Friday, February 10, 2017

Bluebird Day!

A day after the big storm brought over 9 inches of snow to the Portland area, streets in town were still covered with snow and ice.  My ski bus, scheduled to drive to the mountain that day, was cancelled due to poor road conditions.

Empty parking lot!

I was bitterly disappointed.  Who ever heard of a ski bus cancelled because of too much snow?  Adding salt to the wound, my local ski area boasted a huge dump of new snow and sunny skies.  Bluebird days are few and far between here in the Pacific NW, and I didn't want to miss out.

Skiers heading to the lift

But.....I could still drive up.  My ski bus buddy Dean might want to go.  And we both had snow-worthy vehicles.  I fired off a text message to my friend.  He enthusiastically accepted - and even offered to drive!

Beautiful snow covered trees

Next morning Dean and his wife Kathy picked me up early, and we began our journey to the mountain.  First Dean had to negotiate rush-hour traffic through Portland on very treacherous snow-packed roads.  Although the amount of commuters was less than normal, unplowed still-icy freeways slowed everyone down.  We gaped at the amount of abandoned vehicles from the day before, littering Hwy 26 and the approach to the Marquam Bridge.  Then Dean bumped and slid over icy ruts on I-84.  It was a little bit frightening - I just had to look away a couple of times.  Major props to Dean for tackling driving duties!

Perfectly groomed slopes
Surprisingly, driving conditions improved once we left the last Portland suburb.  Highways were mostly clear until the climb up Mt Hood.  Although the pavement wore a tiny coating of snow and ice on the pass at Government Camp, we found the mountain roads to be way better than in town!

Winter wonderland

The forecasters had been spot-on.  Deep blue skies greeted us as Dean pulled into Mt Hood Meadows' nearly-empty parking lot.  Trees were flocked in new fallen-snow.  Absolutely gorgeous!  Totally worth the nail-biting ride to get here!

Skiers heading into Heather Canyon

The three of us jumped on the HRM Lift for a couple laps on freshly-groomed corduroy runs.  The new snow was silky smooth, and we reveled in long stretches of perfect turns.

Soaking in the view

Views on the higher lifts were fabulous.  The surrounding foothills were cloaked in wispy fog, otherwise skies were as clear as a bell.

Frost coated trees

Some of the frosty trees looked like they'd been sprayed with whipped cream.

Kathy makes a turn

Dean is an excellent skier, zipping down the slopes and always looking for the steep terrain.  He's lots of fun to follow down the mountain.  Kathy, more cautious than her hubby, is more partial to the intermediate runs.  But she was a good sport, telling Dean and I if we wanted to try a black diamond or two she'd take the easy way down and meet us at the lift.

Hangin' out on the slope

Dean and Kathy are such a fun couple!  I had a blast skiing with them all day, and catching up with their lives.  Skiing is such a great way to reconnect.

Hood really stands out against the blue sky

Mt Hood's perfectly white summit stood out against the bold blue of the sky.  A photo op if I ever saw one!

Admiring our tracks

I stopped to memorialize our tracks through a patch of barely-touched snow.

Fog bank hovering over the foothills

Stadium, one of my favorite runs at Mt Hood Meadows, is usually closed for racing every weekend.  But on a slow Thursday, the ropes were down and I was raring to ski it.  Although it's a tiny bit steep (I refer to Stadium as an "easy" black diamond) I convinced Kathy come with me  and give this run a try.

More spectacular white trees

The route to get to Stadium is half the fun.  It's quite scenic.  A ridgecrest passes by a stand of lovely snow-clad trees.  Sweeping vistas peek through forest gaps, just begging to be photographed.

Nothing but blue skies

Although Kathy was a wee bit apprehensive looking down from the very top, I told her to take it slow, keep her hands downhill, and make wide turns.  And she did great!  At the bottom, Kathy thanked me for taking her down this run.

Lots of photo ops

Dean's knee started to bother him, so we quit early and headed back to town around 2:30.  Hoping to beat rush-hour traffic, we made it through downtown as dropping temperatures began refreezing the roadways.  Dean slipped past an elevated on-ramp right before a large truck spun out on black ice and blocked the entire thing.  Whew!

A great day!

So glad I was able to get up to the mountain!  The white-knuckle drive through snowy Portland was worth every minute of this heavenly bluebird day.


  1. I've only seen this area in the summer (sometimes with snow here and there) wow what beautiful sights.

  2. Lovely day out to ski and enjoy the beauty on the mountain. I enjoyed your photos very much. Thankful you and your friends made it home safely. Happy weekend!

  3. With that gorgeous blue sky as a backdrop your images are beyond gorgeous. Glad you had such a great day.. and got home safely. I've had enough of this lowland snow!

  4. Hello Linda, WOW! Gorgeous snow scenes. The sky is beautiful too. What a lovely day to be out on the slopes. Awesome photos. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

  5. Fabulous pictures! That sky! Those trees! Thanks for venturing out when even the ski bus wouldn't go. Totally worth it. :-)

  6. Those roads sound scary...but, oh, the results! I love the shots of the fog in the hills against the crystal clear scenery!

  7. Linda, your photos are gorgeous, and I absolutely love your celebration of winter! Brilliant and magnificent scenery!

  8. Absolutely perfect - I'm jealous!

  9. The snow bus cancelled! The roads must really have been bad! It looks like a great ski day though.

  10. WOW!! Just stunning - that blue against the fresh white snow. Amazing. I am trying to feel that chill in air... whilst we are sweltering in a heatwave.

  11. An absolutely magical visit to your page. Oh the euphoria you must have felt as you skied with all that dazzling beauty of blue sky and snow. Your photos are sensational.

    [102F here today with very high humidity.]

  12. WOW!!!! you are correct. Beautiful photo ops. Love how the snow is packed all over the pine trees. What gorgeous images you captured.

  13. Great photos and nice to get it quiet on the ski runs. Same story here with the traffic either grinding to a halt or sliding around in snow conditions with any busy city roads being far more a risk factor than the outdoor stuff most non- mountain folk usually label as 'dangerous and irresponsible' outdoor sports.

  14. Looks like a more than the usual spectacular day on the slopes! I like the term 'bluebird day'. Guess it doesn't have to do with seeing bluebirds. We certainly have seen very few of those sunny blue sky days here this winter! Too bad drivers out there can't cope with the snow. Our daughter who moved to B.C. Is finding it ridiculous how people can't cope! Even the plows can't cope.

  15. Beautiful pictures - glad you got to ski

  16. Wow - what a day, and certainly not one to miss.

    Cheers - Stewart M - New Delhi, India

  17. What a spectacular day! Loved the photos! :)

  18. Snow view look beautiful, but there is many difficulties to live. Stay warm and safe...

  19. Wow! You have been so fortunate this year to get so much snowfall and good skiing in your area. I can imagine how bad the roads were to drive though -- it can get the same here when there is ice under the snow.
    Our Rockies have been getting good snowfall in the ski resorts but the Front Range, where I live, has been unusually warm and dry. No snow for weeks and weeks--in fact we broke a weather record at 80 degrees on Feb 10 in Denver!! We may have a cold and snowy spring to make up for this warm winter--time will tell. I just hope the drought isn't coming back.

  20. Looks like such a fun day! You were very adventurous to make the drive!

  21. I don't waste the sunny days in my corner of the PNW either. :)

  22. I don't ever think I've seen sky that blue anywhere near Portland! So glad you bucked up and found people to go with! Definitely a day to be out there enjoying the snow and I knew you would be!

  23. I have to say that the snow is gorgeous!

  24. Amazing, been a poor snow year in Europe so I'll have to make do with your photos. What an awesome day, blue skies, fresh snow and empty slopes. Very Jealous! :)


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