By Kyle Bliquez in Sports
Northwest winters are often an enigma. It would hardly be surprising if snow piled up half a foot high in less than a day or if the sun poked through on a cold, cloudless day.
However, one constant has been the snow on Mount Hood ski resorts. Last year, there were three consecutive days where the mountain received a foot or more of snow.
In contrast, snow has been sparse in 2015. January received a total of 17 inches, equaling two days of snowfall in last year. February saw 16 inches altogether.
Whatever the cause, snowboarders and skiers are not thrilled.
“I get the season pass every year at Meadows,” said Clark student Marcus Deal. “I haven’t been back since December because there’s no snow.”
“It’s frustrating. December made it seem like it would be another solid season and it just fell off,” Deal said.
Kortney Barbour, a Mount Hood photographer, agreed with Deal’s feelings.
“I was hired to take photos and video of snowboarders, but I haven’t been able to because hardly anyone comes to the mountain.”
Multiple ski lifts have closed for the season, according to Timberline Lodge’s website. Two of their seven lifts are currently not operating, while only three are active most days, according to Timberline season pass holder Katelyn McNeil.
McNeil is another disappointed snowboarder. “I did buy a pass, which sucked because usually they open right after Thanksgiving and they opened way late this year and hardly got any snow.”
Further down the mountain, Skibowl’s lifts and chairs are labeled as “On Standby For More Snow” on the official website.
According to a Nov. Columbian article, Mount Hood Meadows has added snowmaking fans and is once again planning on taking snow from the parking lot to the actual mountain.
“I got brand new gear, new board, new everything. I haven’t even been able to try it out in a couple months,” Deal said.
The little snow on the ground is hard and icy and skiing and snowboarding is difficult. The ice can scratch the bottom of the board and carve permanent cuts.
The harsh conditions combined with the potential damage to the boards have deterred many from coming out. However, when the snow does fall–even in small quantities–the lifts are bogged down with traffic.
“Usually I would go up every weekend but I haven’t gone because there’s been no snow,” McNeil said. “The couple times I’ve been, they’ve only had two or three lifts open.”
While this season was disappointing, winter sport athletes are keeping their hopes up for the future. McNeil will have to wait until next year to get on the mountain.
“My fingers are crossed next season will be better.”