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.
WHEN THE SLOPES BEAT YOU UP
REPORTS FOR SUNDAY DEC. 15th
Ski areas in green are open. Ski areas in black are still closed waiting to open.
OREGON SKI AREAS
MT. BACHELOR INFORMATION:
Mt. Bachelor reports sunny skies. The temp is 21 degrees at West Village, and 17 at mid mountain. Winds are light. There is 25 inches of snow at West Village, and 31 inches at mid mountain. They are operating 9 am to 4 pm daily. They will have 10 lifts open today. 7 chairs including Pine Marten, Skyliner, Sunrise, and Rainbow, 3 beginner lifts at Sunrise, and then 3 surface lifts with 2 at Sunrise and the Chipmunk Carpet at West Village. 49 runs are now open. 22 runs have been groomed. The surface of the groomed runs is packed powder. They are working hard to prep Cloudchaser, Outback, and Northwest Express to be able to open them as soon as possible. From the reports we hear, it looks like one more good storm opens Cloudchaser and Outback. Of course, that is contingent on holding the snow they have now. They will have all services at West Village and at Sunrise Lodge open today. The Nordic Center will be open with 26 kilometers of trails. 23.5 kilometers have been groomed and set. Century Drive to the mountain has packed snow and icy conditions. Plows and sanders are working. Carry chains and drive up with caution.
Since mountain crews are currently preparing the mountain for opening, which includes grooming operations to track-pack the snow, the Winter Uphill Travel Policy is now in effect. This means ALL OF MT. BACHELOR IS CLOSED TO HIKING with the exception of the Cinder Cone at West Village..
Speaking of increasing operations, Mt. Bachelor was VERY busy with a major upgrade this summer....especially at Sunrise Lodge. This is called the Woodward Mountain Park. It is actually incorporated all over Mt. Bachelor. The most visible new components to it are at Sunrise Lodge. Click here for more information.
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 keeps 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 in skier surveys for it's high speed lifts.
TIMBERLINE RESORT INFORMATION:
TIMBERLINE HIGHWAY IS CLOSED TO UPHILL TRAVEL AS ALL PARKING IS FULL
Timberline reports sunny skies. The temp is 21 degrees at the Lodge. Winds are breezy to 15 miles an hour, with higher gusts out on the mountain. There was 3 inches of new snow in the last 24 hours. There is 34 inches of snow at the Lodge. They have five lifts, Bruno, Pucci, Molly's, Jeff Flood Express and Stormin Norman running. Bruno, Pucci, and Jeff Flood run 9 am to 4 pm. Molly's and Stormin Norman will close at 3:30. They have most runs off these lifts open. They have groomed some with soft packed powder as the surface. Expect early season conditions with many marked and unmarked hazards. For your safety do not go into closed areas. The Schoolyard and Thunder Terrain Parks are open. Highway 26 to Mt. Hood has snow pack breaking up and slick conditions. Timberline Highway to the Lodge has packed snow and icy conditions. Plows, and sanders are working. Drive up with caution and carry chains.
Timberline 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.
MT. HOOD MEADOWS INFORMATION:
NIGHT SKIING BEGINS THIS WEDNESDAY
Mt. Hood Meadows reports clear skies. Winds are light under 10 miles an hour. The temp is 27 degrees at the Lodge, and 20 at the top of Cascade Express. There is 31 inches of snow at the base with 39 inches at mid mountain. Today, ALL lifts except the Cascade Express, Heather Canyon, and Daisy are open. Theywill fire up Blue if needed. Most runs are now open off the open lifts. The groomed runs have packed powder surfaces. Off open runs is skier-packed powder with 1-3" of new powder on top. Early season conditions - be aware of hazards and unmarked obstacles. Do not go off open runs alone. Always go with others. No uphill traffic in the resort. Please use the hiking routes outside the boundaries. Highway 35 from Hood River and White River Summit from Highway 26 have packed snow and icy conditions. Plows, and sanders are working. Chains are required for all vehicles at Bennett Pass coming from Hood River. Traction tires allowed in place of chains on vehicles under 10,000 GVW and not towing. Vehicles towing must use chains. 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.
Mt. Ashland information:
Mt. Ashland will run 9 am to 4 pm today and tomorrow. Today they report sun and fog. There was an inch of snow reported in the last 24 hours. There is 37 inches of snow at the lodge and 33 inches at the top of Windsor. The three lifts on the lower mountain are open. The Poet Rope Tow is running at the lodge. Ariel is still closed, but preparations are underway to get it open. That looks to happen soon. Most lower mountain runs are open. Grooming is limited to the very bottom of the mountain, mostly on beginner and low intermediate skill level terrain. Groomed runs will have soft packed powder surfaces. If you go off open runs, do not go alone. Going off open runs is not recommended due to low snow pack creating numerous hazards. OBEY ski area boundaries and do not go outside them. They are there for YOUR safety. All facilities at the Lodge are open. The access road is reporting packed snow and icy conditions. Sanders are working. Use caution and carry chains.
Starting on Thursday the 19th, they will be open daily for Christmas Vacation. After Christmas vacation, they go back to Thursdays through Mondays with night skiing on Thursday and Friday nights until early March.
WILLAMETTE PASS INFORMATION:
Willamette Pass is planning to open as soon as they can. They currently report 4 inches at the lodge. More snow is on the way in the next 7 days. There is no report on how much is at the top of Peak 2.
Willamette Pass 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 Willamette Valley, and Coos and Douglas Counties. They also see a lot of visitors from Northern Klamath County and Deschutes County. Willamette Pass has a total of 4 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 entire 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 to visit soon. 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.
HOODOO SKI RESORT INFORMATION:
Hoodoo is also on countdown mode. They have 14 inches of snow at the base right now. More snow is on the way this next week. Will it be enough to get them, open? We will see.
Founded in 1938, Hoodoo is Central Oregon’s original ski area. Hoodoo sits on the summit of Oregon’s Santiam Pass on Hoodoo Butte, 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.
WARNER CANYON SKI AREA INFORMATION:
Warner Canyon is absolutely going to be in operations at some point this winter. The forecasts for the winter do portray a snowy one. So, they have made and continue to make preparations to open as soon as they get enough snow to do it. Once they get to 16 to 20 inches at the base and can get it packed in, they should be good to go.
Warner Canyon is a completly unique experience in skiing in Oregon. It is a privately owned ski area that is operated by the citizens of Lakeview and Lake County who become members of the ski club. Every person working there is a volunteer. The ski area is open weekends, federal holidays, and of course Christmas Vacation provided there is enough snow. They have one chair lift which is a triple chair. There are 21 runs of which 11 are advanced/expert level, 5 are intermediate, and 5 are beginner. The average snow pack when they are open is 20 - 36 inches. They do have ski patrol on duty when they are open. Rentals are available in Lakeview at M& B Ski Shop which is at 4 North E Street, which is just a short drive away. They do have food and beverage services, but tailgating in the parking lot and at the lodge is a time honored tradition here. There will be years where Warner does not open at all. I can think of no other ski operation in the US that can tolerate years of not being open. But, Warner does just that. When the snow is deep enough, it is time to play! This ski area is truly kept alive through the love of a small town.
CALIFORNIA SKI AREAS
MT. SHASTA SKI PARK INFORMATION:
MT. SHASTA SKI PARK OPENING IS DELAYED. THEY WILL HAVE TO WAIT FOR MORE SNOW FOR THE BOTTOM OF THE MOUNTAIN.
Mt. Shasta Ski Park's opening is on hold until they get more snow for the bottom of the Ski Park. The upper elevations on Coyote and Douglas Buttes did get snow out of the last storm. There is good news there. But, when you click that link above and see the webcams from the Lodge it is clear they are going to need quite a bit more snow, and or cold temps so they can make snow to get open.
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. During the regular ski season, they are the only seven day a week ski area between Tahoe and Mt. Bachelor. 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 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, then 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.
MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN INFORMATION:
Mammoth reports sunny skies. The temp is 23 degrees at Main Lodge and 8 at the Summit. Winds are breezy to 20 miles an hour. They have 44 inches of snow at Main Lodge and 78 inches at the Summit. They are running 24 out of 25 lifts today. 156 of 161 runs are going to be open. 59 are groomed with soft packed powder surfaces. Use caution, especially when going off the open runs due to marked and unmarked hazards. If you go off open runs, never go alone. Always go with others for your safety. For your safety, stay in open areas only. 5 Terrain Parks are open. All lodges and facilities are open.
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 INFORMATION:
7 inches of new snow in the last 24 hours. Heavenly has sunny skies. Winds are breezy to 20 miles an hour. Higher gusts are happening at times on the upper mountain. We have no idea what the snow depth in total is. They are not reporting it. 16 lifts are open. 89 runs are open. 31 runs are groomed with packed powder surfaces. Expect early season conditions with lots of marked and unmarked hazards. For your safety, stay in open areas only. They are running the Tubing Center today. The Ridge Coaster is on hold. They have to clear the track of snow. The California Lodge is open, as is Stagecoach Lodge in Nevada.
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 open for their 80th season of operations! They have sunny skies today. The temp is 19 degrees at the base, and 15 up top. Winds are very light under 5 miles an hour at the base, and are breezy up top reaching 15 miles an hour. There was 5 inches of new snow in the last 24 hours. There is 40 inches of snow at the base of the mountains, and 65 inches up top of Disney. They will be running 9 lifts and 1 surface lift. The Crow's Peak and the Summit Chair are closed as far as lifts go. They will have 93 runs open, with 49 of them groomed. The surface of the groomed runs is soft packed powder. Remember, early season conditions exist, and there may be obstacles hiding just under the surface. It’s low tide! Ride with caution and have fun. PLEASE stay out of closed areas for your safety. They are making snow when conditions allow for it.
Sugar Bowl is a 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 off 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.
SQUAW VALLEY INFORMATION:
6 - 9 inches of new snow in the last 24 hours. Squaw Valley reports beautiful sunny skies. The temp is 26 degrees on the lower mountain, and 20 degrees on the upper mountain. Winds are very light to breezy on the entire mountain. There is 40 inches of snow at the base of the mountain, and 86 inches for the upper mountain. They have 14 lifts running. 122 runs are open, and 34 have been groomed with soft packed powder surfaces over the entire mountain. Remember, early season conditions exist, and there may be obstacles hiding just underneath the surface of the snow. Ride with caution and have fun. Please stay out of closed areas for your safety. 2 terrain parks are open. All lodges and facilities are open.
Squaw Valley is one of America's premier ski resorts. It hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics and has been the scene of many top level ski races and snowboard competitions. In years with good snowfall, Squaw Valley will have one of the longest ski seasons in California, or anywhere for that matter. Getting turns in with the calendar saying July can happen. It will happen this year. Squaw is very popular with skiers and riders from all over California and also from the Reno area. It is also a major destination resort for skiers and riders from all over the world. Even though lift ticket prices in the main winter season are very spendy, you will still encounter crowds here when the snow is good.
WYOMING AND CANADA
JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING INFORMATION:
THE AERIAL TRAM...AKA BIG RED....HAS CRANKED UP FOR THE SEASON!
Jackson Hole reports cloudy skies today. The temps are 14 at the bottom of the mountain and 13 up top. Winds are very light at 5 miles an hour or less. They report 1 to 2 inches of new snow in the last 24 hours. There is 36 inches of snow at mid mountain, and 52 inches at the top. They have 10 out of 13 lifts running. 54 runs are open and 33 groomed with tilled soft powder surfaces. Early season conditions exist, and there may be unmarked hazards. Ride with caution and have fun. Please stay out of closed areas for your safety. Look for more terrain and lifts to open soon.
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.
WHISTLER BLACKCOMB, BRITISH COLUMBIA INFORMATION:
Whistler Blackcomb reports beautiful clear skies today. The temp is 30 degrees at Whistler Village and 14 degrees on top of Whistler Peak. Winds are breezy to 15 miles an hour up top, and very light at 5 miles an hour or less at mid mountain. Winds are calm on the lower mountains. They have 20 inches of snow at Whistler Village with more on the mid and upper mountains. Most of what they are open on is man made snow and they have their snow making running full tilt. They have 16 lifts running today on both mountains. 14 runs are open and 13 groomed with packed powder surfaces. Early season conditions exist, and there may be unmarked hazards. Ride with caution and have fun. Please stay out of closed areas for your safety. Look for more terrain and lifts to open soon.
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.