Cat Skiing Mt. Bailey with the evo Portland Crew
Check out this cat skiing and powder-filled adventure that the crew from our Portland store lucked out with, thanks to Atomic! Words and photos by Brandon Alves.
Mount Bailey, when it’s good, it’s good. It’s all about timing, and our timing was superb this year.
Being that it was the end of March, our fingers were crossed for a couple days of fresh snow,
low temperatures, and blue skies. With an optimistic outlook and low expectations, we made the
trek along the beautiful North Umpqua River and up to Diamond Lake resort. We were greeted
with moderate rain showers and an energetic staff that stoked us out with talks of a promising
As we waited for the rest of the gang to arrive, we indulged in a couple cold ones while exposing
a few skeptical locals at the bar to a game of “Juke Box”, a game where someone picks a song
and the next person follows it up with another song with similar meaning. For example, if
someone plays ‘Stairway to Heaven’, than ‘Highway to Hell’ is a righteous pick. The sleepy
locals loved it, NOT.
Once the crew was all together we traded “epic” stories of winter adventures while waiting for
the rain drops to turn into snow flakes. As the clock struck midnight, chunky flakes took over the
night sky. The hype began to accumulate like the snow on the railing.
We awoke to dark storm clouds and a fresh 6 inches of light fluffy stuff. “Game on”, as Wayne
Campbell would say. After breakfast, coffee, and a beacon check we piled 16 bodies into the
van and then into the Bombardier snow cat. With wide eyes and rested legs we made the slow
and bumpy journey to our proverbial first descent. The rest is history…
Our first day on Mt. Bailey was one for the books, as they say. The guides were continuously
presenting us with fresh lines, quality snow, and positive vibrations. There’s nothing like sending
untracked slopes over and over again with solid shredders who have good attitudes. We took
six exquisite laps without any trace of ski tracks or humanity. It’s unreal having a whole
mountain of powder to yourself!
Our second day however, was unimaginable. Following an action packed evening full of
gourmet food from evo chef Andy Powers and a heated game of table hockey (a drinking game
that every one must play at some point in their life) we woke up and sent the snow cat up to the
tippy top of Mt. Bailey. The guides are only able to reach the summit a couple times a season,
so we felt blessed to have a blue bird spring like day that granted us access. The view from the
top is ineffable. With a naked eye you can see the volcanic mountain chain stretch for hundreds
of miles, and the immediate view of Mount Thielsen is unreal. It’s just so dang pointy!
Skiing under the supervision of the guides gives you added security and confidence. It also gives
you deep understanding of how dangerous it is out there and how one little wrong decision can end
with big consequences. It goes without saying that our monumental experience wouldn’t be possible
without the guides, the snow cat driver, and the team at the lodge. They know how to have a good
time! I would also like to give a big thanks to Barry Zamzow at Atomic for organizing the trip and
letting us demo skis. He also knows how to have a good time! Until next year!