Does Spring skiing get better than this?
May 17, 2012
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I must confess that Spring snow conditions sometimes cause me immense confusion. When the sun is out, the temperatures are rising rapidly and firm groomers turn to slush low down, a ski day normally has a lifetime like that of most American Idol contestant’s careers. Slowing snow turns sticky, and unless you can find slopes that don’t see direct sunlight, your legs are in for some serious torment. Usually anyway. But for some reason, it didn’t happen at Mt Bachelor on this glorious mid-May weekend. Good wax obviously helps, but that wasn’t the only reason.
Saturday started firm, so we worked the east side in the sun until it softened, giving perfect top-to-bottom Spring conditions down Cow Face and the many gullies that spread out through the trees below. By mid morning we headed west, hiking the summit and Cirque, finding ridiculously fine skiing on anything that faced vaguely north and west. By 2pm when the Summit chair closed, we stood on the very top of Mt Bachelor, admired the amazing volcanic surrounds, and headed off the north-west face, smashing shards of glass-like icy tendrils and carving corn like there was no tomorrow. Amazingly, the lower runs off Pine Marten (which was open until 5pm), had somehow remained firm and fast. It was too good to give up, until 4pm anyway when thirst and the lure of beer dragged us off the slopes after possibly my best ever Spring ski day.
Sunday wasn’t far off a repeat of Saturday. A little warmer, hence our east-west transition occurred earlier, but the snow hardly deteriorated all day. Off the last lift, we finished up with a hike up Cinder Cone, which caused severe beer leakage in the 70F+ temperatures. The effort was certainly worth it though, and we left out tracks etched in the snow as our mark of celebration for the most superlative of Spring ski weekends.
Saturday 13,000m Sunday 8400m
Season Totals: 66 days, 573,200m vert, 28 powder days