Sometimes the Snow Gods hook up with their mates, Fate and Luck, and figure out an attractive plan for some of us. Today was one of those days, on our first ever visit to Mt Hood Ski Bowl.
First, there had been 4 feet of snow in 3 days. And it was cold and light and fluffy – hard to make a snowball, and ironically, not teh best snow to form a base. Second, it was Civil War day in Oregon, when the two major local universities play each other at football, and most people seem to sit in bars and drink all day. Third, we got a room in the very comfortable Mt Hood Inn at Government camp, at the base of Ski Bowl. And finally, the Upper Bowl – reputedly fine terrain – was due to open Saturday morning for the first time this season.
We luckily timed it perfectly and were on about the 15th chair to the Upper Bowl. There was basically knee deep, fluffy freshies to be had everywhere. And about 150 people on the chair. And a big wide open bowl to explore (pics here). And cold, still, bright conditions. There’s obviously nothing wrong with this picture at all.
Once the lines close to the chair got tracked, I followed the locals on a traverse around the ridge of the bowl. It opened up endless lines, steep tight tree chutes, wide open drops, and the odd gnarly cliffy bit to avoid. There were rocks and shrubbery, but the cover was basically excellent. With so much snow and so few people, the face shots were too numerous to count.
Ski Bowl is the heart and soul of skiing, the antithesis of the Disneyland-like Whistler where we’d been last weekend. Four slow, double chairs, friendly little lodges and bars, full of locals and season pass holders, cheap lift tickets, and small but varied terrain to satisfy anyone from beginners to serious hucksters. It’d be a lot less fun when mega-busy, and is a bit low and hence undoubtedly damp on occasions. But hit it on a good day – like today – and it’s quite perfect.
And the forecast for tonight – 2 feet of snow on Mt Hood :-}
Day stats: 5800 metres
Season stats: 5 days, 1 powder day, 37,400 vertical metres