The John Craig Historic Mail Carry (Ski Tour Mackenzie Pass)

John Craig

Near Christmas, 1877 — accounts vary as to when exactly he left McKenzie Bridge — John Craig headed off on skis eastbound over the McKenzie Pass with a bag of mail. He never made it to Central Oregon, and his body was found the following spring in a small cabin he had built on the pass.

The John Craig Ski Tour

Since 1972, the Central Oregon Nordic Club has honored John Craig's attempt to get the mail to Bend by skiing to the top of Mackenzie Pass.  It is a tough 2,200  foot, 7+ mile climb.  An average skier should be able to make it to the top in 3 hours or to Windy Point in two.  It will take about half the time to come down.  Bring food and water and rain gear - conditions at the top are often very different from the bottom.

CONC will groom a 10-foot-wide trail approximately 2,200 feet up the pass. Take a lunch and bring some extra clothing just in case the weather goes south. It’s pretty much a back country tour, except it’s groomed.  NOT good for skate skis.  NOT good for Beginners.  It will be groomed, but still very uneven and conditions are always uncertain.

For more see the Bulletin Article

Donations for the groomer's gas and to rebuild our beloved (but falling down) Swampy Shelter always appreciated! Save Our Swampy.com

Liability waiver

By signing up for this meetup, I agree to the following: Skiing can be dangerous and cause serious bodily injury or even possibly death. The organizers of this group and its’ members will not be held responsible for the actions of any participant at any event. Each participant attends an event at their own risk and is solely responsible for any damage to their equipment or themselves.


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  • rosalind o.

    My gratitude to the volunteers who made the event such a great, low key experience! We had spring snow conditions, which allowed for a fairly easy ascent and oh well, very slow snow for the descent.

    March 9

  • Siobhan

    Fun climb with a Slurpee-like return that allowed for a nice, controlled descent :). Thanks for organizing!

    March 9

  • John S.

    Great adventure!! Thanks James

    March 9

  • James C.

    Thanks for showing up! I did greet you - I was one of the two guys in Orange vests helping people park....Got to ski it later

    March 8

  • Mike S.

    Conditions turned out pretty decent in the end - thanks for setting it up!

    March 8

  • Stan K.

    Epic views!!!

    March 8

  • John S.

    I will meet everybody at the gate west of Sisters at 9. Hoping for good conditions!!!!!

    March 7

  • rosalind o.

    I expect to leave from my house in Redmond for the ski. Let's hope for good weather conditions!

    March 4

7 went

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