The headlines from Oregon ski areas show that a new crop of high-speed quads sprouted the Cascade Mountains.
Mount Bachelor’s New Summit Express is scheduled to open Thanksgiving, weather permitting, and promises to run 33 percent faster than the previous Summit Chair.
Mount Hood Meadows’ three express chairs rush skiers to canyons and glades. Timberline’s new Palmer High-Speed Quad races to the 8,540-foot level of Mount Hood, weather permitting.
The “weather permitting” note is important when skiing the Cascades. When storms barrage the mountains, skiers are assured new snow will be measured by the foot, not merely by the inch. On Mount Hood, storms regularly bring two to three feet of snow at a time.
Oregon’s ski areas operate by Thanksgiving, with the exception of Timberline, which runs year-round … weather permitting, of course.
Oregon’s parking areas and trailheads require valid Sno-Park permits, which can be purchased in ski and sports shops and many stores in the mountains.
Central Oregon’s Mount Bachelor leads the state in high-speed quads with this year’s New Summit Express. Eleven chairs, seven of which are high-speed quads, draw some 600,000 skier visits a year, the most in the state. Bachelor typically opens mid-November and stays open into early July.
Bachelor spreads those skiers out over 3,686 skiable acres with 1,600 acres groomed daily. All that terrain allows for a tossed-salad variation of runs, from moguls to corduroy cruising, off-piste bowls, tree skiing, super steeps and a snowboard park.
One of the nation’s leading Nordic centers is just across the parking lot. More than 56 kilometers of Olympic-quality trails wind around the Nordic center and lead into the Three Sisters Wilderness.
Information: 22 miles west of Bend on the Cascade Lakes Highway.
Tickets: Adult $39; child (7-12) $20; senior (65+) $24: 6 and under ski free. Day care is $34 to $36 per day, or $8 per hour. Lunch is an additional $5; reservations are suggested at (800) 829-2442 or (541) 382-2442.
Lessons: Group $30; private $40 per hour; check into a variety of lesson packages with varying prices.
Nordic: The largest Nordic trail system in the state has 56k of groomed trails; trail passes run $10.50 for adults, $5 for youths and $6.50 for seniors.
Contact: Phone: (800) 829-2442 or (541) 382-2442. Reservations: (800) 829-2442. Snow phone: (541) 382-2442. Email: email@example.com; Web site mtbachelor.com
Mount Hood Meadows
Meadows celebrates its 30th anniversary this winter with $30 deals: Learn to snowboard for $30; learn to ski for $30; learn to Nordic ski for $30. And these lessons include rental equipment and ticket.
Last year’s addition of a new chairlift sees Mount Hood Meadows as the northern Cascade peak’s largest ski area. Now with three high-speedsters, Meadows skiers enjoy 2,150 acres of skiable terrain from the screaming steeps of Heather Canyon to wide-open intermediate and beginner runs on the bulk of the mountain.
New this year is Park Place, a terrain park for snowboarders and skiers with rolling bumps, “hips” (quarter-pipes), “volcanoes,” “spines” and “fun boxes” (truncated pyramids). Meadows’ new Scorpian groomer sculpts the terrain park and half-pipes.
Also new for the 1997-98 season is Meadows’ Rossignol Shaped Ski Center, the largest rental shop in the state.
Weather permitting, skiers can join the snow-cat skiing for $12 per run or $50 for five runs. Cat skiers tackle advanced and expert territory 1,000 feet above the Cascade Express into Super Bowl. Skiers can get 3,777 vertical feet in one awesome run.
Information: 67 miles east of Portland, 35 miles south of Hood River.
Tickets: Adult $36; junior (7-12) $21; senior (65+) $25; child (6 and under) $6. There is no day care.
Lessons: Group lesson $27; private $50 an hour.
Nordic: 15k of groomed trails cost $9.
Contact: Phone: (503) 337-2222. Reservations: (800) SKI-HOOD. Snow phone: (503) 227-SNOW. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site skihood.com
Timberline Ski Area
Headlines from Timberline Ski Area on the southern shoulder of Mount Hood include the newly upgraded Palmer Chairlift. Now a high-speed quad, the Palmer Express accesses the Palmer Snowfield in the fall and winter as well as spring and summer.
The wild ride begins from inside a lift garage, where skiers load the four-seater, ride around the bottom bull wheel then zip to the top, again ride a bull wheel and dismount inside the upper terminal garage.
Skiers schuss the scenic terrain above the tree line and ski the most vertical feet in the Pacific Northwest - 3,590 - over nearly three miles of territory. The 32 runs attract skiers and snowboarders who especially like the half-pipes and terrain gardens.
Skiing isn’t the only attraction to Timberline. Timberline Lodge is 60 years old. Inside are intimate, handcrafted rooms, a sauna and hydro-spa, candlelit dinners in the Cascade Dining Room and an incredible view of Mount Jefferson to the south and Mount Hood to the north.
A unique stay is at the 7,000-foot level of Mount Hood in the historic Silcox Hut. This stone-and-timber structure was built nearly 60 years ago as the upper terminal and warming station for the first Magic Mile Chair. Restored and open for lodging, Silcox houses up to 24 guests at $80 per night ($70 midweek) with gourmet dinner and breakfast included, and transportation.
New this year is the Timberline Tubing Hill located directly east of the lodge. Open weekends and holidays for snowplay, with tube rentals for $7.
Information: 55 miles east of Portland off U.S. 26 on Timberline Road.
Tickets: Adult $32; kids 7-12 $19; 6 under free; weekday discounts for all ages. There is no day care.
Lessons: Group $24; private $38 per hour.
Nordic: Rossignol Adventure Center Telemark program; call (503) 231-5402. Touring available in Mount Hood National Forest.
Contact: Phone: (503) 272-3311. Reservations: (800) 547-1406. Snow phone: (503) 222-2211. E-mail: email@example.com; Web site timberlinelodge.com
With the highest base elevation in the state, Anthony Lakes is Oregon’s powder paradise. In the Elkhorn Range of the Blue Mountains, the resort’s lifts rise from 7,100 feet to 8,000.
Improvements over the summer included some tree removal around the Poma and Rock Garden lifts, new signs for the downhill and Nordic areas, and new paint and new lighting outside the lodge for afterhours sledding. Additionally, the offices for Anthony Lakes have relocated to Union, Ore., which means new phone and fax numbers.
Ticket prices remain some of the lowest in the West, and Anthony Lakes remains one of the last hold-outs for seniors-ski-free for the 69+ crowd. One double chair and one poma access the 23 runs.
Information: 45 miles southeast of La Grande.
Tickets: Adult $24; student (10-18) $18; senior (60-69) $18; over 69 free; child (6 and under) free. There is no day care.
Lessons: Group $15; private $25 an hour.
Nordic: 13k of groomed trails cost $7.
Contact: Phone: (541) 562-1039. Reservations: closest facility is the Powder River Motel (541) 898-2829; several lodging options are in La Grande. Snow phone: (541) 856-3277.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: OREGON DEALS A scavenger hunt equals a free season pass at Mount Hood Meadows. The ski area is looking for Meadows nostalgia - brochures, trail maps, season passes - dating back over Meadows’ 30-year history. The person presenting the most items representing the most seasons wins a season pass. Entries must be presented by Dec. 16. Skiers can get a great deal on lift tickets for Timberline at any Oregon Ticketmaster outlet. The presold tickets are only $27 ($32 at the Lodge). The Ticketmaster outlet on the route from the Inland Empire to Mount Hood is located in The Dalles, at the Oregon Payless Drug Store. Midweek at 6,000 Feet is Timberline’s value season where lodge guests receive complimentary buffet breakfast for two, a $25 credit toward dinner for two, and discounted $15 lift tickets. Timberline even buys the Sno-Park permit for the stay. Mount Bachelor’s Free Ski and Ride Day is Jan 30. Skiers are asked to bring a non-perishable food or clothing item in exchange for a free lift ticket. All proceeds go to the Central Oregon Community Action Agency Network. Thursdays at Anthony Lakes are two-for-one days. Lift tickets are two for the price of one.