Genice Rabe.

            The website address is ONCWillamette.org.  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.”

2020-2021 Officers and Board Members

            Available                                 President

            Jeanne Miller                           Vice President  

            Bob Young                             Treasurer and 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

Winter Driving Safety 

            A further consequence of COVID-19 could be increased highway traffic due to reduced carpooling.  More inexperienced drivers could be traveling on our snowy roads.  This situation raises the importance of being well prepared for winter driving and exercising caution when traveling to mountain trailheads.  Below are some resources for safe winter driving that we should all review: 
            ODOT Traffic Safety Director, Nicole Charlson, has kindly given us a copy of their Winter Driving PowerPoint, ODOT_Winter_Driving2020web.pptx.  It’s well worth reviewing. 
            ODOT also provides a wealth of information on safe winter driving through their websites.  The Winter Driving:  Membership Form – ONCWillamettehttps://www.oregon.gov/odot/Documents/winter-driving-guide.pdf covers basic winter safety; the Winter Driving Tips website https://www.oregon.gov/odot/pages/winter-driving.aspx has everything from how to drive under varying conditions (rain, snow, ice) to videos on installing chains and links to road reports from Oregon and surrounding states; and finally, TripCheck.com should be consulted for road reports, pass cameras and weather forecasts before every drive to the mountains. 
            Below are additional Cascade ski specific thoughts from our club members: 
            Always have Chains or Winter Traction tires when heading to the mountains.  Both improve traction on snow and ice and each has advantages and disadvantages.  Chains are cheaper, but there is the inconvenience of installing and removing them.  If you use chains, be sure they fit properly; practice putting them on at home; carry a pad to kneel on when installing them; drive 100’ and retighten before heading back on the road.  A disadvantage to chains is the tendency to try getting by without the nuisance of putting them on; this can lead to driving on hazardous surfaces with inadequate traction.  Two important precautions for using chains: put them on before you think you need them and don’t drive faster than 30 mph with chains (more on this later).  
            Winter tires are more expensive than chains, but give the peace of mind of always having enhanced traction on snow and ice.  Most club members who drive to the mountains frequently use winter tires for convenience—even though chains worked well for them in the past.  However, this “peace of mind” offered by winter tires can lull drivers into a false sense of security.  Winter tires stop a car much better than all season tires on snow and ice, but stopping distance is still greater than on dry pavement.  Also, winter tires will not prevent a dangerous slide if driven too fast for the road conditions; and winter tires will not stop a car as quickly as all season tires on dry or wet pavement.  Be aware that in especially hazardous conditions ODOT will require chains on all tires.  Even if you have winter tires you should carry chains, just in case.  
            Slowing down is the most important winter safety practice regardless of your tires.  The 30 mph rule for chains (to keep from breaking chains and damaging your vehicle) is actually an advantage because it forces drivers down to a speed that minimizes the risk of a slide and also the consequences if one occurs.  This may seem agonizingly slow, but consider: it’s about 15 miles from the chain up area on Hwy 22 to Santiam Pass.  This will take 30 min. at 30 mph.  A driver with snow tires at 60 mph would save only 15 min. and at 45 mph only 10 min.  But if chains are required it would be crazy to drive 60 mph and probably unwise to drive 45.  Better to put on chains, slow down and enjoy the journey.  Even if using winter tires, slow down.  If you have to pull over to let a string of cars go by, you are probably driving the right speed.  Stay safe. 

Volunteer Opportunities 

            The Willamette Chapter has an active volunteer program assisting the Forest Service with ski trail clearing and marking; shelter maintenance; and firewood stocking.  Thank you volunteers!  All volunteer activities on National Forests were halted during the early stages of the Coronavirus Pandemic, but volunteer projects have resumed with COVID-19 precautions in place.  For volunteer projects on the Willamette National Forest it is now necessary for volunteers to register individually through Cascade Volunteers at http://cascadevols.org/index.php/volunteer/.  You can call Mark Olson (503x559x0728) or Jim Todd (503x378x7003) for more information about our club’s volunteer  program. 

            The Forest Service has requested that Willamette Chapter skiers report conditions encountered on winter trails to assist them in deploying their limited staff efficiently.  Any information (trail marking, downed trees, parking problems) would be appreciated.  Reports can be submitted through Cascade Volunteers at http://cascadevols.org/index.php/2020-phase-1-report/  or by phoning or emailing your observations to Jim Todd. 

          Volunteer Project:  Willamette Chapter volunteers will ski Forest Service trails and place extra blue diamonds this inter.  Contact Jim Todd if you wish to assist with these “working” tours.

November and Early December Ski  Reports

           November 21, Saturday:  Any ski before Thanksgiving is a treat.  This season we already have two feet of snow at Santiam Pass—well above normal.  Four club members got out on this mild, sunny day for an early ski.  Rocks were well covered along the South Loop as we cruised down to Brandenburg shelter.  Views were great and trails were deserted until afternoon as we were returning to Ray Benson SnoPark.  We put on masks for the final quarter mile—just in case. 

            November 29, Sunday:  Bianca lead the first backcountry ski of the season north of Santiam Pass.  Weather was mild and sunny, snow was deep enough to cover downed logs and firm enough on top for easy skiing.  Five of us climbed over the Cascade divide and continued northeast to the Heavens viewpoint; then had a great downhill run back to Santiam SnoPark.  It doesn’t get much better.    – Jim Todd –

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                Fay Lake ski December 20:  With winds forecast for the pass I decided to stay in the trees and catch some snow before the upcoming sunny days create crusty conditions.  It’s been years since I’ve skied to Fay Lake and pulling off at Big Meadow Road was available.  Recent 4-wheel traffic left a smooth center area that had just a skiff of new snow making it like a groomed track up to the Fay Lake junctions.  From there, foot traffic continued from the Maxwell side for about a half mile.  Two small downed trees were covered with snow and one larger one, part way down, stretched halfway across the road.  Most of the snow condition was perfect for game tracks. The only challenge was the icy snow shed under trees which became more frequent as I progressed.  A quarter mile from the lake road 405 forks to the left and was so open and inviting that I went that direction for about a mile, setting about 2” deep track, until I hit sunny patches that were very sticky.  Caught just a glimpse of the top of Turpentine, where Jim Todd and I hiked to the peak earlier this year, and then turned back.  Classic stride and glide back to the junction of 2257.  That last quarter mile up to the lake was, ummm, not fun.  A bit steeper and icy under the full tree canopy but the effort rewarded me with a sunny warm rock and great view of the lake for lunch.  The return trip is mostly gentle downhill.  The last mile was perfect for practicing long stride with full pole extensions behind.  Total of about 8 miles, calm and cool air, great day of exercise.     –Bob Young — 

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Announcements

            The  Newsletter now includes an Announcement Section.  There members can post ski related items for sale, cross-country related questions, inquiries about condition and suggestions for ski trips, and, of course, ski reports.  Please send your announcements to Genice Rabe for inclusion in the Newsletter.  Another good place for these items is on the website, ONCWillamette.org.  If you have signed up to follow the website, you will receive all such posts automatically.  See Website portion of this newsletter above.    

          Ski Equipment available:  Cross Country skis – Karhu “wide track,” 5’2” long (160cm), partial metal edges, Fischer bindings (NNN).  In good shape, not heavily used.  Also Swix poles.

            $100 total for skis and poles.  

            Also for free Rossignol boots, about women’s size 8, NNN bindings.  In good shape.

            Call Marcia Hoak, 503x363x1352 and leave a message.

Membership Renewal

            Please renew your membership for the 2020-2021 season.  For only $20 you will receive access to all inside club news and satisfaction of supporting Club efforts to promote and improve cross-country skiing for everyone.  You can renew by downloading a membership form at https://oncwillamette.org or completing and printing and returning the membership form below and your check.   

                                                                            Membership Form 

Nordic Club – Willamette (Salem) Chapter Membership Application / Renewal Form Annual Individual or Family Membership fee is $20.00.

Please make checks payable to Oregon Nordic Club.  Mail to Oregon Nordic Club – Willamette Chapter P.O. Box 181 Salem, OR 97308

Name(s)_____________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Mailing Address: ____________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

City/State/Zip:________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Phone: _______________________________________________________________ (optional)

E-mail address: ______________________________________________________(optional)

I hereby release the Oregon Nordic Club (ONC) from any liability for any injury to myself or my family which may occur while participating in any club activity. I realize that there are risks in the participation of this outdoor sport, and that some risks are unforeseeable. I freely give this release with full knowledge that this is a hazardous activity.

Signature: ______________________________________________

Date:____________________________________________________

(Contact Bob Young for more information)

Willamette Chapter–Oregon Nordic Club

P.O. Box 181

Salem, OR 97308

Trip Report

By Bob Young

Fay Lake ski 12-2-20
With winds forecast for the pass I decided to stay in the trees and catch some snow before the upcoming sunny days create crusty conditions. It’s been years since I’ve skied to Fay Lake and pulling off at Big Meadow Road was available. Recent 4-wheel traffic left a smooth center area that had just a skiff of new snow making it like a groomed track up to the Fay Lake junctions. From there, foot traffic continued from the Maxwell side for about a half mile. 2 small down trees were covered with snow and 1 larger one, part way down, stretched halfway across the road. Most of the snow condition was perfect for game tracks. The only challenge was the icy snow shed under trees which became more frequent as I progressed. A quarter mile from the lake road 405 forks to the left and was so open and inviting that I went that direction for about a mile, setting about 2” deep track, until I hit sunny patches that were very sticky. Caught just a glimpse of the top of Turpentine, where Jim Todd and I hiked to the peak earlier this year, and then turned back. Classic stride and glide back to the junction of 2257. That last quarter mile up to the lake was, ummm, not fun. A bit steeper and icy under the full tree canopy but the effort rewarded me with a sunny warm rock and great view of the lake for lunch. The return trip is mostly gentle downhill. The last mile was perfect for practicing long stride with full pole extensions behind. Total of about 8 miles, calm and cool air, great day of exercise.

First Ski

After a week of anticipation and careful observation of what the storm was doing in the cascades, we scored a golden and rare opportunity to ski on a bluebird day and on fluffy snow! Bob Young and I ventured out to Hoodoo where we thought the snow would be the deepest, with our light weight back-country gear. There was a solid 18-20 inch base, and we were sinking about 6 inches in the fresh snow. Up higher, under Ed chair we were sinking 8 inches. Given that we were at Hoodoo and some of the runs and roads were groomed we chose to preserve energy by climbing up on groomed stuff, and then we ran down in deep fluffy snow:-)))). So we climbed laps that gave us good exercise, and on the blissful downhills we refreshed our memory on how to do tele turns. About 5.5 miles of it and 1970 ft. elev gain. Not bad for the first day. There were about 20 AT skiers doing the same thing and looking stoked. And I saw a pair of cross country skiers. Hoodoo staff is preparing the facility for operations. The temperature got up to 35 F , which with light breeze was very comfortable. We were reminded how quickly temp drops when that sun gets lower on the horizon path. Snow start freezing quickly on our last climb as soon as it was in the shade, and so did our lips and hands.

Bianca Klar