In early February we spent three nights in the new Three Sisters Backcountry yurts at the base of Tam-McArthur Rim on the edge of the Three Sisters Wilderness. Given the El Nino weather pattern influencing our winter weather, we knew good skiing would require high elevation and north-facing aspects. With the yurts situated at 6600’, the Rim pointing almost due north, and ski terrain extending above 8500 feet, Three Sisters Backcountry delivered.
The snow quality was excellent, right-side-up pow, with a beautiful layer of surface hoar that grew bigger each night. Tracks from previous days were not so much filled-in as they were grown-in. Like grass growing on an unused dirt road, crystalline feathers of frozen water vapor covered our paths overnight. Not only did this add to the stunning beauty of the volcanic landscape, but it also provided skiing that defined the onomonopidic schuss.
We were lucky to hit a weather window that allowed us to tour as far as we thought we could make it before dark (with the help of owners Shane and Jonas showing us around). This gave us fantastic skiing around Broken Hand and the Snow Creek drainage. The Rim itself is a choose-your-own-adventure playground of terrain features – bowls, couloirs, slots, and no-fall zones abound. There is no shortage of high quality terrain.
Three Sisters Backcountry has perched their two yurts (with accompanying sauna) at the edge of the wilderness boundary on the shore of Three Creek Lake. The yurts are beautifully constructed, custom structures. The yurts are accessed by snowmobile (a service provided by Three Sisters Backcountry) and the skin track leaves right out the door, and with some advance planning, tours end with turns descending right back to the yurts. – words and photos Jason Leslie