Riding a hot-pow Saturday at Mt.Hood Meadows in early February, Nikki and I had an itch. The lift lines were long, parking lots packed and the steep terrain was closed for avy control, all of which compounding on a season’s long feeling of entrapment. February, the heart of the winter season and we both felt more like city folk than snowboarders.
Nikki and I talk about riding Crystal Mountain in Washington every winter. The steep, expansive terrain accessed by many lifts has a very different feel than Meadows. However, the lack of lodging at Crystal makes it hard for Portlanders to access the mountain for a weekend trip. Five winters have passed since we first started riding together. That first winter we made it to Crystal with Ben and Julie for what turned into an unforgettable New Years weekend, that now marks our anniversary together. We have grown a lot since then but hadn’t returned to Crystal.
Thanks to our homies at Roam Rental Vans, we scratched the Crystal itch. Finishing riding at Meadows, we picked up a Roam, Ford camper van in Parkdale and started the long drive to Washington. After a quick pit-stop at home, we arrived in the Crystal parking lot at 10pm Saturday night. The next morning temps had dropped along with a foot of cold snow. Exiting the van groggy from the 4:30am wakeup by the parking lot plowing crew, expectations were low. It wasn’t until the first run of bottomless turns down steep terrain that we realized what our decision Saturday afternoon had created.
Powder riding down steep, challenging terrain is why we drove up there and we found plenty of it. We had an amazing day on the mountain getting pounded by some aggressive terrain until the last run at 3pm. It was Super Bowl Sunday. That meant that we not only got to ride powder all day but we also got to Après–ski at the bar all night in a tiny little resort village. Watching the Patriot win the Super Bowl was awesome but the highlight was having a reason to post-up at the bar in ski clothes for the whole evening while the snow hammered down on the village around us.
Driving 4hrs each way for a day of skiing is no fun so we stayed in the cozy, heated van again Sunday night. We woke to even more snow, well over a foot this time. Monday was another low vis, bottomless snow, exciting riding day. We lapped Chair Six, a small double seater that is slow to rise and very slow to get tracked out. Even on our last run we found untouched turns for half the pitch. It was a day you can’t recreate, only one you can hope to chase again someday. Driving away that afternoon we both felt so good having acted on a decision that was not easy to make. 48” of snow in three days is not to be messed with.