Here in the Northwest we have an amazing cross section of ski areas. From the small community focused areas like Mt. Ashland, to the destination resort that is Mt. Bachelor in Central Oregon, there is something for everyone, and every ability level. There are really challenging runs and terrain out there, and then there is gentle easy to handle slopes perfect for the novice or the beginner level skiers or riders. Ski season here in the Northwest is a long one typically beginning in late November and running through Memorial Day.
Rogueweather will keep the focus local with reports daily for all four of the ski areas in our immediate region. They are Mt. Ashland, Mt. Shasta Board and Ski Park, Willamette Pass east of Eugene, (the closest ski area for Douglas County skiers and riders), and of course, Mt. Bachelor. In addition, you will find daily reports from areas in the Tahoe Basin and Mammoth Mountain in the Sierras, and also from Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia. You also get daily reports from Jackson Hole in Wyoming. Jackson Hole has been rated the #1 ski resort in North America for four years running now.
Remember, the guy doing this...Greg Roberts....is a former ski racer and raced throughout the Western US and Canada and competed in slalom, giant slalom, and super giant slalom. He also worked at Mt. Bachelor for 7 seasons.
CONDITIONS FOR DECEMBER 4TH.
MT. BACHELOR INFORMATION:
WINTER STORM CONDITIONS WITH HEAVY SNOW AND GUSTY WINDS
Mt. Bachelor reports that the snow is just dumping down and winds are roaring. They are expecting 7 - 10 inches of snow today. Winds are moderate to strong with gusts approaching 50 miles an hour at mid mountain. The temp at West Village is 28, and it is 26 at mid mountain. They have picked up 5 inches of new snow since Midnight. The base is 29 inches at West Village, and 48 inches at mid mountain. They have 3 lifts running today from 9 am to 4 pm. 36 runs are open. 16 runs were groomed. The groomed runs will have new over machine groomed surfaces. Early season conditions exist and there are unmarked obstacles out there. If you go off open runs, do so with caution. Do not go alone. The Nordic Center is open 9 to 4 daily. 4.5 kilometers of trails have been groomed and track set. The West Village base is in full operation. The Pine Marten Lodge has opne restrooms and Pinnacles Cafe is open. The parking lot at Skyliner is open for season pass holders. There are no facilities there.
Mt. Bachelor is the major destination resort for the Pacific Northwest. It draws skiers and riders from Northern California, to Washington state and beyond. Mt. Bachelor is well known for it's forgiving slopes and plentiful snowfalls. Unlike many resorts in Oregon, Mt. Bachelor seems to regularly get the type of cold dry powder more typically seen in the Rocky Mountains. Mt. Bachelor has the most lifts of any resort in the Northwest and the majority of them are the high speed lifts that keep lift lines small. The mountain itself is very spacious and has two main base areas, West Village and the Sunrise Lodge serving the east side of the mountain. Mt.Bachelor also has established a reputation for some of the very best grooming of their runs in the entire ski business. When I worked there in the mid 80s to the early 90s, Mt. Bachelor was frequently voted as THE best grooming at any major ski resort in the country. That legacy lives on. It is also highly praised for it's high speed lifts. The big news in the summer was the consturction of the new Cloudchaser Express left on the east side of the mountain. It is expected to begin operation at Christmas Vacation.
Mt. Bachelor has year round activities beyond just winter fun. In the summer they will run the Pine Marten lift to access the Pine Marten Lodge for dining and sightseeing on the weekends. In addition, Mt. Bachelor built an extensive system of Mountain Biking trails in the West Village area. These are well designed trails that will give a challenge to riders of all ability levels. Mt. Bachelor will be home to some premier Mtn. Biking competitions in the summer and fall.
MT. ASHLAND INFORMATION:
OPENING DAY AT MT. ASHLAND!!
Mt. Ashland opened for the season this morning at 9 am. This morning they have cloudy skies with a light mist. The temp at the Lodge is 34. Windas are light at the Lodge and moderate up top. They do expect snow to begin falling this morning. Three chairs are running from 9 am to 4 pm. Windsor, Comer, and Sonnet. 22 runs are open and 12 have been groomed including everything around Sonnet and Comer, and also Upper Romeo, Upper Juliet, Windsor Lift line, Avon, Upper and Lower Winter, and Upper and Lower Tempest. Ariel does not have enough snow on it to open yet. The top of Windsor has some thin spots so you will need to use caution there. However, everything around Comer and Sonnet has very good coverage so the lower down the mountain you get, the better the conditions. This is due to the work they have been doing for the last three summers. The Lodge and all base facilities are in full operation. The access road has spots of ice on it especially near the top. It has been sanded. Carry chains and drive with care.
Mt. Ashland has been providing Local Mountain Fun to the residents of the Rogue Valley since 1964. A very family friendly ski area, Mt. Ashland has a compact layout of just four chairs and one base lodge. It does make it much easier to keep track of everybody. It has something for everybody up there....but the higher end terrain is something that you just have to experience. This is one of the more challenging mountains to ski or ride on in the Northwest. It has been said if you can ski Mt. Ashland, you can ski anywhere. To increase the beginner experience, the Sonnet beginner slope has been regraded and a rope tow installed. Mt. Ashland typically is open in early December and the season will run into April. There is night skiing on Thursday and Friday nights from January through mid March. Mt. Ashland has a full rental shop if you need any kind of gear, and certified instructors are on hand to help you become the skier or boarder you truly want to be.
TIMBERLINE RESORT INFORMATION:
POWDER ALERT!! 10 inches of new snow in the last 24 hours. Timberline Resort has cloudy skies with snow falling this morning. Winds are light at the Lodge and higher out on the mountain. The temp is 24 degrees at the lodge. The base is 49 inches at the lodge with more out on the mountain. 5 chairs are listed as running today. The Bruno, Pucci, and Jeff Flood Chairs run 9 am until 4 pm. The Stormin' Norman Chair and Molly's Chair will run from 9 am to 3:30. Magic Mile is closed today due to stormy conditions. The groomed runs have new over machine tilled surfaces. If you go off open runs, you are advised to ski and ride with care. Unmarked obstacles exist. The Thunder, Conways,and Schoolyard Terrain Parks will be open. The highway to the mountain has packed snow. Plows and sanders are working.. Chains are required for all vehicles. Traction tires are ok for passenger vehicles.
Timberline Resort is located on Mt. Hood here in Oregon. It might have the longest ski season in the world with lifts running from the beginning of November through July. In my ski racing days, we trained at Timberline from late May through July. Timberline can and does get snow during all 12 months out of the year. In really snowy years it would be possible to do year round skiing on natural snow. The long ski season is what makes Timberline unique. It is not a big ski area in terms of acreage or lifts. But, if you feel that need to ski on the 4th of July...here is where you can do it with chair lifts running.
HOODOO SKI RESORT INFORMATION:
Hoodoo has snow falling this morning. 6 - 10 inches of snow is expected here today. The temp is 27 at the Lodge and winds are light at 11 miles an hour. The base at the Lodge is 33 incheas. They will have limited operatrions today. Two lifts will be running from 9 am to 4 pm. Manzanita and Easy Rider. Expect 17 runs to be open. There will be new over machine groomed conditions for the open runs. Early season conditions with lots of unmarked obstacles should be expected. Highway 20 to Hoodoo is reporting packed snow. It is snowing hard and continuously. Chains are required for all vehicles. Traction tires can be used on passenger vehicles.
Founded in 1938, Hoodoo is Central Oregon’s original ski area. Hoodoo sits on the summit of Oregon’s Santiam Pass and is Oregon’s most centrally located destination for winter sports enthusiasts. Just 44 miles west of Bend, 85 miles east of Eugene and 130 miles southeast of Portland, Hoodoo Ski Area offers more than 800 acres of terrain, 32 runs, five lifts, night skiing, and one of the largest tubing parks in the West. The ski slopes are on a big, rounded butte, with lots of wide open terrain. So whether you prefer deep and challenging powder or finely groomed runs, Hoodoo has something for you.
WILLAMETTE PASS INFORMATION:
Willamette Pass has snow falling and light winds this morning. They report a trace of new snow this morning. The base is 30 inches at the Lodge. Two lifts will run today from 9 am to 4 pm. Twilight and Magic Carpet will serve 7 runs of beginner and intermediate terrain only. Early season conditions prevail and you are urged to ski and ride with care. The Lodge is open. The Nordic Center is closed. They have not groomed any of the Nordic trails. Highway 58 to the Pass has slush on the road surface. Carry chains and drive up safely.
Willamette Pass is located in the Cascades east of Eugene along Highway 58 right on the crest of the Cascades. Willamette Pass is one of Oregon's largest resorts with a total of 6 chairs. It is a very diverse ski area in terms of the terrain. It has very gentle beginner terrain, but it also has one of the very toughest lift served runs in the country in RTS, which stands for Rough, Tough, Steep. It absolutely is. If you can conquer the top of this thing, you can ski or ride ANYTHING! Willamette Pass is very family friendly and lift tickets are modestly priced. If you have never been here before, make sure to put it on your list for next season. During the summer the Eagle Peak Accelerator Chair runs to provide access to miles of hiking and biking trails. They also have a number of activities that occur.
MT. SHASTA SKI PARK INFORMATION:
SCHEDULED OPENING NEXT SATURDAY DECEMBER 9TH.
As of now, Mt. Shasta Board and Ski Park is scheduled to open next Saturday the 9th. The forecasts look very promising to see more snow arrive between now and then. The forecasts for next weekend show big snow on the way.
This is the only seven day a week ski resort between Mt. Bachelor and the Tahoe area. The Mt. Shasta Board and Ski Park is a very inviting ski area that families just love. It has ideal terrain for novices and beginners, yet it also balances that out by offering challenging slopes for experts. Mt. Shasta Board and Ski Park is a very compact area so keeping track of everybody is very easy to do. They have night skiing Thursday through Saturday nights, and then again on holiday nights. There are a total of three chairs and a surface lift here. The surface lift is a rope tow that is used for beginners only. The season at Mt. Shasta is typically from early December to mid April. The Board and Ski Park sits in an ideal spot to catch the storms as they roll around Mt. Shasta so that the snow can fall deep in big storms. However, if there is a scarcity of natural snow, they do have snow making which can be used to augment the real stuff.....or create their own base. This ski area is a favorite of skiers and riders from both Northern California and Southern Oregon. It is the closest skiing and snowboarding to the Redding, Chico area, and Susanville in Northern California and many of the visitors here come from those areas. To get to Mt. Shasta Board and Ski Park take I 5 to Mt. Shasta City, Take State Highway 89 and then follow the signs to turn onto the access road. Mt. Shasta Board and Ski Park is unique for the western United States. It is one of the very few ski areas in the western US that does not sit on National Forest land.
HEAVENLY SKI AREA CURRENT INFORMATION:
Heavenly reports clear skies this morning. Winds are light at the bases and gusty to around 45 miles an hour on top. The base is reported at 20 inches this morning on a combination of man made and natural snow. 7 lifts are scheduled to be running today. 9 runs are open with all 9 runs groomed last night with machine tilled surfaces. The open runs has obstacles both seen and unseen. Do NOT go off open runs due to unsafe conditions The California and Nevada bases are open today.
Heavenly is one of the best ski and snowboarding vacation destinations in the entire world. Sitting right on the border between California and Nevada, you do literally ski and ride from one state into another. With Mott Canyon and Killebrew Canyon you get some of the greatest lift served back country terrain in the United States. This makes it an ideal place for experts. If you tire of getting a workout on Heavenly's terrain you can always take time off in the casinos at the bottom of the mountain in Nevada. A gondola serves that area now so you can get whisked right back to skiing and riding when you are ready. With the combination of the casinos, you get an experience that does not get duplicated anywhere else in the world. Ski or ride all day and then head to the casinos for outstanding dining, gaming, and entertainment. Big name performers are always on stage on the South Shore at the base of Heavenly. This is by far my favorite place to take an unwind ski vacation that mixes in so much more than just being on the mountain.
MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN INFORMATION:
Mammoth reports partly cloudy skies this morning. Winds are light. The temp is 39 degrees at Main Lodge. The base is reported at 28 inches at Main Lodge and 64 inches up top. 11 lifts are expected to be running today out of the Main Lodge and Canyon Lodge. They do have 30 runs open. 16 runs were groomed last night. The surface of the groomers is machine tilled. Early season conditions are everywhere on the mountain. There are many marked and unmarked obstacles. If you go off open runs, always go with friends. Never go alone.
Mammoth Mountain is located in the southern Sierras of California. This is the closest major ski area to the Los Angeles and Las Vegas metro areas. As such it can get very crowded in the base areas. Traffic to and from the mountain on weekends can be a nightmare. But, the mountain itself is huge and it can spread people out well. Mammoth is well known for running late into the season for skiing. Many years Mammoth can offer skiing on the 4th of July. Mammoth is also used as a spring time training center for ski racers. The US Ski Team has been coming here for decades to train during April, May, and even into June.
SUGAR BOWL SKI RESORT INFORMATION:
Sugar Bowl has sunny skies this morning. Winds are light. The temp at the base is 40, with 38 up top. The base is 25 inches at the bottom and 50 inches on top. 6 lifts are running, as well as the Access Gondola from 9 am to 4 pm. 69 runs are open and 32 groomed. The surface of the groomers is machine tilled. Use caution off the open runs. Always go with friends and never go alone.
Sugar Bowl is a personal favorite of mine from my early skiing days. It is a popular ski area for those in the Sacramento area, and also the Bay Area of Northern California. Sugar Bowl is in the north end of the Tahoe basin off of I 80. For something very unique, park in the old parking lots of the Donner Park Highway and ride the gondola into the ski area. This used to be the only way to get to the lodge at Sugar Bowl.
BRITISH COLUMBIA AND WYOMING REPORT
WHISTLER BLACKCOMB, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Whistler reports mostly cloudy skies this morning with flurries at times. Look for clearing skies later. Winds are light at the base, and breezy up top at around 20 - 25 miles an hour. The temp is 28 degrees at the base, and 15 up top. The base is 63 inches at the Village with more on top. 24 lifts are running today with top to bottom service on both mountains. 70 runs are open in total at this time. 33 runs were groomed on Blackcomb, and 39 runs were groomed on Whistler. The surface on the groomed runs is machine tilled. Early season conditions exist. When going off open runs, never go alone. Go with friends and have more fun! But watch out for obstacles out there.
Whistler Blackcomb hosted alpine ski racing events during the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. It is a very large area in terms of acreage and spans two mountains. Blackcomb Mountain, and Whistler Mountain. There is a village at the base of the two mountains that reminds me somewhat of Vail, Colorado. They can accommodate crowds very easily. You find the biggest lift lines in the mornings at the base of the Gondolas and the other lifts coming out of the villages. Once you get people up on the mountains lift lines become very short due to the capacity they have to move people. Whistler also has one of the largest grooming fleets in the world and usually offers more groomed runs than most ski areas have for runs in total. They do a great job of providing an excellent experience. Once you come here for the first time, you WILL want to come back.
JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING INFORMATION:
WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FOR HEAVY SNOW AND WINDS
POWDER ALERT!! 6 inches of new snow in the last 24 hours. Jackson Hole reports cloudy skies and snow falling this morning. The temp is 24 at the base and 7 at the top. Winds are light, but will become high to strong from the qwest later. The snow pack is 26 inches at mid mountain, and 48 inches on top. Jackson Hole has limited early season operations at this time. 4 lifts are running with 21 runs open. 7 of those runs were groomed last night with new over machine groomed surfaces. Early season conditions exist. You are advised to stay on open runs only. Do not go into closed areas as there are some extremely hazardous conditions.
Jackson Hole is located in the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming. A place of breathtaking beauty, it has been ranked as the number 1 ski resort in the United States for the last four years running. If you have been there, you know why. Excellent lift service to get you more runs. The runs are buffed into superb shape by a fleet of groomers. They see some of the driest powder anywhere and when it dumps here, it really dumps! The ski school is excellent, and the staff everywhere is friendly and welcoming. But when it comes right down to it, Jackson Hole has the BEST in bounds lift served expert and advanced level terrain in the country. Just outstanding! Courbet's Couloir is a legend. If you think you can handle steep, just stand at the top of that thing and work your courage up. But, you better be good! The Tram runs right above you so you are putting on a show. I highly recommend Jackson Hole as a great vacation. I loved going there in the ski racing days. One of my favorite stops. The nearby town of Jackson has plenty to see and do as well. And, Yellowstone National Park is not far away either.