Early Season Storm Chasing — Hit And Miss On Mt. Hood


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | November 19, 2014      
Zack Jessel carving turns high above Oregon.

Zack Jessel carving turns high above Oregon.

Pacific Northwest is seeing little of its characteristic early season snow this fall (a far cry from last fall). Over the past few weekends I’ve tried skiing Washington backcountry a few times with minimal success. First I found a sub 1 foot snowpack at Twin Lakes, and then attempted to ski on a windblown ice skating rink at Heliotrope Ridge.

Someone smarter than me would opt to rock climb until we got a good dump. I’ve got faith in early season pow so when Adam asked me if I wanted to head down to Mt. Hood, where a storm recently dropped some snow, I readily agreed.

The storm dumped lots of snow but also came in with wind, so we didn’t find the fluffy face-shots of our dreams. What we got was soft(ish) snow combined with a bunch of new friends and excellent views in a new place which made for a stellar weekend trip. Check out the photos below:

Dod heading down good snow on our first run of the trip.

Dod heading down good snow on our first run of the trip.

The Posse -- 10 skiers escaped cold-dry Washington to steal some of Oregon's pow.

The Posse — 10 skiers escaped cold-dry Washington to steal some of Oregon’s pow.

Ten dollars, 2,000 calories, and 1 pound of incredible snickery goodness. All other trail snacks are now irrelevant.

Ten dollars, 2,000 calories, and 1 pound of incredible snickery goodness. All other trail snacks are now irrelevant.

There are few things better than hanging out with new friends after a day skiing.

There are few things better than hanging out with new friends after a day skiing.

Morning in the encampment.  3 tents, 2 cars, 1 tricked-out Sprinter, and 1 truck-bed mounted tiny house.

Morning in the encampment. 3 tents, 2 cars, 1 tricked-out Sprinter, and 1 truck-bed mounted tiny house.

Hiking up with Mt. Jefferson and the Three Sisters in the background.

Hiking up with Mt. Jefferson and the Three Sisters in the background.

Zack skiing decent snow (over some gritty, hard ice)

Zack skiing decent snow (over some gritty, hard ice)

Dod slaying the last run of the day.

Dod slaying the last run of the day.



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Comments

18 Responses to “Early Season Storm Chasing — Hit And Miss On Mt. Hood”

  1. Doug Hutchinson November 19th, 2014 9:21 am

    Good call heading south. I skied Heliotrope and Muir recently and the conditions on Hood are much better. Not ashamed to admit that riding the Palmer lift (Timberline opened on Sat) last Sunday was pure groomer bliss but the off piste was variable to say the least. Hoping this Friday’s storm makes things more normal in WA.

  2. Scott Diamond November 19th, 2014 9:26 am

    Snickers! That photo made me laugh! Thanks for sharing your adventures. I haven’t made it out on the snow yet but I’m starting to dream about skiing.

  3. Mike Marolt November 19th, 2014 10:13 am

    OMG, that Snickers photo has me laughing hard.

  4. Jason D November 19th, 2014 10:57 am

    Oh, don’t worry, that snow made it’s way all the way down to Indian Creek (and left a nice big pile in CO). Climbing desert towers gets less appealing when it’s snowing on you at the top. Looks like ski season is coming back to the PNW soon though!

    So when do they release the caffeinated king size snickers bar? They can package it with nitroglycerin and really make a killing.

  5. KevinP November 19th, 2014 11:39 am

    Just realized today I need to restock on bars, now I’ve got a new goal,… find a source for 1 lb Snickers bars.

  6. Charlie Hagedorn November 19th, 2014 12:08 pm

    Amazon appears to stock ’em: http://www.amazon.com/Giant-Pound-Snickers-Bar-16oz/dp/B0063HMIRW

    Stoked to see the whole crew on WildSnow!

  7. Samski November 19th, 2014 4:42 pm

    Louie:

    Love the shots! What aspect of Hood were you guys skiing in those last two photos? I can’t quite place them. Let’s hope winter turns on soon for us in the PNW and doesn’t stop until May.

  8. Gary Kean November 19th, 2014 6:20 pm
  9. Lisa Dawson November 19th, 2014 6:44 pm

    I always enjoy your trip reports. Keep them coming and remember to brush your teeth.
    Love, Mom

  10. j November 19th, 2014 10:22 pm

    How’s that sprinter van in the snowy road conditions? Is it RWD? How is it with snow tires? Im thinking about getting one.

    Looks like you were in the White River drainage?

  11. Bard November 19th, 2014 10:50 pm

    One pound Snickers bar! Somebody pinch me, I must be dreaming. Maybe it was a regular bar in a very small hand:)

  12. Louie III November 20th, 2014 10:15 am

    The first day we were skiing on and below the zig-zag area. The second day we hiked up the Hood Meadows ski area, and skied the stuff to skiers left of the top lift (where those last photos are from). It’s what they call super bowl and heather canyon on the Hood Meadows trail map I believe.

    As far as the sprinter, I wish it was mine, but sadly it’s not. I’m not sure if it is RWD, but it seemed to do pretty well on some icy and snowy roads.

  13. Stefan November 20th, 2014 10:18 pm

    Do own a sprinter, actually now the second one .. It’s a 2013 and we live in Tahoe , my wife’s business , a grooming van , do have studded winter tires on the sprinter and it’s excellent , don’t have problems ever.. Only in big storm I need chains .. They will start to ship 4×4 into the us starting in the spring and that will be the best … One day I will get me one just for skiing , love the sprinters

  14. JohnJ November 21st, 2014 9:30 am

    Giant Snickers on Amazon is $18. Did the one in the photo come from a black-market source?

  15. Louie III November 21st, 2014 10:03 am

    A snickers dealer hooked me up at an early morning stop in an Oregon conoco. I think it was closer to 11 or 12 dollars actually. I had no idea I was getting such a good deal! Maybe I’ll have to journey down to hood more this winter.

  16. silas Wild November 22nd, 2014 8:39 pm

    The Sprinter in the photo is rwd but 4wd will soon be available: http://blog.caranddriver.com/mercedes-benz-to-offer-lifted-sprinter-4×4-and-its-coming-to-the-u-s/

  17. Pete Anzalone November 23rd, 2014 2:59 pm

    Enormous Snickers and a Sprinter … you guys know how to live!

  18. Andre December 9th, 2014 10:36 am

    Looks like a great time. I’m jealous since weather has really been poor the last few weeks.

    I actually stumbled upon this page trying to find out some information on how well Sprinters handle in the snow, in particular in the Mt Hood area. We were thinking of renting a Sprinter to haul around a bunch of family that is coming in for the holidays. It would be a 2012 MB sprinter 2500 so RWD with regular tires. I imagine that we’d need chains. Do you guys who have them or have experience with them think we’d be able to make it up to Timberline with regular tires and chains on the rears? I’m assuming around gov’t camp and to Meadows will be fine since it’s flatter. I’m used to my Land Cruiser and never worrying about getting through any conditions so I’m a bit nervous about committing to rent this Sprinter (or passenger van is another option).

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