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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Snowflakes in the Forecast?

Snow in Bend in late May?

Posted By on Tue, May 24, 2011 at 8:13 PM

With Memorial Day approaching, meaning many of you are planning or trying to plan camping trips, outdoor concerts, music festivals, barbecues and other things that would seem appropriate for the beginning of summer, I figured I do you a favor and check out the weather forecast for you.

The weekend is incredibly crappy, but look to the right and see what we've got in store for the next few days.

What are those things on Thursday? Are those snowflakes? On May 26?

So we know that rapture thing was a hoax...but what the hell is going on?

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Friday, May 13, 2011

ONDA Open House Tonight to Announce 700-Mile Trail

ONDA unveils plans for a trail from Bend to the Idaho border.

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2011 at 7:26 PM

The Oregon Natural Desert Association is holding an open house tonight (5:30pm-9:30pm) at their new location in the Old Mill Marketplace (50 SW Bond St., #4) to make a big announcement.

At the event, ONDA will release details on a planned trail that would begin at the High Desert Museum and extend all the way to the Idaho border. The proposed Oregon Desert Trail would run 700 miles, snaking through southern Oregon before turning north and ending at Lake Owyhee State Park, just south of the city of Ontario.

You can learn more about the plan at tonight's open house, which will feature some excellent music from the equally excellently named local band Truck Stop Gravy, in addition to food and drinks.

Here's a look at the proposed map of the trail.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Today's Pine Party at Mt. Bachelor is Canceled

Bad weather means the Pine Party is canceled.

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 6:18 PM

We've been somewhat vocal in encouraging the entirety of Bend's workforce to disappear an hour or two early on recent Fridays to get up to Mt. Bachelor's Pine Parties -- the mountain's 4pm-7pm ski sessions on the Pine Marten chair.

But bad news -- today's Pine Party has been canceled due to a forecast that's calling for mixed precipitation. If you don't speak meteorologicalese, "mixed precipitation" can be roughly translated to "really crappy weather."

So, I hate to say it, but looks like you're going to have to stick around work this afternoon.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mud Be Gone: The Maston is ready for your mountain bike

The trails in the Matson Allotment are beginning to dry up.

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Following what seemed like an endless mud season, the trails at the Maston Allotment are again in great shape mountain for bike riding. Yes, there are some short muddy sections but they comprise no more than 10 percent of the long loop.

Some of the sections on the north end of the long loop are riding as fast as they ever have. But be aware that there’s a huge, newly fallen juniper limb blocking the trail just before (if you’re riding counter-clockwise) it starts to turn back south and parallel the Cline Falls Highway.

So how did riders rate the Maston on a 1 to 10 scale this past Saturday?

“Based on the fact that I thought it would be mud central,” noted one rider, “I’d give it an 11. But based on past rides here, easily a 7 to 8.” Most others asked the same question agreed.

There is talk of starting to create a singletrack on the berm to the side of the old canal sections of trail. Some riders have been using the berm and it makes sense to have an alternate path when the canal section gets axle deep in mud.

Also, a short section of trail is in the works for those who would prefer to ride around the Mason’s short, rocky technical hill section.

Photo: Bureau of Land Management.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Video Taste of the Mt. Bachelor Powder

Video of one of Mt. Bachelor's sickest powder day in years.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 8:40 PM

If you're one of the folks who haven't been up Mt. Bachelor in the past week, well...it's been pretty insane. Take a look at this awesome video of powder, courtesy of Hola! restaurants.

You need to use a flashplayer enabled browser in order to view this video

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cleaning House: Giving up my outdoor gear and memorabilia feels good

I'm getting rid of some old ski gear and memories.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 11:54 PM

I have no idea what prompted it, but one day in late October, I got this overwhelming urge to give away a great deal of what I have laying about the house, to strip down to the essentials and rid myself of the extraneous. The feeling proved not to be fleeting, but one that grew into a driving force.

First came loads of clothing and shoes to Goodwill and that led to gifts stereo gear, furniture, outdoor gear and apparel, and all sorts of ski gear to people who truly had a need for them. For example, at Christmas a bag full of warm jackets was taken over to the Bethlehem Inn the week before Christmas.

The point of this is not to call attention to myself as a saintly donor but to reinforce how good it is to not only to give things away but to trim down one’s personal inventory of stuff.


My end-of-the-year task has been throwing away (two recycle carts worth so far) some 35 years of magazines and newspapers. I might have had only a teeny photo or as little as a two-line blurb in some publication and that meant, of course, that I had to keep a copy of said publication.

Next up on my giveaway list is my collection of ski books. I’ve offered it via a ski magazine article to any ski club, library or school that might be interested. It’s comprised of well over 100 books – some rare, some pedestrian and some simply worth having for their kitsch value. My particular favorite is the official roster for the Soviet Union team at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.

After the books are gone there will be work on getting my collection of vintage and historic cross country ski memorabilia (boots, bindings and skis) accepted by either the Ski Hall of Fame in Ishpeming, Michigan or by some private collector.

Then they’ll be another attack on clothes and siege of Craigslist with sporting goods items with a net result, hopefully, of a clutter-free existence come late spring.

Certainly I’ll never get back to the days when a move from one house to another meant one load in my old VW van, but I can strive for a Katharine Hepburn-esque existence. Hepburn, as was noted on a famous “60 Minutes” interview, chose to live in a sparsely furnished apartment and had only a few items in her personal wardrobe.

Hepburn wasn’t a nutcase, but rather someone who realized that clutter and chattels can keep you down and take away your freedom. And as I’m finding, giving things up is very liberating.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No Trespassing: Backcountry bad vibes in the Rockies

Backcountry skiers in Telluride face new permits.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 15, 2010 at 11:55 PM

Thanks to Seth Masia of the International Ski History Association for a heads up on a story in the Telluride (Colorado) Watch newspaper entitled “Public Lands Access For Backcountry Skiing Debated Elsewhere.”

It’s a cautionary read for skiers in parts of the backcountry ski world where getting to the best skiing often means short treks across private lands. It’s also is a read that makes you glad you live and backcountry ski in Oregon.

Here are the opening paragraphs of a long and detailed, must-read story if you’re a backcountry skier.

“In what could be called a victory for private land rights over public lands access, the U.S. Forest Service announced last week it would close backcountry access points into Upper Bear Creek at the request of private landowners whose holdings abut public land. The announcement generated a torrent of criticism from many in the Telluride community, from environmental activists to backcountry skiers who have long considered Telluride’s Bear Creek to be a local icon and public access to it sacrosanct.

While specific to Telluride and its Bear Creek backcountry, the uproar currently raging amid Telluride’s citizenry is similar to heated conversations erupting in backcountry ski havens elsewhere. Those conversations, while unique to their location and specific political climate, nonetheless relate to one common question: How public are public lands?
Parallel debates rage across the ski industry, in Utah and Wyoming. Last month a group of close to a dozen landowners whose properties are located within the Cardiff Bowl area of Big Cottonwood Canyon, near Snowbird and Alta ski resorts in Utah, sent a petition to Intermountain Forest Service Supervisor Harv Forsgren requesting the federal agency to require permits for all backcountry users of the Tri-Canyon area of Big Cottonwood Canyon, Millcreek Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon.”

This is an issue that could change the sport of backcountry skiing and one to keep up on for skiers who have enjoyed skiing the Utah, Colorado and Wyoming backcountry.


Photo by Bob Woodward.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Please Release Me: Hjalmar Hvam's 1939 Saf-Ski bindings change alpine skiing forever

Hjalmar Hvam's invention of releasable bindings made skiing safe for the masses.

Posted By on Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Every time an alpine skier takes a spill and his or her bindings release on impact preventing either a leg fracture or something worse, they should thank Hjalmar Hvam.

An Oregonian by way of his native Norway and a short stay in Canada, Hvam came up with the idea of releasable bindings in 1939. His inspiration, as ski lore has it, came while on the operating table at a Portland hospital.

As surgeons repaired the leg he fractured on the same Mt. Hood slope in both 1937 and 1938, Hvam mentally worked on the concept of bindings that would release on impact. Legend further has it that he asked for pen and paper as he was wheeled into a recovery room where he roughed out a sketch of his bindings.

Before inventing the releasable binding, Hvam burst on the Mt. Hood ski scene in 1927 after moving to Portland. A year later, he founded the Cascade Ski Club and in 1931 was the first person to ski off the summit of Mt. Hood. This feat, considered a landmark in North American backcountry skiing, was done in the company of Swiss-born avalanche expert, and Aspen ski pioneer Andre Roch.

A cross country skier and ski jumper from childhood, Hvam won the 1932 U.S. National Nordic combined championship. Then he transitioned into the alpine events winning not only the 1933 Oregon State Championships in cross-country but also in slalom. Other accomplishments included winning a coveted 1934 four-way (x-c, jumping, slalom and downhill) title at a national meet on Mt. Baker and capturing the first two Golden Rose Ski Classic alpine ski races (1936 and 1937) on Mt. Hood.

As his reputation as a ski racer grew so too did the demand for his Saf-Ski releasable bindings, advertised as “steadier in slalom,” “safer in downhill” and “better in jumping.”

“Give your legs a break instead of a fracture” offered more Saf-Ski copy and by the 1950’s dozens of European manufacturers had followed Hvam’s lead and come to market with their own versions of releasable bindings.

Saf-Ski bindings were sold to retailers through distributors. Hvam himself also became a ski retailer operating shops in both Portland and at Mt Hood for many years.

He continued love for snow sports included coaching the U.S. Nordic Combined Team at the 1952 Oslo Winter Olympic Games and skiing recreationally well into his mid eighties.

Hvam, who died in 1996, was inducted into the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1967 and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Getting Out: Updates on Horse Ridge, Skull Hollow

Biking at Horse Ridge and camping at Skull Hollow.

Posted By on Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 6:19 PM

Horse Ridge

It’s that time of year when mountain bikers head to Horse Ridge to ride snow-free singletrack. What many of them don’t know is that the new parking area and trail access is open and should be used in favor of parking along the roadway.

In the words of the BLM’s Gavin Hoban: “Central to the development of the site were these motivations: 1) Address the safety of users, dogs, etc, loading and unloading in the state highway right-of-way in the face of gravel trucks traveling the road from the nearby quarry.

2) to mitigate the breakdown of the asphalt at the road's edge from

increased use at the roadside site

3) to decrease resource impacts to a non-hardened ad-hoc site

4) to provide a low-key, quality trailhead user experience in a safe off-street parking setting.”

So if you plan to ride the ridge, please help out and use the new parking area.


Skull Hollow

For many years the Forest Service campground at Skull Hollow has been popular particularly with climbers who wanted to get away from the crowds at the Smith Rock climbers camping area. Also key in their preference for Skull Hollow camping was that van camping was allowed there and you could have a campfire. The fact that the camping was free was a value added.

Then the USFS turned the campground over to a private concessionaire who immediately closed the campground for five months (November to April) each year and last year started charging for camping.

The reason behind the closure is simply that the concessionaire is responsible for any damage to the campground if it’s open and there’s a resident host on site. With the campground closed and no host on site, the liability issue goes away.

Members of the climbing community are trying to rally support to have the campground open year round as the USFS gets set to sign a new 5-year agreement with the private concessionaire.

If you want to know more about the situation or get involved, contact Ian Caldwell (iancaldwell@hotmail.com)

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