Northwest Areas Endure Prolonged Snow Drought
Just how bad has it been? The Summit at Snoqualmie and Stevens Pass have operated for three weeks or less for the season.
In Oregon and Idaho, areas have fared better--though some areas have been closed for long stretches here, too. Among those operating in early February were Timberline, Mt. Bachelor, Mount Hood Meadows, Mt. Ashland, and Anthony Lakes; Hoodoo reopened Feb. 10. In Idaho, Silver Mountain, Schweitzer, Brundage, Bogus, Tamarack, and Lookout were operating, though some had closed for short periods.
For many areas in the Cascades, though, it will take perhaps two or three storms to rebuild base depths sufficiently to reopen. Resorts across the region are hoping for a repeat of 1975-76, when enormous snowfalls arrived and lifted some areas to their best March attendance of the past 30 years. Given the Northwest's history of wild weather swings, local sporting types have learned to go with the flow.
As have the areas themselves. Many are taking whatever steps they can to salvage something from the season. Scott Kaden, president of the Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association, says, "My sense is that no area will be imperiled by this; operators here have to factor this sort of thing in. No one has hit the panic button yet." \