last summer when i bought my mountain collective pass it was with the idea of traveling around the west in the lavish comfort of the bumble beast, a spacious sprinter van with my partner in crime, hutchski. those plans fell apart but i wasn’t about to let the pass go to waste. so i told my boss i needed three weeks off in late march and prepped my jeep (coco) for the trip. by ‘prepped’, i mean got a roof rack and new tires. there were numerous things wrong with coco but there was no way i could afford to fix them all so i would just have drive off and hope for the best, armed with a set of tools and a few hundred extra dollars. the basic plan was to hit all the resorts from taos to banff and then come down from whistler through the cascades. there was no place i had to be at any given time so the plan was subject to change based on snow conditions. then my father’s failing health necessitated a trip to florida in the middle of the tour so i booked a round trip flight from denver. this cut out taos and banff (taos was having a sub-par year anyway).
my new plan had me heading straight up to whistler with some undetermined stops on the way. before leaving i got in touch with lindsey in bend and asked what she was up to. as luck would have it she was planning a trip to mount hood just as i was passing through. i’d never been so this was perfect. we had planned an early start but a partner coming from portland called to say he was running behind. and then again, and again.
mt hood in the not so early morning light
tahoe has been stuck in a long dry spell for pretty much all of february with the exception of one large event. a week ago hutchski and i headed to the rubies to ski terminal cancer. it was awesome, especially for her since it was her first couloir. another highlight was driving back the next day via highway 50. i had never seen the toiyabes or sand mountain during the day and they both had me excited for a return.
don’t have any decent pictures from then but this was as i was driving away from the toiyabes on tuesday. they look good right?
it’s all an illusion. this is big creek campground, which was an excellent place to sleep. free camping by a creek with excellent bathrooms. what’s not to like? the lack of snow on the lower and west facing slopes that i never saw before. at the second creek crossing there was too much snow on the opposite bank to make it up, and i was still miles from consistent snow. add to that the fact that i left my clothes bag at home which meant no socks and i’d be skiing in jeans, without ibuprofen.
so i decided i would bite the bullet and drive to the opposite side of the range. that would also take me through austin so i could get some supplies. the chevron mart had everything on my list, and i got their one and only pair of socks