WILLAMETTE PASS, Ore. — It was a bit of a slow start to the ski season, but some powerful winter storms packed a good punch, bringing heavy snow for the ski area and a treat for the skiers.
Willamette Pass Ski Area has a fresh blanket of white ready to be carved and shredded this weekend. Nearly three feet of new snow has fallen since Sunday. The ski area began work at midnight Tuesday to prepare the slopes for early skiers.
“We basically spend the morning digging, digging, and digging just to even find our snow cat and chair lifts. After we do that we get into operation and get everyone on the hill to go skiing,” said Tim Wiper, Willamette Pass Ski Area owner.
Wiper says the ski area is used to winter storms dumping a few feet of snow in just a few days and this past storm was another one to add to their list this year.
“Since Dec. 19 we’ve been blessed with quite a few snowstorm events. So we’ve had plenty snow to work with, which makes all of our terrain open from day one. So it’s really been a great start to the ski season, lots of ski season left, not even half way through,” Wiper said.
The winter season is approaching its midpoint, and even if the ground hog doesn’t see its shadow, the ski resort will remain open after the official start of spring.
“We’ll be going all the way into March on a weekly basis, and then we usually go into April on weekends only,” said Wiper.
Mother Nature has been very giving to skiers and snowboarders this year, but it’s the mountain itself that allows skiers to take advantage of the fresh powder.
“I like the steep RTS. It offers the steepest run in Oregon of any mountain resort and that’s what I’m in for, ready to get up to the shoots,” said skier Bret Wakeham.
“The great thing about Willamette Pass is the terrain. We have a great ski hill. When the snow’s good, the skiing is fabulous,” said Wiper.
With more than half of winter to go, there is bound to be more snow on the way for everyone to enjoy.