Willamette Pass Poma Lift loop
February 28, 1982
This report is prefaced with Dan Sellard’s experience of the Poma Lift as reported in the February 28th Register-Guard—
“The other trip, the bad one? I’ve been wanting to do it and have written about it: Take the Poma lift at Willamette Pass Ski Area to the top of the ridge and then ski clockwise around the unnamed butte to the Pacific Crest Trail and back to the ski area.
“Don’t do it unless the snow is just right or you’re a better skier than I am. The snow was icy when I and five friends made the trip, and I must have fallen 50 times. The trail is OK, but not on ice. Coming down past the Rosary Lakes was hellish. One couldn’t glide down, having to sidestep instead.
“Although we left the ski area fairly early, about 9:30 a.m., we skied (and walked) the last 1½ miles after dark, and that’s an experience I can live without.
“Those are the longest nine miles I’ve ever traveled under any circumstances. I came home so bushed and bruised my wife helped me into bed. The next day I was so tired I couldn’t think, so I left work in early afternoon and went back to bed.”
Our two car loads of skiers, Sunday paper In hand, got a chance to absorb Dan Sellard’s R/G column wherein he expressed his opinion of the infamous “Poma Lift Loop” that has caused so many skiers to come dragging into the finish point long after dark. Dan’s use of adjectives such as “bad” and “horrid” did not seem to dismay our group, even though, we were enroute to ski the same loop.
At the conclusion of our XC tour — nine long, hard miles of challenging skiing, completed ere the sun had set — the adjectives being bandied about by our enthused skiers were "great," “super” and the like. There were two good reasons for this. First off, we lucked out with 4 inches of powder to ski on vs. Dan’s icy crusts. Secondly, the Gold Lake exit that we used avoids a strenuous ridge climb needed to exit via Rosary Lakes, the route taken by Dan and his party.
Dick used his spiffy “new generation” Touring Crowns (lots of side cut) to carve some fancy telemarks on our one exhilarating downhill sweep, near mid-trip — and both he and Andy swapped turns breaking trail over 80% of the route. All but one of the ladies did the trip with flair and aplomb; demonstrating good skills along with the needed stamina. The exception was one who got tossed by the poma lift, requiring her to laboriously gain the remaining 500 feet of elevation afoot. That was a handicap from which she never quite recovered, and she was never heard to utter any adjectives resembling “great” or “super.” Nor “horrid” either. Those accepting the challenge were Jan Gallenstein, Bernie David, Christine Ligneau, Dick Hildreth, Carol Kompanik, Rose Marie Moffitt, Andy and Marie-Ann Thompson, and leader Bob Devine.