Blue Mountains - Ski Touring

This is an expansive range of mountains better known for snowmobile recreation. Most of the mountain tops are in the 5000-6000' range. Although they are are subtle and undulating, there are some steep drainages worth skiing (and these can be accessed easily by snowmobile). Most importantly, these mountains can generate a lot of snow! The snow tends to be wetter snow compared to some of the neighboring higher mountains, so expect to see some maritime-type snow dumps during some of the storm systems.

Two ski areas exist in the Blue Mountains, Spout Springs and Bluewood. At times they struggle for snow, but other times they can have more than enough to deal with. Snowmobiling is popular because of the flat and wide open ridges and meadows that are loaded with logging roads and limited wilderness boundaries. An extensive snowmobile trail network exists in the Blues. Nordic trails also exist, mostly as ungroomed non-motorized areas near snow parks.

Lookingglass Ski

While not the most epic ski you'll find, if you're up for some easy road accessible terrain in the blue mountains you can ski some laps in the Lookingglass drainage. The access is from the Spout Springs Ski Area parking which involves a quick climb up over the ridge and off the other side. You could try riding the lift to the top, but you probably will be quicker just skinning right out of the gate. Skiing the drainages is tricky because most north aspects are heavily treed and the south aspe...

Umatilla Backcountry Ski

Albeit tricky skiing, some fun can be had in the North Fork Umatilla Wilderness near Tollgate, Oregon. The challenge is the mix of thickly and absently forested ridges with a variable snowpack between aspects that all funnel down to some nasty terrain traps. The culmination of this canyon can dramatically channel moisture upward during the right conditions to unload more snowfall than anywhere else in Eastern Oregon. The snow totals can be hit and miss from year to year though. The access sh...