When Eric Davis lived in Montana, he went snowboarding as often as possible — sometimes on a daily basis.
Ever since the 39-year-old moved to the Oregon Coast, not so much.
“Our closest resort is not close at all, and coastal (snowstorms) are pretty rare,” he said.
But this past week, Davis, who owns and runs Oregon Coast Agates, an Instagram page where he posts information about the state’s most beautiful rocks, got to combine his love of the coast with his love of snowboarding after a rare snowstorm dumped 4 to 6 inches of fresh snow above the beach.
Davis and his 5-year-old daughter Indra didn’t waste the opportunity, loading up their snowboards and heading to Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area early Thursday morning.
Once there, they climbed up the Great Dune, a massive hill of mudstone and sandstone layers normally cloaked with sand. On this day, however, it was white.
“We were at the top of the dunes in blizzard conditions,” he said. “The usually sandy rolling hills were covered in a hearty dusting and looked like the mountain backcountry.
“The roar of the ocean was the only reminder we were indeed at a beach.”
Then they started riding, carving down the sides of the dune, above the churn of the Pacific Ocean, and then hiking back up.
“It was a riot and for a coastie like me it’s so satisfying to really be able to bomb down or really carve around,” he said. “There’s no lift or magic carpet to get back up the 240 foot dune, so in a way it’s very similar to backcountry snowboarding. You could bring trekking poles with powder baskets too (and we have), it saves your legs and conserves energy just like they would in the backcountry.”
Davis said he’s snowboarded the coast once before, enjoying a “few hour window of time before the flakes had melted away,” he said.
In this case, he and Indra were able to ride for hours.
Both Davis and Indra also sandboard, but there was something special about making it happen on the snow, and he recommended anyone on the coast give it a try.
“Keep a look out for the next time snow might be at the coast, and get prepped beforehand, because experiencing the feeling like you are both in the Cascades while being at the Oregon Coast is a truly surreal experience,” he said.
Zach Urness has been an outdoors reporter in Oregon for 15 years and is host of the Explore Oregon Podcast. Urness is the author of “Best Hikes with Kids: Oregon” and “Hiking Southern Oregon.” He can be reached at zurness@StatesmanJournal.com or 503-399-6801. Find him on Twitter at @ZachsORoutdoors.