After 5 to 6 feet of snow fell last week in the Central Oregon Cascades, ski areas in the region are set up for a potentially stellar late-winter and spring season.
A stormy pattern continues into February with several quick moving storms dropping hits of snow. Here are the storm systems to watch this week.
Biking and hiking, zip lines and coasters, climbing walls and disc golf, concerts and festivals and the old-fav, a ride up the lift: ski and snowboard resorts in the West are changing gears as warm weather arrives.
Cinco de Mayo atop Snowbird. (Snowbird/Facebook)
This time of year, the snow is melting and bare ground begins to show. But the spring ritual of skiing and riding under a warm sun and on moist, soft snow is a fitting close to any ski and snowboarding season.
Pristine conditions to continue for Mt. Bachelor in Oregon. (Mt. Bachelor/Facebook)
It’s surely feeling and looking like winter across the West and Midwest as we wrap up the month. The East begins cooling off with snowmaking temps and better chances for new snowfall.
Hittin' the early jibs at Mount Bachelor. (Mt. Bachelor)
First-to-be-open honors for the 2017-2018 season may have to go to Mt. Bachelor, as the Oregon mountain dropped the ropes on a terrain park after a foot of early snowfall.
Seasons show their change at Aspen-Snowmass. (AspenSnowmass.com)
Summer gondola rides are coming to an end, the mountain bike heads into the garage, and thoughts turn to the upcoming ski and snowboard season throughout the West.
More powder to carve up at Bachelor with new chair lift. (Mount Bachelor/Facebook)
The new chairlift at Mount Bachelor will bring skiers and snowboarders into gladed steeps that previously required a long hike out.
The high-speed quad named Cloudcatcher opens up what is known as Low East – a below-treeline area of 635 acres on the volcano’s southeast side. The four-seat detachable lift will rise some 1,400 vertical feet and carry up to 2,400 an hour, and provide lift-access to some six miles of trails and assorted glades on that side of the mountain.
Cloudcatcher’s top terminal will be high enough so that folks can ski or ride over to the Rainbow or Sunrise Express – or get to the Summit Express loading area. It will also eliminate the 15-20 minute hike out of Low East.
Also this summer, crews shortened the Rainbow triple chair to keep its top terminal below treeline.
“The new lift and shorter Rainbow lift will alleviate capacity on the Sunrise Express and spread people over the mountain more quickly,” Mount Bachelor’s Stirling Cobb told SnoCountry.com, noting that a busy day at Bachelor can bring 8,000 skiers and riders onto the slopes. “The new lift also is protected more from the prevailing (northwest) winds that sometimes force us to close the northwest side of the mountain.”
Mount Bachelor is scheduled to open Nov. 25, weather and snow permitting, Cobb told us.
Previously, the last lift to go up on the Oregon mountain was a replacement for the Pine Marten chair; before that, the Northwest Express debuted in 1996.
Elsewhere in Oregon, there will be new conveyor lifts at Mount Hood Meadows and Mount Hood Skibowl. At Timberline Lodge at Mount Hood, the second phase of an interior remodel is done in the Wy’East Day Lodge.
Free rides all the time at Bretton Woods (Bretton Woods/Facebook)
A ride up a ski lift in the offseason both gives a different perspective on a favorite mountain and gets the juices flowing for the upcoming skiing and snowboarding season.