Tuesday, March 25, 2014

California Corn

As of yesterday, the seasonal rains (and mountain snow) have returned to the northwest. But for the few weeks prior, spring was here in full bloom. And lucky for me, last weekend (for the first weekend in months) I had no specific plans other than exploring the mountains around me. After leisurely hiking for some turns on Mount Ashland Saturday morning and watching March Madness basketball all afternoon, the wheels in my head were spinning with what to do on Sunday. McLoughlin? Thielsen? Access for either of those might be challenging, I thought. Then I stumbled on a recent blog post proclaiming that "hero turns" were being found on Mount Shasta. Sold.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A ski season that wasn't

Mount Ashland (7,533'), high in the southern Oregon Siskiyou mountains, is the Rogue Valley's local ski hill.  A throwback to the past, you won't find snowmaking or high speed quads here. Although small, it is nevertheless a skier's mountain, consisting 1,100 vertical feet of excellent steeps, moguls, and tree skiing... usually. Heartbreakingly, this year was no usual year.  For the first time in its fifty-year history, Mount Ashland was unable open due to record low snowpack in the Siskiyou Mountains.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Yet another Crater Lake tour

Garfield Peak above the Crater Lake Lodge
This winter, while our east coast brethren have been pummeled by arctic blast after arctic blast, the west coast has been high and dry (the first half of winter) and warm and wet (the second half).  Consequently, not much terrain in southern Oregon has been skiable.  Crater Lake is one of the few exceptions. Due to its relatively high elevation and easy access, Garfield Peak (and the greater Crater Lake vicinity) has become a familiar place to me this winter.