Monday, October 24, 2011

Skier Boyz: PNW Chapter

For the past few summer's I have left the Beehive state in search of freedom and adventure. My passion for skiing Volcanoes landed me in the PNW. I work year round as a mountain guide and during "volcano season," I work for Timberline Mountain Guides and Smith Rock Climbing School, based out of Central Oregon. This allows me to partake in a plethora of adventures, such as climbing with Sniffles at Smith Rock State park.
The weather is fickle in the Northwet, but with patience and good timing, you can land some incredible corn skiing in pristine locations. Every Volcano has its own energy and scenic vista of the ring of fire. Pictured below is Nick Pope, fellow guide, and soon to be partner of mine in the Patrouille des Glaciers race in Switzerland in April 2012. Its a 3 man team race from Zermatt to Verbier, covering about 53k and 4000m climbing and 4000m descending. We will patrol the glaciers, roped together for safe glacier travel. Here Nick is about ski the east face of Mountain McLoughlin at 9,495 ft in Southern Oregon.
Mountain McLoughlin has desecents on all aspects of the compass. That day we skied 8000 vertical feet on the East, North, and South facing slopes. The Northely facing (pictured below) has the steepest and most BMFR (Big Mountain Free Rider) terrain on McLoughlin. Nick is new to the Skier Boyz organization, but he fits in well. He might be the fastest and most dialed person I've ever been with in the mountains. He is real nice guy to match, which is a must! Thus, I am excited for him to meet more of the Boyz and start shredding expeditions with us. Kazakhstan, Pakistan, etc....Dream BIG!!!
I am trying to ski off the summit of all the skiable Cascade Volcanoes(getting close!!!), but I spend most of my time here at Mountain Hood 11,249. As a guide in the PNW most of my employment is guiding people to the summit and back on Hood. Its "mechanicalized mountaineering," meaning we either take the chair lift up or use a snow cat to access the Wilderness Area and the summit of the great one. Below is Moon Beam, basking in glory in lot at Timberline Ski Resort, with the South Face and Wyeast face of Mountain Hood looming 5000 vertical feet above. When I'm lucky people hire me to go ski corn from the summit! This lucky fellah skied the Wyeast, West Crater Rim variation to the south side, and the Sunshine route in 2 days on Mountain Hood. If you look closely you can see the ski lift and cut trails. This picture was taken from the top of the Old Chute on the South facing side of Hood.
After taking the chair lift up to the top of the ski area at 9,500 ft, we hiked the last 2,700 vertical feet to the summit of Mountain Hood. From the summit you can drop north to the Sunshine route, which is a 4000 ft descent As you can see here Doug is enjoying the perfect corn on the snowdome portion of the Sunshine rt. On this day of Independence(July 4th), Doug and I skied some grade A corn down the 45ish degree upper section of the Sunshine route, between crevasses and above the bergschrund pictured below. I solo skied the route the week before and the shrund was about a 10 foot vertical drop and a 5 foot gap. A week later when we skied it, the shrund opened up and there was about a 20 foot drop. I set up a T slot, put in a picket, and lowered Doug over shrund. After Doug made it to safety, I thought to myself, what would Shreddy do? Thus, I yelled down to Doug to pull the rope. I cleaned the anchor, pointed my skis, and went airborn over the gaping hole. You can see my corn bomb-hole almost diretly above and to the right of Doug's ski pole.
Mountain Hood is home to many steep ski descents from the summit!

If this seems fun to you, you can hire me as a guide for some wicked ski descents here in the PNW during the spring or in the Wasatch range during the winter months for some powder skiing. Here are links to the companies I work for in Utah and Oregon.

Happy Turns!
~Todd Glew


  1. Great blog Todd. Keep them comeing so a dad on lockdown can enjoy the great outdoors through your stories. Good luck in Switzerland.