SKI REPORTS for 11/28
Yes......there will be a ski season for the season of 2020 - 2021. But, things are going to be VASTLY different than anything we have ever seen before. The days of just deciding on a whim to go up and do some shredding are over. At least for this season anyway. That is the single biggest change. Most ski areas are requiring some form of reservation before you can go up. So getting up in the morning and hearing there is 8 inches of new snow and deciding to go is not going to happen this season due to virus precautions. Bad as that news is...at least the ski areas will be open.
Before you head up to the slopes, make sure you are geared up! Our sponsors Black Bird Shopping Center in Medford is THE place to rent your skiing and snowboarding gear. They also rent cross country equipment. The last thing you want to do is head up to go enjoy shredding snow only to find out when you get to the ski area they have no rentals for you due to the COVID situation. But, stopping in at Black Bird takes care of it. You can also get the snow park permit you are required to have to park at any snow play area in Oregon. Click on their banner above to find Black Bird on West Main Street.
If you want to purchase equipment for alpine, cross country, mountaineering, or snow boarding, Rogue Ski Shop is your stop. They have a great selection to fit all ability levels. They are the pros at making sure you have the right boots fitting you too. That is the most important part of all because that is your steering and control system. They also have snowshoes and apre ski boots and other footwear as well as clothing for the whole family.
Oregon Ski Areas:
MT. BACHELOR INFORMATION:
Opening for the season on Monday December 7th
Mt. Bachelor will be kicking off the season very late for them. And, for the first time that I can remember on a Monday. There will be huge changes to their operations due to virus precautions. I cannot write them all out here. You need to click on their website link to get all of that information. Click here to get the full story
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:
Open for the season
Timberline has already opened for the season. Today they report low clouds/fog and misty conditions for the lower mountain. The temp is 35 degrees at the lodge. The snow pack is 49 inches at the lodge. 5 of 6 lifts are running today until 4 pm. Bruno's, Pucci, Molly's, Jeff Flood Express, and Stormin' Norman. Two terrain parks are open, Schoolyard and Thunder. All runs are open off the open chairs. Beware of marked and unmarked obstacles. They have also groomed many of the runs. The groomed runs have machine power tilled surfaces.
This summer the Pucci chair was upgraded to a high speed detachable lift. This will increase capacity and reduce time in lines. Both critical in the COVID world. As with every ski area going, Timberline is operating with reduced capacity, and conditions permitting. Capacity will be managed based on how many cars the parking lots are able to safely accommodate, first-come-first-served. When the lot is at operating capacity, Timberline Highway will close in Government Camp. People will be allowed up when spaces become available. Please plan on arriving after 7am when the roads are plowed, but well before 9am to gain access before the highway closes. Anticipate capacity to free up in the afternoons when people often leave after a morning of skiing. As we move through this winter, they will pivot and change as the situation presents itself..
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:
Opening day will be this Monday the 30th
The first few days of operations will be for season pass holders only, but then they will start adding daily tickets that can be purchased online on their website. Also, they are honoring last season's pass holders who did not renew the first three weeks of the season, as well as ticket, lesson and rental vouchers left over from last season, November 30th through December 20th. There are very thorough details regarding this on their blog.Click here to read about it. You will also find out about their COVID management plan and how they will operate this season.
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.
WILLAMETTE PASS INFORMATION:
Planning to open December 4th if snow allows.
That should not be a concern. They have 21 inches of snow at the lodge and at least 40 inches at the top of Peak 2. But, they will make that call on if they are good to go.
Willamette Pass was one of the last hold out ski areas in the Country to close last spring when the COVID situation began. They are well schooled on what they need to do for operations. They intend to pick up right where they left off on March 19th in the spring. Expect reduced access to the lodge and well spread out lift line areas.
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. In ski season they are open Wednesdays through Sundays and holidays. 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. Willamette Pass does not accept cash. You must have a credit card, debit card, or a pre paid cash card.
HOODOO SKI RESORT INFORMATION:
Hoodoo has opened today and tomorrow from 9 am – 4 pm exclusively for season pass holders. Please plan to use your vehicles as a base of operations. NO tables or chairs will be provided. Daily lift tickets will not be sold this weekend and AnyCards can’t be redeemed. The Lodge is closed, as are the tubing and sledding facilities.
While not the full opening for the general public, this weekend gives season pass holders a chance to get up and enjoy the snow that has already arrived at Hoodoo. They report 32 inches of snow at the base. Last year at this time they only had 14 inches. Much better start to things this year.
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. They operate Thursdays through Mondays and on holidays if they fall on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
WARNER CANYON SKI AREA INFORMATION:
Right now the status for Warner Canyon is nothing new. Closed, waiting for enough snow to open. Looking at the long range data, they should get that. The question is will that happen in time for the Christmas vacation period. Once open, Warner Canyon will also be working with COVID restrictions. Have not heard if the lodge will be open or not yet. But, so many people tailgate here as a matter of practice anyway.
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 Tall Town Bike and Camp at 19 North E St, 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.
Mt. Ashland information:
Mt. Ashland has announced they will be open with snow willing right in time for the Christmas vacation period. That is about all the good news. What will not be open this season due to COVID restrictions is very substantial. The Lodge and the Locker Building will NOT be open to the public. Bathrooms will be closed. They are going to put porta potties in the parking lot. There will be NO night skiing at all this year. You must pre purchase lift tickets on line. If you want to do ski school, you must also pre purchase that. If you need to rent equipment, that too must be done before you go up...and preferably at least two days ahead of time. You need to provide your own food and beverages. Their will be no services of that kind this season. You must also pre purchase snow park permits before you come up.
California Ski Areas:
MT. SHASTA SKI PARK INFORMATION:
Well, first things first. They need snow to be able to open. And there is a scarcity of that. They also have not had good snowmaking conditions so that they can throw man made snow down. Looks like it could be awhile before they open. But, they do plan to be open this season. Once open, all operations at Mt Shasta Ski Park will be reflective of the color code our county is in. Currently Siskiyou County where they are located is in code purple, the most restrictive code. As they say on their website; "a successful ski season at the Ski Park will require a strong partnership and cooperation from our guests, employees, regional communities, and local & state governments. We recognize how vital the Ski Park is to our local and regional economy. Working together, we can protect our guests, our employees, and the local community by embracing the well-known COVID-19 Guidelines and Standards."
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 two surface lifts 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 Mountain is now open for the 20/21 season. Review their new policies and procedures prior to your trip.!
Mammoth reports sunny skies with a temp of 42 at the base. Winds are light. The snow pack at the Main Lodge is 16 inches of mostly man made snow. They have 20 inches at the Summit, again mostly man made. They are running daily 8:30 am to 4 pm. 11 lifts are open today providing top to bottom access. 18 runs are open and have been groomed with very firm surfaces. Obstacles marked and unmarked are very present. Please stay out of closed areas as they are closed for your safety.
Canyon Lodge will be open today and tomorrow for parking and mountain access but have limited services available. Please note, the Village Gondola, Schoolyard Express (Chair 17) and Canyon Lodge will close end of day Sunday in order to continue snowmaking and terrain expansion in the Canyon area. Canyon Lodge, Eagle Lodge and the Village Gondola are scheduled to open for the season on Dec 18.
Remember to ski and ride with caution, early season obstacles do exist. "Know the Zone” – give others 15 feet around you at all times. As always, remember to mask up throughout the ski area at all times, respect social distancing protocols by staying six feet apart, and help stay safe to stay open this season.
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:
Heavenly is open for the 2020 - 2021 season!
Heavenly is open today on the California side until 4 pm with beautiful clear skies. The temp is 37 degrees at the base of the Gondola. Winds are light. The snow pack is 18 inches. They do have 8 lifts running with 13 runs open. All open runs have been grromed. They have very firm fast surfaces. Remember to ski and ride with caution, early season obstacles do exist. "Know the Zone” – give others 15 feet around you at all times. As always, remember to mask up throughout the ski area at all times, respect social distancing protocols by staying six feet apart, and help stay safe to stay open this season. At this time, all access to the mountain is from the California side via the Gondola and the Tram.
As with many ski areas this winter, you are required to make reservations before you go up. Click here to learn about Heavenly's system.
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 the 2020 - 2021 season!
Sugar Bowl has sunny skies with a temp of 49 degrees at the base, and 44 sdegrees up top. Winds are light. The snow pack is 12 inches at the base and 22 inches up top. That is almost all man made snow. 7 lifts are running 9 am to 4 pm. 36 runs are open, and 17 are groomed with firm machine tilled surfaces. Remember to ski and ride with caution, early season obstacles do exist. "Know the Zone” – give others 15 feet around you at all times. As always, remember to mask up throughout the ski area at all times, respect social distancing protocols by staying six feet apart, and help stay safe to stay open this season. You are required to make reservations before you go up. Go to their website linked above below where it says Sugar Bowl Ski Resort Information.
Sugar Bowl is a favorite of mine from my early skiing days. Sugar Bowl is celebrating 80 years of operation this season. 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:
Squaw Valley is open for the season!
And, this is the last season this ski resort will be known under this name. They have announced a name change for the resort coming in 2021.
Today they report clear skies with light winds. Conditions at the base show a temp of 48 degrees with a snow pack of 18 inches. For the upper mountain, the temp is 39 degrees and the snow pack is 23 inches. 7 lifts are open with 19 open runs. 9 of them have been groomed with firm machine tilled surfaces. Please obey all closed areas. They are closed for your safety.
Remember to ski and ride with caution, early season obstacles do exist. "Know the Zone” – give others 15 feet around you at all times. As always, remember to mask up throughout the ski area at all times, respect social distancing protocols by staying six feet apart, and help stay safe to stay open this season. You are required to make reservations before you go up. Go to their website linked above below where it says Squaw Valley Ski Resort Information.
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.
Canada and Wyoming Ski Areas:
WHISTLER BLACKCOMB, BRITISH COLUMBIA INFORMATION:
Whistler Blackcomb is open for the season!
Whistler Blackcomb has partly cloudy skies with snow showers at times. The temp at the base is 32 degrees. It is 17 up top. Winds are calm at the base and mid mountain, and breezy to 20 miles an hour up top. They report 3 inches of new snow in the last 24 hours. The snow pack is 34 inches in the Village with more on the upper areas of the mountains. They have 11 lifts open from 8;30 am to 3 pm daily. 58 runs are open and groomed with packed powder surfaces. Watch out for marked and unmarked obstacles.
Remember to ski and ride with caution, early season obstacles do exist. "Know the Zone” – give others 15 feet around you at all times. As always, remember to mask up throughout the ski area at all times, respect social distancing protocols by staying six feet apart, and help stay safe to stay open this season. You are required to make reservations before you go up. Go to their website linked above below where it says Whistler Blackcomb Information.
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 is open for the season!
Jackson Hole reports sunny skies. Winds are light top to bottom. They report 38 inches of snow on the upper mountain, and 25 inches at the base. They have 7 lifts running with 32 trails open. 24 runs have been groomed with machine tilled surfaces.
As is the case with all ski areas this winter, Jackson Hole Mountain resort is taking a lot of precautions. You can find out about them by clicking here.
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.