AS THE SNOW begins to melt on Mount Hood, the light of day will once again reveal the thousands of pieces of detritus inadvertently left behind by careless snowboarders and skiers. And as they do every year, the three major ski areas will direct their trail crews up the mountain to retrieve this buried treasure—in most cases, that means car keys.

“There are a lot of people having to find another way down from the mountain every year,” says Woody Hoye, executive director of resort operations at Mt Hood Meadows Ski Resort. “By the end of the season, we have enough keys to fill a filing cabinet drawer full to the top.”

And that’s not all. Typically, the crews at Meadows, who start combing for leftovers on foot, from the bottom of the mountain on up, find everything from soggy wallets to busted iPods, and even the occasional marijuana pipe (all of which supposedly go into the trash).

Next to car keys, cell phones are the most common find. Few of either, alas, are ever reunited with their owners. At Timberline Lodge Ski Area, the horde of roughly 70 volunteers who descended on Palmer Snow Field in September—at the end of the summer season, when it’s as melted as it gets—collected 200 garbage bags worth of loot. Anything in usable condition, like ski gloves, goggles, and even a few jackets, went to Ski Patrol. Over at Mt Hood Ski Bowl, crews even uncovered a defunct GPS unit.

In 2001, trail crews uncovered a human skeleton that had been there for years.

Of course, not all discoveries consist of garden-variety electronics: In the summer of 2001, Meadows’ teams uncovered a human skeleton that had been there for several years. The bones remain unidentified, but officials think they belong to a male. Another year, crews found a rusty, unloaded two-shot derringer handgun at the top of Mt Hood Express (the two discoveries are apparently unrelated).

Bodies and guns aside, Meadows stores these snow sports spoils through the summer, after which all unclaimed functional items are donated to the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs—which, we suppose, means that when you do your taxes next year, you should be able to write off that iPhone you lost at the bottom of Tilly Jane as a charitable donation.