New snow graces Mt. Hood

Storm helps pad base at Meadows, Cooper Spur still needs more

Tuesday morning’s Cascade snowstorm gave new life to Mt. Hood Meadows and may lift Cooper Spur Resort back into the winter recreation picture.

Thirteen inches of new snow at Mt. Hood Meadows base on Tuesday added to the foot of snow the day before, yielding 2.5 feet of snow in two and a half days — a blizzard by 2003 standards.

“I never thought it would feel so good to be normal,” said Dave Tragethon, Mt. Hood Meadows’ marketing director. The snow comes just as Meadows is gearing up for Saturday’s “Keep Winter Cool” fair Saturday at the resort; see page A11 for details.

The slopes definitely cooled down the early part of this week, a welcome sight to Meadows.

“The 2.5 feet of snow over two or three days is not at all rare, except this year,” said Tragethon, adding that a lull was expected Tuesday night, with more snow to come today.

“It’s 61 inches at base and who knows how much — a million? — in the upper part,” Tragethon said. But snowfall is serious business for Mt. Hood Meadows. The company also operates the newly-expanded Cooper Spur Resort, which was shut down two weeks ago for lack of snow, despite a promising January, Tragethon said.

“We need a little more so we can get Cooper Spur operating again, and we still intend to open Heather Canyon when we get enough snow,” Tragethon said of the popular area.

Re-opening Cooper Spur is a “day to day,” decision, he said. “As soon as we get enough, we’ll open it.“We are literally within inches of being able to open,” Tragethon said.

“The biggest issue is having enough snow to run a snowcat so we don’t tear up the slopes.”

The new snow is light in moisture content, so that 12 inches compacts to four inches on the Cooper Spur slopes.

Tragethon said the conditions “are great for people skiing higher up but not the best for trying to build a base when trying to pack (the snow).”

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