Powder Leaves Skiers Afloat At Crater Lake

In the immortal words of New York Yankees great Yogi Berra:

“It’s déjà vu all over again.”

For the second straight year, Central Oregon Nordic Club members were left in suspense on their annual trip to Crater Lake National Park before they finally got the ultimate prize – a ski from Rim Village with its spectacular, clifftop views of the deepest lake in the U.S., surrounded by cliffs.

Like last year, the road to the rim was closed due to heavy snowfall for roughly a full week before club members arrived.

To illustrate how much snow fell — a month ago, the snow depth at park headquarters was 49% of average, a ranger reports. Since, the snow depth has risen to 82 inches with even more at the rim, and this is now up to 74% of average.

Fortunately, for the second year in a row, snowplowing was completed while club members were at the park, with the road to Rim Village opening mid-afternoon on Saturday. That meant skiing not only with amazing views enhanced by snow piled high on coniferous trees, but also fresh, untracked powder that hadn’t been touched in days.

Low clouds did obscure the views for parts of Sunday, but the clouds also lifted just often enough to provide plenty of Kodak moments.

Thirty-nine skiers and snowshoers made trip, including roughly 10 new members. As always, there was plenty of merriment, camaraderie and excellent meals where the group stayed – the Prospect Historic Hotel Bed and Breakfast Inn, Motel and Dinner House.

“April and I really enjoyed the trip and felt very welcomed as new members to the group,” said Andrew Murray, who with his wife became the newest members to join CONC just ahead of the adventure.

While everyone wanted the rim, of course, skiers and snowshoers still found plenty of other places to enjoy while biding their time. On Friday, some stopped by Diamond Lake to ski, others went a short distance farther to Three Lakes Sno-Park, and CONC member/Crater Lake ski patrolman John Fertig led a trip through the Pumice Desert from the closed north entrance to Crater Lake National Park. Still others skied the East Rim Drive trail that starts near park headquarters, at one point gaining 436 feet in a 1.3-mile climb, which in turn meant a pleasant glide back down.

Skiers didn’t want to fall, though. It was easier said than done trying to stand back up in fresh powder that was roughly waist deep when not standing on skis or snowshoes for a platform.

On Saturday, some skied the East Rim trail again, while others sought destinations outside of the park. Another 10 club members donned snowshoes and set out to follow Raven trail to the rim, although they ended up traveling a longer, steeper route than planned, finally coming to a cliff partway up Garfield Peak and overlooking the lake.

Finally, around 3 p.m. Saturday, park employees reopened the road to Rim Village. Several CONC members in the vicinity quickly buzzed to the top for the view they had been longing for. Then a majority returned Sunday to actually ski and snowshoe from the Rim.

Club member Mike Coddington might have summed up the weekend best on the CONC Meetup site: “Great time, great people, great scenery.”

Like every other year.

Or, as some baseball dude once said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

(Photos by Martha Rose, Dawn Sykora, Sharon Evoy, Andrew Murray, Gary Kelley, Nikki Kelley, Pat Haim, Jeanni Capell, Al Matson, Woody Keen, Jo Keen, Carey Pircevich, Cheryl Renwick and Allen Sykora)


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