Pacific Northwest Ski blog (and a few other places!)

Lots or reports from skiing around the Pacific Northwest, with some East Coast excursions thrown in for good measure

Skiing volcanoes in Oregon

There’s few better places to be skiing in April than Mt Hood and Mt Bachelor – two huge volcanoes in the Oregon Cascades. The weather is reliable, the snow pack deep, and the crowds non-existent.

For these reasons, John and I decided to go for a ‘max verts’ day at Bachelor on the Saturday. This consisted mostly of fast, turning-optional laps of the groomers off the Northwest Chair, lapping 750m vertical at an average of 15 minutes per lap (10-11 up, 4 down). A quick lunch, and we’d passed our target (14,500m) by 3pm. Deciding there was no point in setting the bar too high the inevitable ‘next attempt’, we retired to the bar for a well-earned Cinder Cone.

By the afternoon on Saturday, an inch or two of new snow had fallen. This kept going overnight, blanketing the mountain in 4-6 inches of surprisingly light powder for late April. We had a much more sedate day verts-wise (just setting a weekend 2 day total record!), playing in freshies in the trees off Northwest before until Summit opened. We found some good snow in the crater bowl, but much got quickly sun-damaged, so we headed lower to cruise the delightfully soft snow off the lower chairs.

You certainly can’t complain about a decent powder day in April.

The following weekend we eschewed the very tempting Yakima Valley Barrel Tasting weekend and went to Mt Hood. Kathy needed one day for her 50 ski days for the season, and John needed 15K vertical feet for his million feet. And we got to stay in Hood River again, so no strong persuasion was needed.

Saturday was a leisurely day at a very spring-like Hood Meadows. John and Kathy set their records, and we got a couple of Heather Canyon circuits in before it got too slow and sticky. We managed to keep John away from celebratory beers until about 3pm.  But the lure of very fine Ice Axe IPA became too strong, and we sat in the sun, debating entering the pond-skimming competition the next day. Naked. On John’s retro skinny skis.

Wisely we went to Timberline instead. Timberline gets better snow than Meadows, and comes in to its own when the Palmer Chair gives access to the massive wide-open snow fields above the lodge.

It was a bit crunchy early off trail, but by lunch time the intermittent sun had performed its magic, creating perfect spring skiing conditions. Traversing wide and out of bounds revealed untracked lines of creamy, smooth snow that simply invited fast carving turns. So we did lots of them.

It was a fabulous way for Kathy and John to end their record-breaking seasons. We’ve got one more trip planned – to Whistler. With luck, we’ll be in for a treat.

Trip Stats:

Bachelor: Saturday 14,800m, Sunday 8100m

Hood: Saturday 6600m, Sunday 6700m

Season totals: 58 days, 23 powder days, 472,800 verts

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