By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Winston Correll is a Mt. Bachelor season pass holder.
But he was at Hoodoo Ski Area Friday because he couldn’t secure a Bachelor day parking pass.
“Bachelor is pretty busy, so it makes sense why there are so many people here,” Correll said.
Hoodoo is located near the summit of Santiam Pass north of Sisters and has a first-come, first-serve parking system this year. General Manager Matthew McFarland said that method is working well for the ski area.
“Luckily this year, we’ve only had a couple of times when there’s been no parking, and you have to wait an hour or so for someone to leave,” McFarland said.
Its parking system might be one of the reasons Hoodoo is having its best year of business ever, according to McFarland.
“This is definitely the most crowded year,” McFarland said. “I’ve been here just over 20 years now and every year we’ve had an increase in business, but this year has been astronomical.”
McFarland thinks the success might be related to people having fewer options for recreation during the pandemic.
“It really makes sense that they’re coming to ski areas and enjoying the mountains where you’re naturally distanced,” McFarland said.
It might also be people are catching onto its cheap skiing options, like on “Thrifty Thursday,” when a day pass is only $25.
“Thrifty Thursday — everybody likes the cheap ticket and we’re completely full,” McFarland said. “On Saturday, we’re completely full again.”
The business is helpful after the painful 2020 season. Hoodoo had to shut down early when the pandemic hit in March.
“We lost lots of business in March and April, which is normally a great time of year for us,” McFarland said. “Luckily December has helped us make up for some of that.”
Hoodoo offers both good snow and good views, and skiers like Correll are catching on.
“Everyone here is really kind and easy-going and I really like the culture and atmosphere,” Correll said. “Snow’s great.”