Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Skiing Dimple Hill

Today in Corvallis it was dumping snow all day.  One of the longest sustained snowfalls I had seen in this town since moving here.  All day at the office I watched as snow flakes fell and the roof of the neighboring building getting deeper and deeper.  At 4pm I had a sudden thought... it may be possible to ski in MacDunn Forest!  I and many others head up Mary’s Peak to ski as it is 4,000 feet but at just 1,000 - 2,000 feet the smaller peaks of MacDunn often don’t get enough snow or it doesn’t last long enough to ski and I wasn’t sure if anyone had successfully skied Dimple Hill at just 1,500 feet.  So... I was damn well gonna try.
Emily was on the couch home early when I got home and surprised to see me rushing around the apartment getting ski gear ready.  She gave me a crazy look as I dashed out the door and then drove up to the top of 29th street to start the skin up the trail.  There was plenty snow in the open fields at first but I had to walk with my skis over a small section of gravel path to avoid destroying the bases.  Once I got up onto Upper Dan’s trail from the Chip Ross Park area the snow got deeper on the trail and it was easy going.  I passed several people and a runner on the way up who gave me big smiles at my obviously crazy idea.  
I hauled ass to the top making it with about 30 minutes or so before dark.  I set up my camera on some sticky snow and got some photos and very lame video of me skiing the thick powder off the face of Dimple Hill.  It was so thick it just clumped together in front of my skis like a snowman stopping me halfway down the face.  Then a group of OSU runners showed up who also got a photo of me.  On the way down it was fun skiing alongside the group of 10 runners and between steep sections where I pulled ahead and flat sections where they pulled ahead we made it down to the Chip Ross Area at the base of Dimple Hill at about the same time.  
I had to walk the small section again in Chip Ross but made it back to the truck easily by dark but with very tired legs.  When I got home I sent a photo into the local Corvallis Gazette Times thinking it would be amusing to show a skier on Dimple Hill.  They replied and asked for a short story about the ski descent which ended up in the paper the next day.  I thought perhaps I may be the first person to skin up in AT gear and ski down which was noted in the paper.  I was pretty sure others had taken skis to the top to ski the higher elevation but I wasn’t sure about skiing and skinning from the base with alpine skis, not cross country.  Well, there were a few replies that it had been done with a photo of some guys skiing much better powder in the 80’s that was forwarded to me by the editor.  Even Chris Holm (no surprise there) had done it a few years back in cross-country gear from the top.  I pleased to be proven wrong and pleased that the article garnered a few responses from curious backcountry skiers of Corvallis.  And, it was a heck of a fun time for a quick after work backcountry ski in Corvallis.

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