Spring Flings

Hood’s ski resorts crank up the late season deals.

March 7, 2011

On Saturday, as I pointed my skis towards Ski Bowl’s Upper Bowl Chair, I wasn’t exactly expecting a crowd. Even on busy days, you’d have trouble filling an elevator with number of skiers lingering in the lift line here. But this was a new depth of solitude. The place wouldn’t qualify for a ghost town. Above me, the chair churned up the hill dutifully, oblivious to the fact that not a single rider cared for its services. A lone liftee kicked the snow by his shack looking for something to do.

True a stubborn fog had settled over the hills. And the snow wasn’t of the champagne variety. I’d call it a bit more like clam chowder. But man, was there plenty of it. The trees were plastered in white. Big flakes were raining down. The mountain was a basically a blank canvas waiting for someone—anyone—to make a stroke.

“Where is everyone,” I said to the liftee as the chair scooped me up.

“I have no idea,” he said. I think he was ready to cry.

Call it Mountain March Madness. The inexpiable and seemingly incurable affliction that strikes Oregon each Spring, just as Hood’s snow totals being to max out, causing local snow lovers to unceremoniously kick the season to the curb.

Now, I’m not complaining—more snow for me. But c’mon. I’m no misanthrope, either. In fact, I quite enjoy some good chair lift chatter with the occasional goggle-clad compatriot. And who would I trade stories with over a beer inside the Warming Hut? My shadow?

I’m not alone in my desire for a few ski buddies. The three big ski areas are all intent on luring some company back to the hill with some pretty sweet pass options. So in the interest of a finding little a ski pal or three, here’s the break down of the deals you can scoop up right now.

Last week, Meadows, Hood’s largest ski area, announced its Spring pass, good for unlimited skiing and riding, for just $139. So how many days can you count on? Right now operations at Meadows are guestimated to continue through April, with plans to keep the lifts pumping well into May during the weekends. Night operations have also been extending through March 27.

And to help stoke your snowy desires, here’s some video from Meadows shot during last week’s epic storm, complete with Flock of Seagulls’ Space Age Love Song no less.

Meanwhile Timberline, which boasts the longest season in the country, is offering a two-tiered pricing scale. If you purchase between March 7 and April 4, you’ll pay $120. Hold out until April 5 and the price drops to just $99.

And at Skibowl, where you’ll find me, $99 gets you on the hill till the close of the season, which last year ended on a near perfect blue-skied, corn snow filled mid-April day. And with more snow on the way this week, that’s exactly where the Bowl seems to be headed again this season.

The only question: if you’ll be riding the chair up with me.

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