It rained on the John Craig parade this year, as it undoubtedly did too often on John Craig himself. The event commemorates John Craig, who perished in the winter of 1877 while skiing with the mail between the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon. You can read his story right here on the ONC website.
Still, some 40 people showed up for the 2017 annual John Craig Ski Tour up the McKenzie Highway Saturday, March 18, despite the nearly nonstop rain. James Cagney, CONC co-president, reports that it was roughly 40 degrees in addition to the rain, but the snow was just soft enough to ski safely.
James reports that the snow was firm enough that eight people skate skied and one used a fat-tire bike. The other 30 or so people were on classic or back-country skis. “They were all smiles,” reports James. “People seemed to have a good time.”
All things considered, the ski was rather pleasant, although most people turned back at Windy Point when they left the cover of trees and were pelted by big raindrops that stung like rocks due to gale-force winds. Besides, the spectacular mountain views from Windy Point were hidden behind clouds.
Of course, this wasn’t the first time that skiers ran into foul weather on the route. The event is sponsored each year by the Oregon Nordic Club, of which CONC is a chapter.