Lack of snowfall bums out boarders

Winter is here and the natives are restless.

Recent weather trends have failed to provide the local ski and snowboard community with what it desires most: A dose of fresh powder.

Even some ice and slush would do at this point.

After last year’s record-breaking snowfall, local ski resorts such as Mt. Hood Meadows, Cooper Spur, Timberline and Ski Bowl were all hoping to get this season started on a positive note.

But, despite some light snowfall in the higher elevations and some heavy praying, the big snow has yet to fall.

“We don’t have enough snow to open before Sunday,” the Meadows website (www.skihood.com) said on Friday morning. “Meanwhile, keep thinking snow.”

The radical shift from last season has become a major topic of discussion around the Northwest, and avid mountain goers may want to consider doing a snow dance instead of merely wishing for the white stuff.

Mt. Hood Meadows, which had reached 155 percent of its average snowfall by this date in 2001, is currently at 5 percent of average. No lifts are open and the base stands at a paltry 12 inches.

Timberline isn’t much better off, and has opened two of its six chairlifts (Bruno’s and Magic Mile) despite a miniscule 14-inch base. However, the Timberline ski area sits on a glacier, which allows the Palmer Snowfield to stay open year-round.

“We have a bit of an advantage having the snowfield,” Timberline spokesman Jon Tullis said. “But we’re very anxious to pick up some snow for our lower mountain as well.”

Tullis said the weather reports for this weekend are favorable and that skiers and snowboarders can look forward to improved conditions in the days to come.

For the most updated forecasts and snow conditions, visit www.timberlinelodge.com

or www.skihood.com.

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