The forecast is calling for springlike conditions (warmer temperatures and a rain-snow mix) for a few days midweek and then back to cooler temperatures, which may help the snowpack set up. Depending on snowfall on top of that springlike base, we could be seeing fair to good snow conditions for sno-parks and the backcountry.
Upper elevations (and areas closer to the Cascade range crest) will likely have good snow conditions. Lower elevations could be crunchy, crusty, breakable crust off trail with a dusting to a few inches of newer snow on top of that.
Expect variable trail conditions. Most are in good condition, but others may have an icy, hard crust.
Low-elevation summer trails have been snow-covered and may have springlike conditions (soft, muddy trail tread) from warming temperatures.
A new snowmobile map will be out next week from the Central Oregon Snowbusters Snowmobile club. The map covers the areas around Dutchman, Edison and Wanoga sno-parks, Elk Lake south to Wickiup and to the McKenzie Pass.
Parking: It is extremely important to leave the lanes and designated no parking areas clear for emergency vehicles. Snow play is a great sport. It's fun. It's rewarding. But it can also be dangerous and it is important that an ambulance be able to get in if there is a serious injury.
Jumps: Do not use jumps if you find them and do not construct them. Serious injuries increase where there are jumps. It is far too easy to catch air and land on your back or neck.
Collisions: Watch out for each other. It is best not to hang around in the zone at the bottom of the sledding run. It's the responsibility of riders to slow down and stop before they get into the occupied area at the bottom, but bystanders should also watch out for getting hit by someone who may not see them or be able to stop.
Helmets: Whether you are adult or child, protect your head.
Ice: Temperature changes this week will likely make the hill icy and fast. Check conditions and take shorter runs — start midway up the hill instead of at the top. When it gets too fast, people can sometimes go as far as the parking lot and/or lose control.
Snow depths are highly variable: Most sno-parks have from 10-100 inches on various winter trails. Watch for low snow hazards at lower elevation sno-parks.
Meissner: Low snow but trails are groomed.
Wanoga: The sledding hill has been a crowded spot over the last few weeks, which means safety concerns.
Dutchman: Approximately 70 inches of snow on the flat.
All other sno-parks on Deschutes lack adequate snow for relatively safe trail use. Be sure to take a winter trail map with you.