Mt. Bachelor has an impressive 123-inch upper mountain base boasting over 322-inches of snowfall already this season! Image courtesy Mt. Bachelor
We’re in the midst of a classic La Niña winter here in the Pacific Northwest. Ski areas across Oregon have been on the receiving end of six major winter storms since December and area base depths are at late season depths—up to 12 feet at upper mountain! It started with winter storm Caly in early December providing a welcome addition to the already established base. Mid December saw winter storm Decima leaving over a foot of snow in areas including downtown Bend, making for cozy holiday scenes across Oregon. This set ski areas up for the parade of storms that followed— Iras, Jupiter, Kori and Helena. If you haven’t experienced this great winter, it’s not too late, conditions are prime at ski areas across Oregon ranging from perfect corduroy to powder days. Mt. Hood Meadows’ VP Of Marketing & Sales Dave Tragethon shares, “It’s been a wonderfully cold winter offering up feather light, cold smoke powder conditions—It has been some of the best riding ever.” These conditions are expected to continue right into President’s Day Weekend and through Spring Break.
For a refresher, the last La Niña cycle occurred during the legendary 1998/99 ski season, which ended with 12 areas in the Pacific Northwest posting record season snowfall amounts including Mt Bachelor with 570 inches and Mt. Hood Meadows with 640 inches. This winter has featured all the epic hallmarks of a Pacific Northwest La Niña winter, which includes unusually cold weather combined with surplus precipitation. What this has meant so far is dry fluffy snow and lots of it!
Resorts across Oregon have been on a fairly permanent powder alert, which translates to great deep powder conditions for experienced skiers, but also the sustained cool temperatures have meant soft groomed conditions on the blue and green trails with great coverage.
Looking ahead we can expect the trend to continue says Portland-based KGW TV Meteorologist Matt Zaffino,“We’re definitely in a La Niña, it’s a weak La Niña which tends to make for the best ski conditions for the Pacific Northwest.” Zaffino adds, “The quality of snow and abundance of that quality of snow this year has been phenomenal—looking forward I don’t see any indication of a significant warm up, which means snow levels are going to remain low enough for continued fresh snow through February and March.”
So exactly how are ski areas across Oregon benefiting from all this snow and when should you go?
Timberline Lodge & Ski Area high up on the south slope of Mt. Hood has received 242-inches of snow this season. The skiing is great and so are the wintery views from Timberline Lodge. And with plenty of epic winter days on the horizon it’s not too early to look ahead to summer skiing and riding on Palmer Snowfield—start planning ahead for summer ski and snowboard camps!
Mt. Hood Ski Bowl on the lower southern flanks of Mt. Hood has already received 169-inches of snow with a base depth ranging from 51–63 inches. In addition to daytime riding, Ski Bowl features night skiing seven nights a week. Upcoming Ski Bowl events include Ladies Night featuring ski and ride tickets for only $18 on Tuesday nights! Also, the second Tele Tuesday is coming up on February 5th sponsored by the Mountain Shop of Portland featuring demos, lessons, races and of course, beer.
Mt. Bachelor has an impressive 123-inch upper mountain base boasting over 322-inches of snowfall this season! With the addition of the new Cloudchaser chairlift, which opened on December 16, Bachelor is now the fifth largest ski resort in the USA, with 4,318 acres of lift-accessible terrain. With all this new snow it feels like the celebration has been going nonstop. Bachelor has the 5th annual Vertfest Backcountry Festival scheduled for February 11. Also catch the weekly all ages Downtown Apres Ski Bash on Fridays at Crow’s Feet Commons in Bend featuring live music, beer and food.
Mt. Hood Meadows on the southeast flank of Mt. Hood has already received more than 273-inches of snowfall this winter, with a 164-inch base on the upper mountain as of late January. Upcoming events include Super Bowl Sunday—combine football with a day of skiing, what could be better? How about a cozy Valentine’s dinner in the Alpenstube Loft—love and skiing, sigh!
Mt. Ashland has already received 199-inches of snowfall this season with a 118-inch upper mountain base. This resort just off I-5 in southern Oregon is open Thursday through Sunday—a great hint is to get here on Thursday after a big storm cycle to have the place all to yourself!
Cat Ski Mt. Bailey conditions are all time for getting fresh tracks backcountry skiing and riding, located just five miles from Crater Lake, this is the winter to experience the fun of cat skiing and riding. Follow Cat Ski Mt. Bailey on Facebook for up to the minute updates on last minute openings and conditions.
Ski Hoodoo has received 176 inches of snowfall this season with a 77-inch base depth. Hoodoo is offering $19 dollar lift tickets on Thursdays—this “Thrifty Thursday” special runs through March 18!
It’s still early in the winter and all signs point to this epic winter continuing. To start planning your Oregon vacation and learn more about resorts around the state visit skioregon.org.