Mt Hood Snowmobiling - Finally some snow, but will it last?

Mother Nature finally decided to dump some snow on Mt Hood. Original forecasts called for 1-2 feet of snow at as low as 2,500' elevation. In actuality, the snow never really made it that low. It was a decent storm above 4,000' elevation and great above 5,000' (great for the ski resorts). About 16" of snow fell just above the 4,000' level.

Sunday looked to be the best day, so I headed up to Frog Lake SnoPark for a day of snowmobiling. There was about a foot of snow in the parking lot and several other snowmobilers had already beat me there by 7:15 AM. The plows had not been through the snopark in a while and people were already getting stuck. I was by myself without my trailer, so it was easy for me to get in.

The temperature was about 30°F with heavy snow falling and moderate wind. After a quick jaunt up the trail, I turned around because of a downed tree. Back at the snopark, I met up with another guy from the Mt Hood Snowmobile Club.

Frog Lake SnoPark

We headed off in a different direction (toward Skyline snopark) and eventually met up with another group of club members. There were seven of us riding together in all. Luckily two guys in the group had chainsaws which were put to work on several occasions to clear downed trees from the trail.

Lots of downed trees

We rode all over between Blue Box Pass and Clear Lake. We explored some narrow trails in the forest, which were not very snow covered. The wind and dense canopy seemed to keep most of the snow out of the forest and confined to more open areas.

Lots of snow up higher and out of the trees

The snow was very wet, but at least it was deep in some places. At elevations below 4,000' the snow was very thin. By afternoon the snow had turned to rain and quickly started to melt what was on the ground. We all headed over to the Skyline warming shelter to warm up and eat lunch before heading home. It was nice to see all the snow higher up, but disappointing how quickly it warmed up. A local SNOTEL site (Mud Ridge 4,070') showed the snowpack condensed from 26" down to 20" by 6 PM. Unfortunately the forecast calls for increasing temperatures and no new snow. I imagine there will be very little snow down around the snoparks on Mt Hood by next weekend. This winter is shaping up to be one of the worst in my lifetime.

Gear List

2013 Polaris 800 Switchback Assault Snowmobile
HMK Summit V16 Pack
GMAX GM76X Helmet
Smith Phenom Turbo Fan Goggles
Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Max Electric Boots
Columbia Men's Echochrome Ski Pants
Columbia Titanium Hightail II Softshell Jacket
Columbia Triple Trail Shell Jacket
Columbia Powerfly Down Puff Jacket
Head Digital Sport Liner Gloves
Outdoor Research Ambit Gloves
Columbia Men's Fast Trek Fleece Hat
Petzl TIKKA XP 2 Headlamp
Olympus Tough TG-1 Camera
Sony Action Cam HDR-AS30V
Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility Snow Shovel
First Aid Kit
iPhone w/NeoTreksGPS
Suunto A-10 Compass


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Disclaimer: You are responsible for informing yourself of the hazards of backcountry travel and taking the necessary precautions. Loomis Adventures may not be held liable.