Sisters Backcountry Getaway Late January

Posted on Jan 31, 2021
Sisters Backcountry Getaway Late January

In late January of 2021, Kelso and Becca joined Nikki, Sloan and I for a relaxing weekend in Sisters and a chance to ride in a zone I highly regard for Oregon’s standards. We rented a dope house downtown that made for a perfect jump point to wander town by foot, grab a beer at the brewery and to only drive 15 minutes to the trailhead, which is a true luxury for Portlander.

By Late January 2020, the snowpack was decent on Mt.Hood (around 85% of normal) but less so as you traveled south and we found it to be particularly sparse in the Sisters area. As we exited the trailhead on snowmobiles, we realized we had some challenges ahead as our skis skipped off rocks. The 4 mile road ride was slow going with machines heating up as they skimmed across 2-5 inches of snow on the ground. In similar elevations on Mt.Adams, the snowpack was closer to 50 inches. The thin Central Oregon snowpack forced us to enter the snowboarding zone in an interesting fashion, parking lower and further west from how I’ve accessed this zone before but resulted in a boarding lap right back to the machines, making the extra touring well worth it.

Once we made it on top of the bowl, we found a nice 10” deposit of fresh snow from earlier in the week. That snow laid on top of a base that was thin but plenty deep to ride confidently on. We enjoyed two days of sun and mellow laps in the bowl. The whole weekend was aimed at a more relaxed tone and the weather helped us strike that nicely. Day two warmed quickly, so we tagged one run before avalanche conditions climbed and then exited back to town for a late lunch trip to the pub.