Skiing Crater Lake555725094977

Late spring in the Pacific Northwest marks the start of Volcano Season, which is easily my favorite time of the year. As the resorts begin to shut down and the days get longer, the giant peaks of the Cascade Range warm-up and provide 5,000+ vertical feet of smooth, buttery corn, ripe for the harvest. Every year for the last five years, I’ve made the trek north from Tahoe to spend summers in Portland, and every year I make sure to bag a couple of volcanoes on the way. This year, one of the stops was Crater Lake with the TREW crew for some unbelievable sunset turns. My ski of choice for these PNW spring missions is always the Hoji. It’s lightweight, surfy, playful, and boy do they love a little corn chowder. It’s the perfect profile for the big approaches and silky smooth snow you get to blast through on the way down.

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Photos: Emily Tidwell

"My ski of choice for these PNW spring missions is always the HOJI. It's lightweight, surfy, playful, and boy do they love a little corn chowder."

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Photo: Emily Tidwell

I pulled up to the Crater Lake Lodge on a warm, sunny afternoon in early May to meet up with the TREW Gear team and spend some quality mountain time with a few of my favorite people. The crew: TREW Gear Operations Manager and 4FRNT Raven aficionado Katherine Donnelly; Light magician and supremely talented photographer Emily Tidwell; and freeride/banked slalom snowboard badass Audrey Hebert. It’s an easy approach as we made the two-mile trek in from the south end along the windy rim road. The objective was The Watchman lookout station, which sits high above Crater Lake and is a quick skin up from the road.

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Photo: Emily Tidwell

The striking blue lake was formed by the collapse of an old volcano and is over 1,900 feet deep, making it the deepest in North America. As we enjoyed the views, everyone pulled out their favorite snacks and put down a few beers as the afternoon light faded to a golden evening glow. With the sun setting to the west we clicked in and made the short descent back to the road with the lake in the background. It’s not a long ski, but it serves up some of the most satisfying, picturesque turns you’ll ever make. The hike out back along the rim road was nothing short of magical as the sun slipped behind the rolling forested hills. As we made our way down the road and back to the cars, there was one clear consensus: We’d be back again next spring to do it all again.

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Photo: Emily Tidwell

I can’t wait to get my hands on the new re-engineered Hoji for the next Volcano Season. I’ve always been a big fan of the ski and it’s been a part of the quiver for the last five seasons. At 6’1 180 I’m pumped to have a 191cm option and the new flex pattern is the perfect balance between the flex and rocker profile to be able to open it up on bigger terrain and be a bit more sturdy in variable snow. It sounds like the ski will be as fun as it’s always been in the pow, but offer a bit of dampness in variable conditions. A classic Eric Hjorleifson engineered ski that’s a bit more versatile and even better suited to be a daily driver? Count me in.

 

Words by Team Rider Eric Lee O'Brien

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  • Ok we skied it almost to the lake then we got yelled at by some wannabe ranger go big or go home

    Jon Corvo on

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