|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|
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.