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 in many surveys of skies and riders..
The guy doing the reports is Greg Roberts who worked at Mt. Bachelor for 7 seasons, and is a former ski racer. Greg raced throughout the Western US and Canada competing in slalom, giant slalom, and super giant slalom. Many of the ski areas outside of Oregon that are reported on are personal favorites of his. Especially Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Whistler, British Columbia.
Rogueweather has concluded daily updates for the 2017 - 2018 season. We will resume daily updates for the 2018 - 2019 season in late November. For you diehards that just can't put them away, there are ski areas that will offer you ski and snowboarding fun through May, and in some cases into June. Get that information below.
OPEN SKI AREAS
MT. BACHELOR INFORMATION:
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SPRING OPERATING HOURS OF 8:30 AM TO 1:30 PM IN EFFECT THROUGH CLOSING DAY
Mt. Bachelor is planning to be open through Sunday the 27th of May. They will be running Pine Marten, Skyliner, and Summit daily. West Village Lodge and it's facilities other than ski school and kids daycare will be open as will the parking lot at Skyliner. There are no ticket sales at Skyliner so it is for season pass holders only. Sunrise Lodge and the parking lots there, and the Pine Marten Lodge are closed for the season.
Mt. Bachelor is the major destination resort for the Pacific Northwest. It draws skiers and riders from Northern California to Washington 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 high speed lifts of any resort in the Northwest and 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.
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 premier Mtn. Biking competitions in the summer and fall.
TIMBERLINE RESORT INFORMATION:
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PALMER CHAIR OPEN FOR THE SPRING / SUMMER SEASON
Timberline will be open to the public into June. It is open through August, but come July and then for August it is open to serve ski race and competitive snowboarding training only. They will run the Stormin' Norman lift as long as the snow pack lasts and visit numbers remain up. They will run the Magic Mile lift to serve as access to the Palmer Chair and snowfield. Timberline has the longest ski season in the US.
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 August. 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.
MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN INFORMATION:
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SPRING OPERATING HOURS OF 7:30 AM - 3 PM IN EFFECT THROUGH JUNE 17TH
Mammoth has announced they will be open to the public through June 17th. They will be running somewhere between 7 - 11 lifts daily depending on conditions.
Mammoth 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 in April, May, June, and even into July.
WHISTLER BLACKCOMB, BRITISH COLUMBIA INFORMATION:
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OPEN THROUGH MAY 21ST WITH 7 LIFTS RUNNING ON BLACKCOMB MOUNTAIN.
Whistler Blackcomb has shiffted to their spring schedule in which they have just Blackcomb Mountain open. Blackcomb Mountain has a north facing slope and so has better snow conditions. And, they will shift hours of operation to emphasize better snow conditions in the mornings. Whistler is a major training center for both ski racing and competitive snowboarding and as such, they will see lifts spinning into late July. But, being open to the public typically ends at some point in June.
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.
CLOSED FOR THE SEASON
MT. ASHLAND INFORMATION:
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.
MT. SHASTA SKI PARK INFORMATION:
This is the only seven days a week ski area between Mt. Bachelor and the Tahoe area. The Mt. Shasta 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 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 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 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 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.
HOODOO SKI RESORT INFORMATION:
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 is located in the Cascades east of Eugene along Highway 58 right on the crest of the Cascades. Willamette Pass is the closest ski area to Eugene, the Southern Willamatte Valley, and Coos and Douglas Counties. They also see a lot of visitors from Northern Klamath County and Descheutes County. Willamette Pass has a total of 5 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. HOOD MEADOWS INFORMATION:
Mt. Hood Meadows is located on Mt. Hood's east side and is Oregon's second largest ski area. It has a total of 12 lifts serving it's terrain. And, that terrain is some of the most challenging you will find anywhere. But, there is plenty of easy going beginner and lower intermediate terrain here too. This is the most popular ski area on Mt. Hood for those coming out of Portland. It is the defacto ski area for Hood River and the communities in the Columbia River Gorge. Because of it's proximity to Portland and the Northern Willamette Valley, weekends and holidays can be very crowded up here. Meadows is blessed with a long season. It typically will begin in mid November and then will run through early May.
HEAVENLY SKI AREA INFORMATION:
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.
SUGAR BOWL SKI RESORT INFORMATION:
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.
JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING INFORMATION:
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 five 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. Jackson Hole in the summer makes a great vacation to see Yellowstone and then take in what happens in Jackson. They have concerts all summer long with musical choices from classical to hard rock. They also have theater performances as well. The Tram runs for sightseeing and their restaurant at mid mountain is open for dining. The ski runs become hiking and mtn. biking trails. There is a lot do here anytime of the year.