Broken Top – high point you’ll get to is 8500′
Location: Three Sisters Wilderness – Oregon
The guidebooks I have at home are Oregon Descents by David Waag 1997, and Backcountryski Oregon by Christopher Van Tilburg 2001. You’ll also find some pics and home-made maps on an older website called skimountaineer.com by Amar Andalkar. We also just started selling Stevens Pass Ski Atlas From Alpenglow Publishing Studio By Dexter Burke – The BackCountry in the shop. These amazing mountain images from the air to help you visualize your ski tour ideas. I thought I had a clue until I started flipping through these three photo books. We have them in the shop for sale now. The other two are for Tahoe and Steven’s Pass.
This was a fun introduction to Volcano skiing for me, led by the “big man” as Steve called him, Jamie Schectman. This was mid 90’s. He invited us on our first East Side and Shasta Trip. We loved his stoke for backcountry skiing, which wasn’t called backcountry just yet. I had hiked Tuckerman’s Ravine to ski in college and fell right into ski touring when I moved to Tahoe in 1992. Tele was taking off with the 2nd generation Scarpa plastic Tele boot. We tried alpine skiing, but straight skis sucked, and the winters were huge. We had no chance of skiing the way we saw the local pros in the Warren Miller films. And it only took one trip up Tallac to start praising the god who invented skins. A few guys toughed it out with heavy AT gear, but most people in Tahoe were touring on Tele for the next 10 years. You were more agile, and it was a fun challenge to learn something different. I started the bike shop in 1994 in Tahoe City as a tiny 600 sq ft summer business. I was in a band in the winter and worked at Squaw at night and skied every day. After 2 years of that I need to keep the business open year-round, so I started selling Telemark and Touring gear in 1996. I had the first generation Dynafit bindings and Voile Splitboards in the shop that same year. Both proved to be winning ideas obviously, but most of those folks soon switch to tele to lighten up and be more agile. Anyway, Jamie smelled the skins driving by or something and became friends with the few of us at the shop and showed us what he knew.
Jamie kept going north in his RV and I don’t know what volcanos got skied, but I enjoyed Broken Top and South Sister. I might have skied Mt. Adams with these guys too, I forget. This trip consisted of at least Jamie, Steve Reynaud, Stacey, and Jesse Hendricks. I love looking at the gear we used, which of course we thought was the shit at that time. We did fine with that stuff too I’ll admit. I’m sure none of us could do it again if we tried though, we were young and skiing a lot
We parked at the Dutchman Flat Parking lot, aka Broken Top Trailhead. Jamie figured out where the snow-covered trail was that led to Broken Top Creek. Today I would use my Gaia app of course and be much less oblivious to our location all day long. Reading maps generally works until you are low on a mountain, in deep covered forest with vague terrain shapes. The slope that you actually ski on Broken top is only 1500′, and I bet we just did it once. It was about 6 miles to get out there. I don’t think we had helmets, and I see a lot of rocks lying around on the snow in these old pictures. I’d like to go back and learn the Oregon Volcanos better, but the Eastern Sierra is just so much more spectacular, larger, and closer. I almost always make it up to ski Shasta and Lassen at least once every spring. I make it to McLoughlin every few years and just learned Thielsen last year. I have a post with Mt. Jefferson live now, but we didn’t ski much that day. Steve and I skied Mt. Hood’s Wyeast Face in that same road trip. I’ve skied Mt. Adams and South Sister a few times. That’s the extent of my Oregon Volcano skiing experiences.
Buy this new book from our shop for arial photos of Oregon Volcanos! it sure makes me want to go back there.