Category Archives: Skiing

Travel using skis – whether alpine, groomed, or backcountry trails.

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More Snow – More Backcountry Skiing 2012

As I noted as a comment to my previous post about the low and icy snowpack it resumed snowing a few days after that post. It continued snowing, heavily at times, and the snowpack dramatically recovered.

This can be seen in the following graph of “snow water equivalent” in the snowpack at Three Creeks Meadow, not far from my home. Within a week the snow water equivalent tripled from 3 to 9 inches. The snow water equivalent then plateaued until March when it started a steady increase until it met and surpassed the 30-year average.
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Low Snowpack – More Skating

So far this winter the Oregon Cascades have received little snow and what snowpack exists is getting thin and icy. We have skied on backcountry trails out of the Swampy Lakes SnoPark once, but the snow conditions continue to deteriorate as we wait for new snow. However, Linda and I were fortunate to have purchased Mount Bachelor Nordic season passes when they went on sale last fall and we have enjoyed skiing the groomed trails there many times already this season.

Over past years Linda and I have taken “skate skiing” lessons at Mount Bachelor. Lessons were essential for me to succeed at this activity, and even so I found skating to be exhausting and sometimes frustrating. But last season and this season we have been skating regularly with Nordic skiing friends, some of whom are quite experienced and even instructors, and I have gradually picked up some good tips from them that has made me a more efficient skate skier and the activity more fun for me.
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Swampy Lakes Skiing

Living in Bend, I have a lot of options for local backcountry skiing. Several Sno-Parks are nearby with a network of ski trails leading out from each.

My local favorite this past winter/spring was the Swampy Lakes Area. The Swampy Lakes Sno-Park located at 5800 feet in elevation and is just north of the Cascade Lakes Highway (Highway 46) about 16 miles from Bend. The higher elevation of the Swampy Lakes Area typically offers better snow conditions than Virginia Meissner Area, yet is better protected in stormy weather than areas higher and nearer Mount Bachelor. During weekends and holidays the Mount Bachelor highway traffic can be very heavy and it is helpful to get out of the traffic sooner than driving in traffic all the way to the Bachelor Nordic Center.
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