Asit Rathod enjoying the soft snow higher up on Mount Hood. Photos by Joe Poulton,

The lift line stretched from the main lift to the ticket-selling booth at Meadows Tuesday morning as powder-starved skiers and snowboarders lined up to shred something soft and smooth after a historically thin snow winter.

About five inches of snow had accumulated at 5,000 feet, more than a foot up at 7,000 feet. Not enough to cover all the exposed logs, rocks and stumps, but it was enough to allow for a few turns through the trees at choice spots, some lovely lines down north-facing steeps, even some hucking off rocks (photo by Joe Poulton, skier Asit Rathod):

It was an excellent day for exploring wind-blown powder stashes from Vista to Shooting Star, and for hiking up for a taste of the upper mountain. That's what photographer Joe Poulton did, with skiers Asit Rathod, Robert Hammond, Jarrod Levesque and Jimmy Bruce.

But it was not a day to leap without looking, because as warning signs have been saying for months, early season hazards do still exist - even though we are far from early season. Several riders learned the hard way that their usual launching pads just didn't have enough snow on the landing to support a big stomp. But that's why they call them rock boards, right?

As of Thursday morning, March 26, the snow base is 51 inches at Timberline and 29 inches at Meadows. Snow depths are much higher on the upper mountain, and the conditions should be good for quite a while on Palmer at Timberline and Cascade at Meadows, including the the big new Cascade Spring Park.

The lack of snow on the lower mountain remains a problem, however. The latest news is that the beloved Sno-Kona Pond Skim scheduled for April 25th has been cancelled. 

The Ski to Defeat ALS vertical challenge, on the other hand, is ON for Saturday, April 11.

The forecast is calling for a spring-time-in-Oregon mix of rain, snow and sunshine through the last weekend of Spring Break on Mount Hood.

Thanks to Joe Poulton of Poulton Imaging for all of the above photos, and for this goofy hyperlapse edit of good times in soft snow on Tuesday: