The burned-out landscape remaining from the 2003 B&B Complex Fires is a wonderful place to ski when conditions are right. The wide-open terrain makes it easy for skiers to go at their own pace and still remain in sight of the rest of the group. The downhill runs on sparsely-treed slopes can be equal to what is found at any ski resort, but without the crowds. Conditions on our trip were excellent (sunny, warm, and wind-free) with the one exception of a hard, icy, surface. Most of us had to use climbing skins on our skis to get any grip in the snow. By coincidence, we arrived at the Santiam Sno-Park at the same time as another group of mostly Obsidians, informally led by Sam Miller. We were all headed the same direction, so we traveled together for the first half of our trip. After climbing for two hours, we reached the edge of the ridge above Booth Lake. Sam's group continued on toward the south slopes of Three Fingered Jack, while we started our first downhill runs. After a few hours of sunshine, the snow had not softened, so we kept our skins on for much of the way down to Booth Lake to keep from going too fast. With skins, though, it was hard to control our turns, so off they came when the angle of the slope eased up a little. From Booth Lake to the southwest corner of Square Lake, we were constantly faced with the decision of whether to skin up to make it over each little rise, take our skis off and posthole up, or just struggle up over the slick surface. We ended the trip with a quick, two-mile stretch, somewhat parallel to the highway and generally sloping just enough to make it fun and easy. Our total trip was 7-1/2 miles and took 5 hours.Members: Hamilton, Brian, Sinnott, Randy. Nonmembers: McAllister, David.
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