We’re turning into mid-January with a busy and changeable weather pattern across North America. Two fast-moving (albeit mild) storms graze the East, while cold and snowy conditions persist for the West.
With high-country temperatures prime for snowmaking help from Mother Nature, the West's ski and snowboard season is upon, as a quartet of ski and snowboard resorts are making noise about opening soon.
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The first snow storms of the 2018-2019 season have coursed across the Pacific Northwest, and a number of resorts are gearing up for November openings.
More pow' in the trees at Tamarack. (Tamarack Resort/Facebook)
Early season snow storms are tracking right over the Cascades and Northern Rockies, and many resorts have already opened – some with improvements made over the summer.
Ready to carve the first turns of the season at Timberline. (Timberline Lodge/Facebook)
The ski and snowboard season is officially underway as Timberline on the slopes of Mt. Baker will crank up a chairlift on weekends.
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.
No need to hang ‘em up quite yet, but the list is indeed getting shorter. There’s skiing and riding in six states. Several resorts have stayed open continuously, while some others have closed during the week, but plan to re-open for the weekend. Here’s the rundown:
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