By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
Winter is arriving again at Mt. Bachelor – big time.
Driving conditions were deteriorating rapidly but for those who love fresh snow and lots of it, these are great skiing conditions.
But it’s the kind of storm that could make for challenging conditions – on and off the slopes.
Winds were gusting up to 80 miles per hour at the top of the Northwest Express lift which did not open today due to the wind.
The snow was accumulating about an inch per hour while I was there and it will come down harder as the storm intensifies.
Mt. Bachelor officials are anticipating up to 4 feet of fresh snow the next four days. They remind skiers and boarders to take precautions.
“It’s really important that you not only have a buddy but you are staying in auditory and visual contact,” said Leigh Capozzi, Mt. Bachelor’s marketing director. “And then if something was to happen, have a plan. Prior to getting on the mountain, it’s important to have a plan with whomever you are up here with to say ‘we are going to meet at this time.”
These skiers left Grants Pass at 4:30 this morning, arrived when the mountain opened at 9 and skied all day as the storm moved.
“Basically your tracks get filled in with fresh snow each run. It’s like free pow.”
Are you having any trouble seeing where you going?
“A little. The wind is blowing me over.”
The Oregon Department of Transportation is cautioning motorists of extremely hazardous driving conditions the next few days here in Central Oregon, over the mountain passes, in the Willamette Valley and on the Coast.
Likewise, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Department says ski, snowshoe and snowmobile trails are already becoming hard to distinguish in some areas, making navigation difficult. These conditions will increase rescue crew response times to backcountry emergencies.
But the ski area likes to look on the bright side of storms like this.
“If this storm produces everything that the models are showing, we could get 70 plus inches and that would put us past the 100-inch threshold so one of the things we like to do here at Mt. Bachelor is host a 100-inch party,” Capozzi said.