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 ( 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


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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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