Bennett Pass known for its easy access clearcut and tree skiing, Ron (Rong) and I were in the mood for such turns. Telemetry let us down however, the storm cycle the night prior just did not deliver the much needed snow at this elevation/aspect to cover the saturated rain crust. We toured out the road to the first clearcut, ~4” of fresh snow covered a saturated snowpack still showing previous tracks from others. We backtracked a short distance to peel skins and drop into the trees to find smoother untracked lines. Runs here are already short enough, but our 1st sample run did not pan out for the fun of skiing in the saturated snow so we stopped even shorter and set our skins and changed our objectives for a day of exploring what else Bennett has to offer.
We backtracked a bit to a spur road ending at point 4950 on the map. I had an interest in some east facing creek draws / bowls thinking a change in aspect might yield better quality but timber spacing and brush did not look inviting at all. It's always a crap shoot exploring new timbered terrain in the lower elevations on Hood, I hate getting boxed in and not very good at survival skiing in heavy crusty snow. We were at the end of the line and either had to tour back home on the road or ski something, the topo map hinted a possibility of some small but open glades on the less than favorable due S aspect. We peeled skins and dropped in finding the glades that could be linked together carefully for some good turns along with some rock outcrops and a unique dome shape in the snow we dubbed the alien.
The quality of this aspect however diminished the further down we skied, where thickets of brush (vine maple or scrub alder...?) and the thin snowpack made survival skiing and route finding entertaining. We worked our way down picking the line with the most persistent votes in our two man team... “you don't want to go there” the tag line for the day. The adventure was fun linking turns here and there between side steps and traverses back and forth to the FR48 road in the White River valley below. A little luck landed us with only a small scramble to the road bed avoiding the roadside cliffs dug out when the road was built.
The remaining part of the tour was all winter hike to finish the loop. We braved the head on venturi effect winds on the exposed FR48 a while then set a waypoint for the end tip of an old forest road providing shelter from those winds and a path through a beautiful old growth forest leading back up to the snowpark with little travel off trial. Once back at the Bennett pass snowpark however natures fury gave us one last gale force spanking to enjoy with our transition to the comfort of my jeep.