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Monday, December 7, 2009

Champagne: wallowing in the real stuff

Posted By on Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 7:06 PM

One of the most persistent local myths (besides the old 300 days of sunshine a year one) is that the Central Oregon Cascades have "epic" powder snow conditions every winter. Let's get real. Our local mountains arguably get some of the best powder snow by West Coast standards but nothing like what falls in mountain ranges east of here.
Utah with its "greatest snow on earth" license plate statement does and the Wasatch Mountains (among other mountain ranges in the State) are where skiers get truly epic powder snow. That's epic as in champagne sparkly, can't-make-a-snowball-with-it, virtually moister-less, dry, flyaway powder.
I’ve skied both Alta and Snowbird when the champagne ultra-fluff was two to three feet deep and the skiing was, well- heavenly.
Further east there's the fabled Aspen/Vail Colorado Rocky Mountain high powder. South and bit east, there’s the Taos, New Mexico powder. Again, both places/regions have dry fluff with champagne powder.
But why head to Salt Lake, Aspen or Taos when we suddenly have powder heaven on earth in right here at home. Go outside and check out the snow that fell on Sunday. You don't need a shovel to move the snow because it's so light. Just take a broom and sweep your sidewalk clean in a couple of minutes.
Speaking of clearing sidewalks, we did a lot of that during Bend's last big (1993/94) winter. Snow fell consistently for almost 100 consecutive days and it was cold and light.
So perhaps this recent localized snowfall is a harbinger of things to come.  And if we're in for a repeat big snow/cold snow winter, it'll mean that by the end of the winter people will have skied or rode Lava Butte, Pilot Butte and tracked out the ridge to the west of OMSI at the end of Skyliner's Road.
We have a classic champagne powder moment at hand. Carpe diem and ski and ride the fluff now and forever store the experience in your memory to cherish for years to come.


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