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.
Typically the Mount Bachelor Nordic Center grooms its trails nightly, which keeps the trails from becoming too icy in our current weather pattern, and sometimes the area gets a dusting of new snow which also helps keep the trails in shape.
For the most part this season we have skied the “blue runs”, such as “Woody’s”, “Easy Back”, and “Zigzag”. These are interesting trails through mixed pine and hemlock. The ski traffic mid-week is not heavy, and many times one can stop to catch one’s breath and enjoy the quiet forest ambiance and solitude and views of peaks and alternating sunlight and shadows crossing the trail.
This week the Nordic Center groomed and opened up the lower “black runs” and yesterday Linda and I took “Devecka’s Dive” down to “Leslie’s Lunge” and had a very fun descent through the forest on fast but manageable drops and turns. Then we made the long climb back towards the Nordic Center.
We are hopeful for more snow in the Oregon Cascades so we can return to our favorite backcountry trails, but in the meantime we are enjoying the groomed trails and working on our skating skills at Mount Bachelor.