A good start for ski resorts

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

SnowTubing.jpg STATEWIDE A La Niña weather system cooling the waters of the Pacific Ocean has forecasters predicting above-average snowfall for the Northwest this winter and Oregonians thinking about the slopes.

Pass sales are up at all the major resorts, with Mt. Hood Skibowl and Timberline reporting increases of 80% and 25%, respectively, thanks to the popular Mt. Hood Fusion Pass, valid at both resorts. Now in its second year, the Fusion Pass was available for individuals for the first time this season. Mt. Hood Meadows and Mt. Bachelor also report that pass sales have exceeded last year’s numbers.

Resorts around the state invested in a number of improvements in the off-season, but perhaps the biggest change is the opening of Timberline’s Still Creek Basin, featuring 220 acres of new terrain with eight trails.

“It’s probably the most significant development in Oregon since back when Bachelor opened that Northwest Territory, back in the ’80s,” says Jon Tullis, director of public affairs for Timberline. “We expect to attract a lot of folks who typically wouldn’t ski at Timberline. This is a big opportunity for us.”

The team at Mt. Bachelor is debuting a mobile marketing campaign that sends conditions reports and special offers to guests’ cell phones. Other updates include lodge improvements at Skibowl, a focus on park terrain at Mt. Bachelor, and a new ski patrol headquarters and peak-day parking initiative favoring carpoolers at Mt. Hood Meadows.  

Thanksgiving came sooner than the snow at some resorts, but Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Hood Meadows and Timberline managed to open at least a few slopes for the holiday weekend.

“It was a little stubborn of a beginning to our season this year,” Tullis says. “We did have some terrain open, and we did OK. We would have preferred to be at full operation, but it tends to even out. I think we’ll make up for that.”                                     

JAMIE HARTFORD

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