South Sister; bike...crappy ski...bike
Monday, 17 May: Best wife and I wanted to ski south before the weather turned and the new permitting system could potentially block us. We opted to park at the Lava Lake gate closure because it was closer for us from Eugene and it's up in the morning and down after the ski. It was 9.9 miles - about 866' climb/133' down. It took 1.20hr up and only 40 minutes down after the ski. Super glad we did this - on the way back it felt like completely down hill. From Dutchman Flat it is 6.2miles 1k' down (but up after the ski).
The road was completely clean and clear. About 2'-3' of snow at Devils Lake TH. Easy skin thru the gully to the Grand Desert plateau. Was very surprised of the melt-off up high on the south face. Suspect in another week (or less) it may be difficult to link turns the whole way down. VERY windy and cold on top. Skied down around 1:00p - the snow wasn't all that great. Really sun-cuppy and lumpy and whatever else you want to call it.
Met a great retired US Forest Worker who said they plan to open the north entrance gate (at Bachelor) to Elk Lake 'next week' (maybe that's Monday, not sure?). Also met some super people from PDX, Hood River and three from Wyoming (glad we could share the PNW).