EUGENE, Ore. — Willamette Pass Ski Resort closed up shop Sunday, signaling the beginning of the end of ski season.
However, businesses say this winter was a big improvement from last year.
“The skiing was great. The terrain was great, good coverage. So it’s hard to watch it come to an end,” said Tim Wiper, Willamette Pass Owner.
“It was a lot of snow coming down, and to be consistent all season long was really good,” said Dale Berg, Berg’s Ski Shop Owner.
While not long-lasting, the conditions were enough to provide a strong ski season.
“As far as how much snow we got in the Cascades, they’re saying about 82 percent of normal. That’s pretty good,” Berg said.
Local businesses say the improved slope conditions attracted some new customers.
“What was the neat part about it was that so many people who were new to the sport were taking it up and enjoying it and having fun,” Berg said.
And the resurging interest in skiing and snowboarding meant more money for the local economy.
Berg’s Ski Shop says there’s been a noticeable increase in out-of-state customers heading to resorts in Oregon. But lift tickets aren’t the only way that local businesses have been able to cash in this season, as restaurants and transportation have seen a boost from the industry too.
“Basically people wanted to go, they were excited about it. A lot of people rode the bus, enjoyed that,” Berg said.
The season is winding down. But thanks to some help from Mother Nature, the industry is looking up.
While Willamette Pass is closed, but Mt. Bachelor and Hoodoo are still operating this weekend for some last-minute time on the slopes.