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Courtesy of the Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association – On the heels of a fantastic 2016-2017 season in the Pacific Northwest the forecast is for another “La Nina” winter season. La Nina is an abnormal pattern of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean that changes the heat and moisture distribution of the atmosphere, and therefore changes the position of the jet stream. The following graphic highlights the winter weather forecast from AccuWeather published October 8, 2017.
PNSAA resorts have had a busy off-season preparing for the upcoming winter with chair lift installations, expanded snowmaking systems, ‘tuning up’ ski lifts, new and remodeled lodges, parking facility expansion, summer brush cutting/grooming on runs, new rental equipment and creating a compelling array of learning programs.
Following are highlights of what’s new at the region’s resorts.
Anthony Lakes: has a new warming yurt at the top of the Rock Garden chair. The yurt will provide space for early morning yoga classes. The resort will also offer a new lift ticket called the “Parent Swap Lift Ticket” which can be purchased for $40 and shared by parents of children not of skiing age.
Mt Ashland: added 1000 sq. ft. with two new dining areas in the main lodge providing added seating, enhanced food service area and amazing views. The remodeled lodge includes a re-designed café, the rental shop will now be located on the main floor of the lodge with better access for guests and a renovated “T-bar” lounge. A new “Locker lodge” for seasonal locker renters has ski-in/out convenience and is close to the parking lot. The nearly $2 million investment was possible as a result of a fundraising effort last spring.
Mt Bachelor: invested $2.5 million in improvements at the resort including wider and smoother runs off the Cloudchaser lift by removing trees and stumps, grading the terrain and improving transitions between trails.
Mt Hood Meadows: celebrating their Golden Anniversary season with special events, 50th anniversary deals, a Golden Ticket giveaway culminating in a huge PARTY on January 27, 2018, with the awarding of a 50-year season pass. For the 2017-2018 season Mt Hood Meadows has replaced its Buttercup beginner chairlift with a new SkyTrac fixed grip quad, doubling the uphill capacity, combined with a ChairKit loading carpet – a conveyer that makes it easier for beginners to load, particularly children because of an automated height adjustment. The alignment of the replacement lift also opens much needed learning terrain, more than doubling the amount available in the past. To enhance the learning experience berms and rollers are being added to the ski area “Fun Zone” next to the Ballroom Carpet, as well as around the Buttercup beginner chairlift. The base facility at Hood River Meadows, on the eastside of the resort, was remodeled to provide expanded seating and more culinary options for guests plus increase ease of purchasing lift tickets.
Mt Hood Skibowl: embarked on a snowmaking project, including installing over 2,000 feet of specialized snowmaking piping and power underground bring the total to 12 hydrant locations throughout the Westside base area. The project will go as high on the mountain as the lift tower seven area on Lower Bowl run so snowmaking will cover the entire west base area. Also the Westside base parking area has been expanded by 50 new parking spots and will offer a free shuttle service between the Eastside and Westside on weekends and holidays. Additionally, installed a second tube conveyor lift for the main tubing hill.
Timberline Lodge: new, streamlined website at www.timberlinelodge.com. Built a rail trailer containing features used in Conway’s Terrain Park. This trailer will allow the crew to have the park ready for guests each day with more efficiency. Among the new features being created for this year in the park is a “waterfall” rail.
Crystal Mountain: added 29 new SMI Super Puma snow guns, making for total of 37 guns and a 350% increase in snowmaking capabilities covering 70 acres (approximately 53 football fields) including the Discovery Meadow, Quicksilver, Tinkerbell, Broadway and Upper Arwine’s. Investment for this first phase is $4.8 million. Phases two and three include extending snowmaking lines up Queens Run to the top of the Forest Queen Express lift and up Lucky Shot to the summit. Discovery, Gold Hills & Quicksilver lifts will be staying open later and new low energy induction lights were added to Quicksilver to illuminate the slopes. Gondola capacity will increase by 21% with the addition of 5 new gondola cabins bringing the total to 28. Campbell Basin Lodge has a new bar and wood stone pizza oven.
Bluewood: expanded the rental shop by adding 51 snowboards, 159 pairs of snowboard boots, and 120 more helmets. Built walls around the diesel engine powering the Skyline lift and installed soundproofing the generator to help provide a quieter experience in the lodge area.
White Pass: installed a 380′ surface lift to the Learning Center making it among the longest covered carpets in the state. The resort is also midway through construction of a new 4,000 square foot Ski Patrol Clinic and Operations Building.
Bogus Basin: added the “Glade Runner” Mountain Coaster, a 4,100-foot gravity-driven ride with bobsled like cars on elevated tracks, which will operate in both winter and summer. The coaster will load near the front (slope facing) entrance to Simplot Lodge winding its way up through the trees toward Pioneer Lodge, before returning on a downhill track to the base area. The beginner terrain has been improved/expanded with the relocation of EZ Rider Magic Carpet and addition of two new conveyers in the Simplot base area, tripling uphill capacity for first-time skiers and boarders. Remodeled the Simplot Lodge Restrooms on the plaza level and main floor of Simplot Lodge. Added a 12,000 square foot heated plaza area, complete with new furniture and gas fire pits in front of Simplot Lodge including the addition of Double R Ranch BBQ & Smokehouse, a permanent outdoor food kiosk located on the plaza featuring smoked meats, full bar, and other offerings.
Silver Mountain Resort: added a new intermediate trail, Klondike Express, in the Chair 2 Basin that allows for nonstop top to bottom laps and easy access to the terrain park. Expanded glades in the North Face Glades area of the mountain. Brush cutting efforts also increased in hard to reach areas on the mountain.
Schweitzer Mountain Resort: added new rental ski and snowboard equipment from Rossignol for the upcoming season. For summer, the resort is expanding the mountain bike trail system and purchased a new fleet of rental mountain bikes. With new direct flights between Spokane International Airport and Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco and Sacramento, getting to the resort becomes easier. Drive time from Spokane International Airport is 1.5 hours on major highways.
Whitefish Mountain Resort: moved Chair 5 (now named East Rim) from Ptarmigan Bowl to the East Rim making it first lift on the east side of the mountain. The East Rim Chair will create a stand-alone pod of skiing in the North Bowl and East Rim areas where guests can take advantage of early and late season conditions found on the upper mountain as well as an alternative way to access north side terrain, improve access to intermediate and advanced terrain. Ed & Mully’s Bar & Grill remodel includes a new façade, redesigned entrances from both slope side and the village side, removed the atrium replacing it with a new roof and windows looking up at the slopes. The Bierstube also received an exterior remodel this summer including a new roof, windows, doors and siding.
Eaglecrest Ski Area: the website has a fresh look with information about the resort in one spot – including snow conditions, lesson schedules and lift ticket pricing. The updated website also features a total of 7 webcams providing views of the mountain and conditions.
For additional information on these exciting developments in the mountains, please visit your favorite mountain’s website or call the resort directly.
The Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association is a non-profit trade association, which represents the interests of ski and snowboard facilities located in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and California. The Association’s 35 member ski areas – most of which operate on public land – collectively host an average of 5.6 million visits annually. For additional information on Pacific Northwest skiing and snowboarding, contact the PNSAA office at (877) 533-5520, or visit http://www.pnsaa.org to link to the website of your favorite mountain.