The West's regional multi-mountain pass has ventured beyond the Southwest with an agreement to operate Willamette Pass in Oregon.
The addition of the 555-acre mountain means skiers and riders with the full-on Power Pass now have eight ski and snowboard mountains to chose from -- and the first outside of Colorado, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico that are owned or operated by Mountain Capital Partners in Durango.
Located an hour's drive from Eugene, Willamette Pass fits well into the size, vibe and on-the-hill focus of MCP's portfolio: “Willamette Pass Resort's unique terrain, incredible snowfall, operations that often extend late into spring, and its authentic community of local skiers and riders will be a perfect addition to our family of resorts," said MCP's James Coleman in a press release.
Regulars at Willamette Pass can expect to see improvements in infrastructure -- snowmaking, grooming and lift upgrades -- as that has been Coleman's strategy ever since he purchased his first resort, northern New Mexico's Sipapu, in 2015.
Opened in 1941 with two rope tows, Willamette currently has a magic carpet and four chairlifts, including Oregon only high-speed six-pack chair. Two of the other fixed-grip chairs date back more than three decades ago. Because of an annual average snowfall over 400 inches, snowmaking is limited, but skiers and riders should get more coverage as MCP settles in to operating the mountain.
With 1,500 feet of vertical, Willamette Pass has a 20-45-35 mix of trail ratings, with both long and gentle green runs and a couple of the steepest trails (R.T.S.) in the Pacific Northwest. Both front and back sides have a variety of ways to get down, including a half-dozen long blues and plenty of glades between trails.
The seven-mountain Power Pass consortium is streamlining what it takes to get on the hill with a new reloadable card and pick-a-day midweek season pass.
The ownership Nordic Valley has decided to go ahead with plans to install a new chairlift on the northern Utah mountain -- the first phase of an expansion to triple skiing and riding terrain.
The first tier of pricing is out for next season's Power Pass, and the Southwest Rockies regional season ticket has enticements to buy early, a new limited-ticket pass, plus accommodations due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus.
Since 1961, the Agassiz chairlift has lifted skiers (and now snowboarders) out of the base at Arizona Snowbowl and up to its 11,500-ft summit. Next season, it will continue to do so -- but in a much faster and more comfortable fashion.
As we bid a fond farewell to 2018, the editors at SnoCountry take a look at the news that shaped skiing and riding at mountain resorts across North America over the year.
Sufficient November snowfall and a steady diet of cold nights across the southern tier of the Rockies assured resorts in New Mexico and Arizona that they will open on time.
Another small ski and snowboard area in the southern Rockies is ready to expand: Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort has announced projects to add lifts, trails and more on-mountain dining.