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First Snow Falls on Willamette Pass

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WILLAMETTE PASS, Ore. — While the valley dealt with hail, winds and rain, about four inches of snow landed on the passes overnight.

The base of the Willamette Pass Ski Resort is at about 5,100 elevation, but snow on the pass starts at a way lower elevation. There was about four inches on the ground Monday, and there’s set to be more overnight.

It’s not time to open just yet, but all this white stuff tells Willamette Pass staff that season is just around the corner.

“We got our year-round staff up. We’re doing maintenance and we got our managers getting our hiring process going,” said Isreal Fuller, Willamette Pass Mountain manager.

Staff says seeing these first four inches two weeks earlier than last winter is a good prelude to the season. Last year’s first snow fell on November 3, and with inconsistent storms after that, Willamette Pass couldn’t open until January 7. Staff hope this earlier stuff is a good sign–both for them and mountain patrons.

“This is always good when we get early snow. It actually helps the vibe in the community and gets people thinking about skiing. It perks people’s ears up when they see the snow up in the hills. It’s great!” Fuller said.

It’s an obvious reminder to those driving the passes, too. The roads were dry on Friday and now look like they do in December, which means drivers are taking extra care with their commute.

“When I came up this morning, ODOT was on the road plowing, and I get up here and we have about four inches of snow,” Fuller said.

ODOT plans to have crews back on the roads Monday night and through the rest of the week sanding and plowing, which means road conditions are in good shape and easy on the eyes.

Both Willamette and Santiam passes will see snow Monday night. The forecast shows the temperature will stay at our below freezing through most of the week, which means more snow at least through Friday.

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