As the extensive February storm cycles finally began to let up on their restless winds and snowfall, a perfect, early March window for backcountry travel called all “Big Flakes” for an adventure to Central Oregon. Kelso, Nikki, Ben and I, meet Mikey in Sisters for two days of prime touring conditions at Tam McArthur Rim.
This trip to Tam opened up new possibilities for us with clear skies and a fresh, stable snowpack. We pushed out further than I have before and opened up some steeper runs that I had yet to ride in past trips. Ben kept us on our toes day one, managing to wedge his sled under a huge down tree, not far off the groomed trail. Snowmobiles always bring their own character to the trip and Ronda never disappoints to add some excitement to the day.
Our second line of the trip was down the center of the middle bowl. The steep entry left us digging pits and scratching our heads with the assessment. After more digging and group consent, we dropped in for some very deep turns, cutting rider’s right down into great tree skiing.
On day two our group grew in size, forming what seemed to me to be an MSU style backcountry day with lots of smiling faces and laughs. We added Zoe who joined Mikey, Dan and Johnny, a buddy of Ben’s. Our large group worked smoothly together and we moved through the terrain much better than I had anticipated. We headed west out to the far bowl at Tam, chasing tracks a group had set the previous day. The runs in the far bowl are longer and steeper than the east bowls, raging from the low 40’s to high 40 degree pitches that requiring a boot pack to get on top of.
For our first run we followed tracks already lead into powder filled pockets. We finished the lap fired up ready for another. On run two we pushed a step left and right to open up new chutes. The deep snow and steep pitch provided some welcome intimidation between man and mountain. Once you drop, after the first turn or turn two, any fear of the consequences vanishes and the smooth turns ahead fill the mind. We left Tam feeling accomplished and fortunate to see another side of the ridding it has to offers and new lines opening up under the right conditions.