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| | |-+  March 14, 2012, Potato Hill, Santiam Pass
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Author Topic: March 14, 2012, Potato Hill, Santiam Pass  (Read 2103 times)
romines
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March 14, 2012, Potato Hill, Santiam Pass
« on: 03/14/12, 06:45 PM »

The other day on a drive back to Eugene from Bachelor, I noticed this beautiful burn area near Hoodoo...was tempted to stop and ski it right then! Some poking around in Backcountry Ski & Snowboard Routes Oregon (The Green Book) and the dark corners of the interwebs revealed this was the North side of Potato Hill. The much mellower West slope is popular with beginner xc skiers and snowshoers, but it looked like when conditions were right, the North side (the green book calls it "cliff-strewn") would be a lot of fun, if a bit short.



This is kind of the view you get from the road, with the perfectly spaced burned up pines. If the snow looks slightly manky here, it was, but only for the bottom 100 feet or so.


With decent volumes of snow falling over the last week or two on top of an already decent snow pack (Hoodoo is currently claiming 100"), coverage figured to be good, and with the most recent 6-8" falling at around 25o, we had high hopes for s*** eating grins.

After a pre-dawn departure from Eugene and an uneventful, quick drive to the Potato Hill Sno-Park (on the right about 3 miles before Hoodoo), we started skinning from the car along the Jack Pine/Forrest Service 830 road. This made for a very gentle and scenic approach.



From the 5200' summit we made two short (6-700') laps down the steep N-NW aspect and back up the mellowest part of the North side, a semi-ridge west of the summit. There was a small cliff/cornice to navigate, but it can be avoided, or safely threaded. The snow underneath was DEEP!

Feeling ready for something a little longer, we finished our day by running the mellower "ridge" the whole 1200' back down to the creek. All but the last 1-200' feet was beautiful, light dry snow. The goods. Did I mention how perfectly spaced those trees are?


Mellower part, halfway down

Overall it was a fantastic, quick jaunt. Short laps, fun terrain. The obvious proviso being that it would take some good conditions to be remotely worthwhile. If I had it to do over again, I would have worked way skiers left for the bottom 500' or so. This circumvents the creek crossing..



« Last Edit: 03/15/12, 09:21 AM by romines » Logged
stoudema
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Re: March 14, 2012, Potato Hill, Santiam Pass
« Reply #1 on: 03/14/12, 09:53 PM »

Nice - looks fun.  I've been wanting to hit Potato Hill for awhile now, just haven't got to it (like you say it takes the right conditions).  Nice to hear you scored some good pow!
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There is nothing more practical in the end than the preservation of beauty." - Theodore Roosevelt
romines
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Re: March 14, 2012, Potato Hill, Santiam Pass
« Reply #2 on: 03/15/12, 10:42 AM »

Thanks! Your post on the Tam McArthur hut trip was an inspiration...made me want to book a trip there and take better photos..
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kmh
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Re: March 14, 2012, Potato Hill, Santiam Pass
« Reply #3 on: 03/15/12, 02:40 PM »

Saw that area as well going over the pass and made the gears in my head start turning. Thought it looked quite nice. Nice to see it is 
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