After nearly two years of ski-free living (a personal record for me), I ended my skiing hiatus yesterday at Mount Hood Meadows. My dad and I had to reschedule last Monday's ski trip due to typically dismal 2011 mountain weather all week. But yesterday, we made up for lost time.
I was pleasantly surprised to drive through light snowfall on Highway 26 for my early morning drive from Beaverton to meet Bo in East Portland. Fortunately, that was just a taste of what was to come. Mount Hood had received 7" of new snow the night before, as forecasted, and we were greeted at the mountain by a continuous dumping of snowflakes.
A defective zip tie sent Bo and I back to the ski lodge to replace my lift ticket after our first run. From there, we warmed up on a few intermediate runs before sampling the back country.
We dropped in onto the fresh powder of Twilight (our first double-black diamond run of the year), which is a jumping off point for Lower Heather's Canyon. Obviously, this photo was taken at one of the mellower sections. Bo and I spent the rest of the morning making tracks starting from Hood River Meadows, eventually making our way across the various black diamond runs which lead back to the Cascade Express chair lift.
After Bo called it a day, I headed back out for about half a dozen more runs, mostly consisting of the upper bowls (predictably, 1 Bowl had the softest powder snow) and the upper face of Meadows. Things got a little hairy after I unwisely followed a tree trail that dumped me out on an isolated, rocky, and cliff-laden patch of slope. I stashed my camera before hitting the worst part of it and cautiously carved my way down to the marked trail below.
Bo and I couldn't have picked a better day for me to redeem my lift ticket Christmas gift from him. The snow was nearly perfect, and the weather was reasonably calm. Depending on whether or not a local director selects me to act in a TV commercial next Tuesday, yesterday was the ideal warm up for next week's ski trip with my friend Michael in Utah.