Hoodoo—Central Oregon’s “other” ski area—opened today on Santiam Pass. Hoodoo Ski Area opened for the winter season today with a 15-inch base and three of its 5 lifts operating. There are obstacles visible on the runs but everyone I spoke with said what little snow there is, is in good shape.
Hoodoo tried to open twice before, this winter. But, rain on snow events dashed those plans. “The current snow fell over a week ago. It was too soft to drive a snow cat on it and groom it,” says Matthew McFarland, Hoodoo Manager, “Finally, last night the snow firmed up enough to be groomed. At this time, we only have a couple of groomed runs but a skiable surface. We are doing snow dances.”
As of Friday, Manzanita, Ed and Easy Rider lifts are running, providing access to about 75% of the mountain, facing the lodge. McFarland says more snow is needed to open the Green Lift to the summit and the Hodagchair which provides access to the back side of the mountain. Forecasters predict 3 to 7 inches of new snow by Sunday. “Skiers know early in the year you are going to find more obstacles out there at the beginning of the year than you would at the end when we have 100 to 150-inches of snow on the ground.”
McFarland adds, “Today’s opening day attendance is higher than last year’s which was a record-breaker. Of course it is the weekend after Christmas break so more people off and there are more people waiting for the snow. We hoped to be open a month ago so getting a lot more excitement now.”
This year’s improvements at Hoodoo include upgrading night skiing lights to LED, more than doubling the wattage. McFarland says that should create a brighter and better night skiing experience. There’s also new furniture in the lodge and general sprucing up throughout the facilities.
Hoodoo is open 9 am to 9 pm 7 days a week through Christmas break. Thereafter it will be open four days a week Thursday through Monday.