Sandy Post Skibowl Article

Sandy Post Skibowl Article

Pre-Christmas snowfall a welcome relief for Mount Hood ski resorts

Created on Wednesday, 23 December 2015 00:00 | Written by Kylie Wray

As soon as photos of a snow-covered Mt. Hood Skibowl surfaced on the resort’s social media pages in early December, the most common question was, “When are you going to open?”

That day finally arrived.

 ADAM WICKHAM - Snowboarders take the new ramp up the bunny hill at Mt. Hood Skibowl.













On Wednesday, Dec. 16, with about 30 inches of fresh snow at the top of its skiing area, Mt. Hood Skibowl officially opened for the ski season, just in time for winter break. From 3-10 p.m., the resort opened its Lower Bowl chairlift, Multorpor chair lift and parking lot conveyor belt, with hopes of having the rest of its lifts open by Saturday, Dec. 19.

On Monday, Dec. 21, the first day of winter break, Skibowl opened all of its lifts to eager skiers and snowboarders with snow continuing to fall.

During last winter’s record-low snowfall, Skibowl’s ski lifts were only open about two weeks during the 2014 holiday break. The resort’s snow-making equipment, however, made it possible for snow enthusiasts to have some fun at the resort, whose tubing hill was open for 71 days for both daytime and evening “Cosmic Tubing.”

In addition to snowmaking, Skibowl also was able to open some of its summer Mt. Hood Adventure park attractions early to make up for the lack of snow in early 2015.

After such a lackluster snow season, Skibowl employees were happy to see flurries of relief in recent days.

“We’re going to put last year behind us and move forward,” said Hans Wipper, spokesman for Skibowl.

This year, the resort’s tube hill opened just after Thanksgiving on Nov. 27, but skiing enthusiasts were waiting for the grander opening that arrived last week.

Setting aside the example of the last two years, which were both disappointing for all of Mount Hood’s ski resorts, this year is an average opening.

“The big thing is, as long as we get open before Christmas break, that’s a good opening,” Wipper added.

Beginning Friday, Dec. 19, Skibowl kicked off extended hours for winter break, opening from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Extended hours continue through Sunday, Jan. 3.

Although the resort closes at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, skiers can take advantage of normal extended hours on Christmas Day.

Wipper said Skibowl used to open later on Christmas, but received such a demand for an earlier opening that officials decided to make Christmas a regular ski day.

“I think people are excited to try out all their new equipment,” Wipper said with a laugh.

As the closest ski resort to Portland, officials choose not to think of Skibowl as a low-elevation ski area, but rather that it’s America’s largest night ski area — and has the largest amount of lighted runs in Oregon.

In addition to Cosmic Tubing, an activity unique to Skibowl, Mt. Hood Adventure also offers other snowy activities such as snowmobiling and horse-drawn carriage rides.

“We have a lot to offer to everyone,” Wipper added. “Anyone who wants to play in the snow, we’ve got something for them.”

But Skibowl is not the only resort on the mountain reveling in the white Christmas break. Timberline Lodge is alive with snow-sports enthusiasts during the day as all but two of its lifts have opened for the season. The high-elevation ski area now boasts 70 inches of base depth for skiing and an accumulation of 174 inches since Sept. 1.

As snow showers are expected throughout the week, there is no shortage of Christmas cheer around Mount Hood’s ski resorts.

“It’s the biggest snowstorm we’ve seen in two years,” Wipper said. “From employees to guests, everyone’s excited to get on the hill and get some great skiing in.”

Click here to read Kylie's story as it appeared in the Sandy Post.

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Mt. Hood Skibowl is an equal opportunity service provider and employer. This institution operates under a special use permit issued by the Mt. Hood National Forest, USDA Forest Service