pond-skim

Thousands of skiers and snowboarders kicked off spring break on Mount Hood with bikini weather, pond skim shenanigans and sweet snow from the Outback to Palmer to Clark Canyon.

Large crowds gathered to soak up rays at the Mazot at Mt. Hood Meadows and cheer on the pond skimmers at Skibowl's Snowbeach Festival, including the great masked Nacho Libre, pictured here pulling a backflip into ice-cold water:

Timberline opened its Palmer chairlift for the 12th month in a row, with perfect corn snow at 8500 feet.

Ski and snowboard cross athletes ripped down a wild and narrow course at Meadows in a World Cup qualifier called the Hole Shot (photo below by Grant Myrdal).

Backcountry enthusiasts soaked up stellar views from Tom, Dick and Harry Peak to Illumination Rock to the summit of Mount Hood before ripping down through lovely spring snow. There were even a few snow-kiters and paragliders soaring down in the mellow breezes.

It all added to a lively combination of natural beauty and man-made lunacy.

The perfect conditions lasted through Monday, before the rain and wet snow moved in Tuesday.

Here's a shot I took Saturday, through the trees of Outback 3 looking over at Mount Hood:

Here's what the west side of the mountain looked like Monday afternoon, from just below the Sandy Glacier:

And here is a slide show of some whacky moments from the pond skim contest at Skibowl: