Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sandy Ridge & Ski Bowl Adventure Day

On Saturday Chris joined Emily and I for a day up at Mt. Hood mountain biking. He had gone up the previous friday to try out a new trail his brother had heard of in Sandy. They rushed it to make it out before it got too dark but Chris remembered it being pretty sweet so he was psyched to take Emily and I there.
Having got out of Corvallis somewhat early around 8am we made it to the trailhead around 10:30 and started up the paved road. Emily was super happy to be trying her new bike out on a great trail outside of Corvallis. The official route we took was 338 to Hide & Seek. The trail was literally brand new and amazingly maintained. Trail crews had taken the time to build up tabletops, banked corners etc and there
were so many turns that at the end of the bike ride Chris’s cycle computer (which determines distance based on wheel revolutions) was a full mile farther than my gps which tracks straight lines between all the turns. Overall the ride was about 9.5 miles, had just over 1,000 feet of elevation gain, and took us 2 hours. It was such a fun ride. Some parts were a little difficult for Emily who is still a beginner but she simply walked down them. Chris and I had a lot of fun chasing each other with my helmet cam and the footage came out fantastic.
It was about noon when we left Sandy for SkiBowl stopping in Rhododendron for some snacks and drinks. When we got to SkiBowl we decided to wait to get the half day adventure pass for $25 which
got us a whole slew of activities from miniature golf, alpine slide rides, mountain biking trail passes, and free lifts to Upper Bowl from 3-7pm. They were not running the Upper Bowl lift because of high winds they said... which I questioned because it didn’t seem that rough when we decided to bike to the top ourselves. We pulled up a couple seats in the bar and Chris and I had some PBR tallboys while waiting. Close to 3 we bought our tickets and headed up the lift to Upper Bowl. When we got off the lift Chris and Emily rode ahead and started up the trail to the top of upper Bowl which we made it up quicker than I thought we would. From the top was a double black diamond trail for mountain bikers which was just a road of really loose rocks... pretty crappy. From there we ducked down a blue square to a single diamond which honestly was far more difficult than the double. It was certainly interesting seeing the trails that I bomb down every winter in a completely different season.
At the halfway beer house there was a wedding set up.
It had never occurred to me that people would have weddings here... A ski resort, in the mountains, with a giant volcano framed in the distance under a glowing orange/red sunset with glaciers and alpenglow... a perfect setting for a wedding... certainly gave me a lot to think about!

After a few more runs (crappy trails in our opinion) and a blown back tire, we decided to try out the bike terrain park below. I had a lot of fun ramping up speed slowly on the table tops trying to clear them. Eventually I worked up enough speed to get a descent amount of air to do it and even dropped a very small rock face to the trail below. I’m happy I’m getting my nerve back when it comes to getting air on my mountain bike. No crashes, but if I’m going to even think about attempting some of the crazy stuff we see at Black Rock I’ll certainly be wearing my full body protection!

We decided to put our bikes away and end the day with a couple trips down the alpine slide. Emily had a traumatic experience as a kid watching a guy dump in one on the East Coast and scrape all his skin off his arms and legs on the cement. The one at Ski Bowl was plastic but you still wouldn’t want to smear yourself down it. It was the only time Chris and I had seen Emily shy away from something like this... it perplexed us! ha! The first run really sucked for me as I had a really crappy sled, but when Chris and I went up for a 2nd run most of the crowd had cleared off for the day and the girls at the top hooked us up with newer sleds... holy shit they were fast. Chris and I bombed down the track. I almost lost control a couple times trying to catch him on the way down. We had time for one more run but Em was out so we decided to head home instead. What a fun day at SkiBowl. Next year we’ll have to come back with some Watershed peeps and Kev & Alexa so they can enjoy the other, less adrenaline, activities such as disc golf down the mountain, go karts, etc.

No comments: