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Some ski resorts still kicking as wintersports season winds down

Fri., April 21, 2017, 6 a.m.

Cross country skiers are flying high over the new terrain park at the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center near Bend, Oregon. (PHOTO COURTESY OF MT BACHELOR / Photo courtesy of Mt Bachelor)
Cross country skiers are flying high over the new terrain park at the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center near Bend, Oregon. (PHOTO COURTESY OF MT BACHELOR / Photo courtesy of Mt Bachelor)

WINTERSPORTS – As some mountain resorts are reporting record skier visits this season, Silver Mountain is still kicking with one last weekend of action.

The gondola will run out of Kellogg on Saturday for the annual Leadman ski-bike-run triathlon.

On Sunday, the last day of its season, Silver Mountain will be offering cheap beer and discounted lift tickets. Even deeper discounts will be offered to skiers who present passes from any other mountain.

The resort operators say that more than 400 inches of snow this season has left the mountain with a great spring base and the late chance to ride a lift in the Inland Northwest for the 2016-17 season.

Meanwhile, Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area reports 423 inches of snow as of Tuesday and a record 66,815 skier visits during the season, topping the previous record of 65,621 during the 2013-14 winter season. Owner Phil Edholm says 58,752 skiers visited the resort on the Montana-Idaho border last season.

The Whitefish Mountain Resort in northwestern Montana says it also set a record with more than 346,000 skier visits during the 2016-17 season.

The resort had 407 inches of snow, the second-highest total in 20 years, and topped its previous record for visits by around 1,000.

Mt. Bachelor, near Bend, Oregon, will be riding its deep winter snowpack with a season that’s scheduled to last through Memorial Day, resort officials say.

The ski area experienced its third snowiest winter on record, said Mt. Bachelor spokesman Drew Jackson. December, January and February each produced more than 100 inches of snow, a consistent stretch of snowfall never before seen at Mt. Bachelor.

But Jackson said there’s a drawback to all that snow: winter fatigue.

“Once it starts to turn warm and nice in town, in Bend, the number of other outdoor recreation opportunities start to increase,” he said. “We have to compete more for people’s time. Inevitably, we lose to some extent.”

In an average April, the ski area sees about 60 percent of the visitors it had in March. By May, the ski area sees half of what it gets in April.

From Oct. 1 to April 1, Mt. Bachelor ski area accumulated 511 inches of snow. Last year, the ski area had 388 inches by April 1. The average snowfall for a season is 457 inches.



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