This weekend, Taylor and I headed South along I-5 to Southern Oregon aiming to sample the Southern Oregon backcountry and ski a smaller cascades volcano, Mt McLoughlin. Unfortunately, with a busy week last week, Tay forgot to move her shovel and probe from her race pack to her touring pack, so on Friday evening we discovered that we didn’t have the right kit to go ahead as planned. We cursed bad fortune and looked for alternate ideas.
Taylor had toured near Mt Ashland before (she’s from Southern Oregon), and said that there was a lot of mellow terrain to be had, so we ventured out under blue skies with the goal of staying out of avalanche terrain.
Conditions were really superb, with recent snowfall of 1-2 feet which had consolidated into some really fluffy pow on a soft base. I was initially skeptical of skiing in the Southern Oregon backcountry; driving in the valley surrounded by spring flowers, you’d never guess that snow existed within the Siskiyou mountains, let alone skiable, wintry snow.
Everything that we skied is accessible from the summer road which leaves the Mt Ashland ski area parking lot to the Southeast. The road leads around behind the ski area and into a large bowl which houses a seemingly unused winter shelter. In this valley, “if you can see it, you can ski it”, and everything falls more or less into the 20-30 degree range that we were looking for.
One thing worth knowing about this area is that almost nobody else is skiing it, and the folks who are aren’t going far from the parking lot. We skinned 1-2 miles away and had complete solitude all day. If you’re in the are and the weather is fine, I can’t recommend it enough.