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.
REPORTS FOR 12/13/2017 -
MT. BACHELOR INFORMATION:
Mt. Bachelor reports a mix of high thin clouds and sun this morning. The temp is 35 degrees at West Village and 44 at mid mountain. Winds are light over the entire mountain this morning. The base is 28 inches at West Village and 39 inches at mid mountain. Four lifts are running today. Pine Marten, Sunshine Accelerator, Skyliner, and Sunrise Express will run from 9 am to 4 pm. 45 runs are open today, 20 of them have been groomed with machine tilled surfaces. There are marked and unmarked obstacles everywhere out there in the open runs. On runs not groomed, expect uneven conditions with areas of very little snow cover. You are advised to avoid going onto closed runs or terrain due to safety hazards from thin snowpack. All facilities at West Village are open today, including the Sno Blast Tubing Park which is open from 10 am to 4 pm. The parking lot at Skyliner is open for season pass holders as there are no ticket sales there.The restrooms are open in the Pine Marten and Sunrise Lodges, but no other services are being offered. The parking lots at Sunrise are closed.
This weekend they will get more of the mountain opened up. The lifts that will run and runs and terrain that will be open are all very dependent on the snow coverage. But, they will open as much as they can. It is a safe bet that Rainbow and Carrousel will be running out of Sunrise. Speaking of Sunrise, the Lodge and parking lots will open up and then remain open for the season. Pine Marter Lofge will also be opening up for the season.
As for the Nordic Lodge and cross country skiing operations, they report they are feeling a bit more moisture in the air than usual and with air temps 29.7*, snow 25.4* and 64% RH, the snow spread and set up in the most fabulous way. Smooth, smooth, smooth, no squeak! The groomer did a bit of farming on the low end of the network, shoring up the Bungalow end of Woody's to keep it skiing nicely, along with Easy Back North, Zig Zag, Devecka's, Easy Up and the full menu of Uppers. Skate to start with classic grooming in progress.
Century Drive to the mountain has spots of ice. Sanders and de icers are working. Please drive up safely.
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:
Timberline reports high overcast and some fog this morning. The temp is 43 degrees at the lodge. Winds are light over the mountain. The base is 29 inches at the lodge with more out on the mountain. Five lifts are running today. Bruno and Pucci run from 9 am to 4 pm. Stormin Norman will be running 9 am to 3:30 today. Magic Mile and Palmer will run from 9 am until 3 pm. Molly's Chair and the Jeff Flood Expressis are closed again due to lack of snow. They did get grooming done on the runs off Bruno, Pucci, Stormin Norman, and Palmer. Expect machine tilled surfaces on those runs. Remember, do NOT go off open runs and terrain. Snow coverage is still very thin out there. Stay safe. There are three terrain parks open today. Schoolyard, Thunder, and now the Palmer Park. The highway to the mountain reports spots of ice. De icers, and sanders are working. Drive up with caution. Highway 26 has spots of ice. Sanders, and de icers are working 26. Please drive with care on 26 as you come up..
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.
MT. HOOD MEADOWS
Mt. Hood Meadows reports sunny skies today. The temp is 42 at the base, and a warm 51 at the top of Cascade Express. Winds are calm at the base and light on the upper mountain. The snow pack is 22 inches at the base, and 29 inches at mid mountain. Six lifts will be in operation from 9 am to 4 pm today. That includes the Mt. Hood, Shooting Star, and Cascade Express lifts. Right now Cascade Express is for advanced and expert level skiers and riders only due to the snow coverage. The majority of the runs off the open lifts are open. Some are closed due to lack of snow. They have also been out and groomed many runs, especially those for beginners and lower intermediates. The surface of the groomed runs is machine tilled. Early season conditions exist so be watching for marked and unmarked obstacles. If terrain is mark closed, please do not enter it. Their Nordic Center is open. They report 6 kilometers of trails groomed and set. Highway 35 to Mt. Hood Meadows reports spots of ice. Sanders are working. Carry chains and drive up with caution.
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.
HOODOO SKI RESORT INFORMATION:
OPENING WILL DEPEND ON ARRIVAL OF ENOUGH SNOW. DO YOUR SNOW DANCES!
No two ways around it....does not look like Hoodoo will be open for Christmas vacation. Things do look more favorable in January. Keep a good thought and do your snow dances.
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.
MT. ASHLAND INFORMATION:
OPENING WILL DEPEND ON ARRIVAL OF ENOUGH SNOW. DO YOUR SNOW DANCES!
Mt. Ashland is not going to be open for Christmas vacation. Not unless a miracle happens. January looks much better for the kind of snow we need to arrive.
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.
WILLAMETTE PASS INFORMATION:
OPENING WILL DEPEND ON ARRIVAL OF ENOUGH SNOW. DO YOUR SNOW DANCES!
While miracles can happen, it is not expected that there will be enough snow to open for Christmas vacation. Looks like the calendar will say January before we see the kind of storms we need arriving.
Willamette Pass is located in the Cascades east of Eugene along Highway 58 right on the crest of the Cascades. 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.
MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN INFORMATION:
Mammoth reports beautiful sunny skies this morning. The temp is 40 degrees at Main Lodge. Winds are light over the entire mountain. The base is reported at 20 inches at Main Lodge and 60 inches at the top of the mountain. We had a major surprise this morning. Mammoth will run 25 of 28 lifts today. This was not announced. But, they are were planning to open as much as they could for this weekend. I suspect this is a day to make sure they get all the kinks worked out before the big crowds come this weekend. Very good thinking on their part! A season high 124 runs runs are open. A season high 61 runs are groomed with machine tilled surfaces. There are marked and unmarked obstacles in the open terrain and runs. If you go off open runs, there are unmarked obstacles all over the place. For safety reasons, it is not recommended to go off open runs, or terrain at this time.
Mammoth will be opening up more terrain and the Canyon and Eagle lodges this weekend and they will be open for the season, or depending on conditions. However, the lack of snow cover is going to be a major limiting factor out on the mountain. Expect things to be VERY crowded for what is open through the holiday period.
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.
HEAVENLY SKI AREA CURRENT INFORMATION:
Heavenly reports partly cloudy skies this morning. The clouds are the higher variety, so a nice day with a lot of sun. Winds are light over the entire mountain. The temp at the base of the Gondola is 35. The base is 32 inches. 7 lifts are running from 9 am to 4 pm today. 19 runs are open and 13 are groomed with machine tillled surfaces. A great run to hit would be Olympic Downhill on the Nevada side. When it is groomed out, this is one of my favorite runs anywhere. You can really make some big cranking turns here and get your speed up. Reminder, early season conditions exist and there are marked and unmarked obstacles. The low snow pack will make going off open runs very risky. You are asked to stay on open runs and in open areas only for your safety. The tubing center is also open today 9 am to 4 pm.
Heavenly will also be opening up more lifts, terrain, and runs this weekend. Look for operations at both the California nd Nevada bases to expanded. However, the lack of snow cover is going to be a major limiting factor out on the mountain. Expect things to be VERY crowded for what is open through the holiday period.
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 reports lots of sun this morning. The temp at the base is 35 and it is a very balmy 51 at the top of Disney. Winds are breezy to 20 miles an hour at the top of Disney. The snow pack is reported as 2 inches at the base, and 29 inches at the top of Disney. This is all man made snow. They are making snow and will continue to do so as temps allow. The Mt. Lincoln Express, Nob Hill Chair, and Village Kids Carpet surface lift will run from 9:00am - 4:00pm. 15 runs are open and 14 of them have been groomed with machine tilled surfaces. Early season conditions exist and there are marked and unmarked obstacles everywhere. Please stay out of closed areas for your safety. The Access Gondola will be running from 7 am to 7 pm. This is the way they are saying that you should plan to access the ski area.
Sugar Bowl will also be opening up as many lifts, terrain, and runs as they can this weekend. However, the lack of snow cover is going to be a major limiting factor. Expect things to be VERY crowded for what is open through the holiday period.
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.
MT. SHASTA SKI PARK INFORMATION:
OPENING WILL DEPEND ON HAVING ENOUGH SNOW. THEY ARE MAKING SNOW AS CONDITIONS ALLOW. DO YOUR SNOW DANCES!
They are making snow and you can see that looking at the webcams in the link above. However, they are not going to be able to open in any real capacity for Christmas vacation. They might get a terrain park set up at the base outside the lodge. And, they might also get enough coverage to run their surface lift. But being able to run any of the lifts and open up some runs does not appear likely. Need to think snow and pray that storms arrive soon.
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.
BRITISH COLUMBIA & WYOMING REPORT
WHISTLER BLACKCOMB, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Whistler Blackcomb reports a mix of sun and clouds this morning. The temp is 27 at the base, and 30 up top. Winds are calm at the base and breezy to 15 miles an hour at the top of Whistler Mountain. The base is 51 inches at mid mountain. 19 lifts are running on both mountains, including the Peak 2 Peak gondola. All lifts are running ob Blackcomb except the Horstmann T bar. The Peak Express is running to the top of Whistler. 109 runs are open, with 66 groomed. Expect machine tilled conditions for the groomed run surface today. Use caution when going off open runs. Marked and unmarked obstacles are everywhere 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:
Jackson Hole reports partly cloudy skies this morning. The temp at the base is 22 degrees, and it is 22 at the top. Winds are light at the base and breezy to 20 miles an hour up top. The base is 24 inches at mid mountain and 49 inches at the top. Nine lifts are running today from 9 am to 4 pm. 53 runs are open, with 29 of them groomed. The groomed runs have machine tilled surfaces. Early season conditions exist. Marked and unmarked obstacles are out there. You are advised to stay on open runs and in open terrain only at this time.
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.