At moments notice… I received a phone call from my friend Josh Daiek aka. Baby J. We had been talking about meeting up for an adventurous ski mission for some time now. Due to both of our hectic travel schedules and Josh’s recent injury, it was looking like we were going to have to delay our plans once again. Although, I could tell in the tone of Josh’s voice that his calcaneus injury had some-what healed; it was time to put the pain aside and go for it. He then asked me to load up our sleds, bikes, skis, and parachute (josh’s); we could turbo diesel our way up to Oregon for an open ended shred mission. It bobbled in my head for a quick minute as I quickly thought to myself and let out a “what the hell,” the soonest obligation I have scheduled is going to Hawaii the latter end of the month. Lets do it.
It would be my third time to Bend, Oregon this season. We stayed with Josh’s good buddy, Eligh in his glorified man cave stretching out over ten beautiful acres. Typical Oregon style, we started drinking IPA, talking about what was in store the next couple of days, and met up with Powder Magazine’s Matt Hansen and Grant Gunderson, for a few beers over dinner. Matt and Grant quickly gave us the run down, and what they were trying to achieve and capture for the article in next year’s magazine about the town of Bend and the activities that surround it to make it the place it is.
After a day of decompression, skiing Mt. Bachelor, and getting to know the crew I would be hiking, skiing, and shooting with in the days to come, I knew we had a great group assembled to get clean, fun, work done. After another night of IPA and good laughs at Crows Feet Commons – Ride-Drink-laugh (the local ski shop) owned and operated by Dave Marchi, we set out to the Tam McArthur Rim in the Three Sisters wilderness for a backcountry hut trip. Thanks to our guides at Three Sisters Backcountry, we were able to access a few ramps and lines I had been looking at year’s previous. It was classic spring corn skiing, long days that ended in a comfortable yurt with everyone gathered around the fire sharing stories of shred. Some more exaggerated than others due to mandatory IPA and these little boogers we were eating that made us all a little bit weird.
Due to long hours and excessive hiking in my ski boots, I developed a blister on the back of my heel. The following days were consumed by mountain biking and of course, more IPA. The trail networks in-and-around Bend to Mt. Hood are radical. Dark brown, moist, tacky dirt that reminded me of gliding on my skis down smooth corduroy. Bikes these days are basically motorcycles without an engine; reminding me so much of skiing in the way you have to look ahead to pick your line to send. After parting ways from Matt and Grant, Bubba and I no longer had obligations and were free and eager to explore untracked zones.
Eligh knew what we were after and he delivered the goods. We were able to access lines directly from our snowmobiles, dropping 1,500 vertical feet descending into the arena of a pristine Alpine lake below. This spot was ridiculous. Frequent glassy basalt flows in a landscape that looked out of this world.
Hungry for more and weighing our options, we decided to take advice from Eligh and head into a remote mountain range in Central Oregon. This “secret” location, must be kept hidden, but its mythical legend should at least get a shout out. A stunning 50 mile mountain range, similar to the terrain of Jackson Hole shot out emotions backed by adrenaline and got my blood pumping through my dehydrated veins. Super jagged, steep, exposed terrain littered with couloir, spines, chutes, steeps, and some of the most massive cornices my eyes have witnessed. The most impressive aspect about this hidden wonderland is that it is run by the Bureau of Land Management. The only way in, is granted through one of two gate keys. Josh and I were the only ones in sight. Equipped with our sleds, skis, and overnight gear we established our territory and ended our trip with a bang. Sleeping under the stars next to our campfire and snow/wind shelter I reminisced about our great skiing, my new friends, and how blessed of a life I truly live.