Heading into the US Bank Pole Pedal Paddle, those participating in the downhill and Nordic legs of the race are especially concerned with snow conditions on Mt. Bachelor. The amount of snow and the rate of which it’s melting can have a drastic effect on the snow portions of the PPP.
Tim Hoiness is a long time veteran of the race, with 2014 being his 22nd year of participation. He understands how too much or too little snow can impact race day.
“We’ve had years where (the end of the course) is covered in nothing but straw,” said Hoiness.
“For me, the hardest part is the skate ski,” he said. That’s why he is sure to get up to the mountain at least once before the race to get a feel for the snow conditions.
Even the rookies are sure to make at least one run of the Nordic course. This will be the first Pole Pedal Paddle for Drew Jones, and most of her anxiety is over the skate ski leg.
“Yes, this (PPP) will be the first of many, it’s a good tradition. But I am pretty nervous about it and have been practicing since December. So we’ll see how it goes,” she said.
For her, the snow conditions on the course don’t really mean as much.
“I think ignorance is bliss,” said Jones. “I honestly don’t really know much about the snow.”
Despite a slow start, the 2013-14 season on Mt. Bachelor has seen 410 inches of snow. That’s 40 inches more than the average of 370.
Cooler temperatures in late April and early May have benefited the mountain as well, slowing the rate of melting snow.
“The lower elevations, just below the mountain as you go to town are amazingly bare,” said Tom Lomax, the director of mountain operations on Mt. Bachelor. “But up here at 6,000 feet, we’re sitting in really good shape."
Lomax doesn’t have any concerns about the snowpack for skiers and snowboarders for the downhill leg. Even cross-country and skate skiers undertaking the Nordic leg of the Pole Pedal Paddle should find plenty of snow, come race day.
“Nordic is in really good shape too. Operationally, it’s going to be a really easy year for us to put it on,” Lomax said.
After finishing a practice run of the Nordic course, Hoiness agrees.
"All in all, we have great coverage and it’s a great course. I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
Jones, however, is just looking forward to getting the skate ski part of her race over with.
“I say once I get on my bike, I’m safe. I just have to get to my bike,” she said.