Ski Season Sneak Peek: Indoor Dining Room, New Space for Beginners Coming to Mount Hood Resorts

A new ski area for beginners, the return of indoor dining at the lodges and a controversial new skip line pass highlight a ski season that is also expected to see a fair amount of snow in the mountains. from Oregon.

Oregon ski resorts may not yet be open for business (with most seasonal openings delayed until December), but skiers, snowboarders, and lodge enthusiasts have a lot to look forward to as they eagerly awaiting the first heavy snowfall of the season.

The main question, as usual, is: what will be the right conditions this year?

Mount Hood is expected to be a bit colder than usual and a bit snowier than usual this winter, according to a forecast from the Climate Prediction Center. There is a 40% chance that the mountain will experience above normal precipitation levels and a 43% chance that temperatures will be below normal, according to the forecast, which covers from December 2021 to February 2022.

The Central Cascades of Oregon have about the same chance of receiving above, near, or below normal precipitation levels, with slightly higher chances of cooler temperatures, according to the forecast.

Northeastern Oregon, meanwhile, has a 42% chance of above-normal precipitation and a 38% chance of below-normal temperature, giving those who ski Anthony Lakes hope. .

This could be a pretty good season at Oregon ski resorts, who are preparing to begin operations as soon as the snow begins to fall seriously this season.

Jordan Elliot, president of the Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association, said the weather conditions were auspicious and ski resorts this year could see an influx of people who chose the sport last year, in addition to skiers. and experienced snowboarders looking to take advantage of it. favorable conditions.

He also said the resorts could look a lot like they were before the COVID-19 pandemic, with shared chairlifts and little to no exterior masking – especially after state health officials quashed Oregon’s outer mask mandate. Indoor masking is expected to continue, though resorts plan to reopen indoor dining areas this winter.

“Overall, I would just say outdoor operations are going to look like they were before COVID,” Elliot said. “The things we can see continuing are a lot of the pre-purchase things that were put in place last year” like contactless transactions and online payments.

Still, he said skiers and snowboarders should wear a face mask in their pocket, just in case it’s needed.

From new beginner trails to new dining options, here’s what to expect in Oregon ski areas this year.

The south side of Mount Hood at sunset on October 23, 2019.Mark Graves / The Oregonian

MT. HOOD PRES

The meadows of Mount HoodThe new Sahale Lodge offered limited take-out options last year, but this year it is expected to be fully functional, operating its Sahale Grill, Wildflowers Cafe and Bullwheel Bar with indoor seating. Indoor seating will also be available at other restaurants and cafes in Meadows.

This season will also mark the return of daytime children’s ski lessons, which were canceled last year due to the pandemic. Classes will include indoor supervision and lunch for children ages 7-14, with half-day classes for younger ones. Child care will not be available this year.

Other season updates in Meadows:

  • Heather Lift received a drive replacement.
  • A new seasonal cloakroom is now available.
  • The rental fleet is now stocked with new Rossignol ski and snowboard equipment.

TIMBERLINE LODGE

The big news to Wood Pavilion is the opening of Summit Pass, a new branding of the small Summit ski area, located just off US 26 in Government Camp. One of the oldest operating ski areas in the United States, Summit officially merged with Timberline after its sale in 2018, adding nearly 600 vertical feet to Timberline’s footprint.

This season, Summit Pass will be used as a space for novice skiers and snowboarders, who can purchase more affordable season tickets that cost $ 199 apiece. Ultimately, Timberline hopes to connect Summit Pass to its main ski area, creating a link with Government Camp.

MT. SKIBOWL HOOD

Night skiers should be happy with the improvements made this season to Mount Hood Skibowl. The resort has updated its metal halide lights with LED lights, which serve the dual purpose of reducing power consumption and providing better lighting for night skiing. Skibowl offers 36 night runs, considered the largest night skiing area in the country.

Other season updates at Skibowl:

  • The Food Truck has opened in Skibowl West, serving light meals, snacks and drinks.
  • The online shopping system will be updated in January for a better user experience.
  • Additional outdoor kiosks will offer lift ticket redemptions.

MT. BACHELOR

Mt. Bachelor made waves this fall when it announced its new Fast lanes pass, an additional daily pass of $ 49 that allows skiers to bypass ski lifts using a dedicated express lane. The new pass was criticized by Sen. Ron Wyden, who asked Mt. Bachelor’s parent company, POWDR, to delay implementation until the company “adequately explains to the public how the Fast Tracks policy will not exacerbate the equity issues that already exist in outdoor recreation. Fast Tracks passes are still available for purchase online starting Thanksgiving weekend.

Other updates for the Bachelor season:

  • The Snowblast Tubing Park will no longer function, which will allow the Red Chair to function daily.
  • Woodward Start Park will again offer free access to Early Riser, First Rays and Lava Tube lifts for beginners.
  • A new Mt. Bachelor mobile app will track turns, offer real-time lift updates, and allow skiers to connect with friends on the mountain.

– Jamie Hale; [email protected]; 503-294-4077; @HaleJamesB



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