Cooper spur undergoes major facelift

PARKDALE — Cooper Spur Mountain Resort had to wait a little longer than expected to show off its many improvements this year.

But, now that the hills are covered in white stuff, this cozy backyard ski resort can finally strut its stuff for the ski and snowboard public.

“We’ve gotten about two feet of snow in the past week, which has helped us make up for lost time,” said Cooper Spur and Mt. Hood Meadows general manager Dave Riley, who helped facilitate $750,000 in improvements since last year.

“People are curious about the improvements, and the number of visitors has already gone up compared to last year.”

The most notable improvement at Cooper Spur this year is the 1,350-foot long Riblet chairlift, which replaces the less efficient T-bar. It reaches 350 vertical feet and can transport up to 1,200 people per hour, providing guests with a welcome change.

“We love it,” said Portland resident Doug Stringer, who owns a cabin in Parkdale and has been taking his three children to Cooper Spur for years. “My kids learned to ski on the rope tow here, and they were ready for something new. The lift seemed to come at the perfect time.”

Mertie Williams of Skamania, Wash., agrees.

“It’s nice because you don’t have to wait in line as much as before,” said the mother of two. “We have already used the new lift a bunch of times, and I’m sure we’ll be back throughout the season.”

Williams and Stringer both said that they like how Cooper Spur has maintained its familiar, “family” atmosphere despite the recent upgrades.

And that is music to Riley’s ears.

“Our goal with the improvements was not to change the tradition of Cooper Spur,” he said. “We want to attract the same guests and keep prices affordable for families. And so far, we’ve heard nothing but positive feedback.”

Also new to Cooper Spur this season are two innertubing tows, a kids’ rope tow (called a “Pony Lift”), a 2,000 square foot deck, a new rental shop and ticket office, and an upgraded cross-country trail system.

Cooper Spur employees also spent much of the past summer refinishing the lodge, both inside and out.

“It’s interesting to note that all the construction was done locally,” Riley said. “The chairlift was manufactured in Spokane, Wash., and installed by a company out of Ashland (Outback Construction). Wells Construction handled most of the lodge work, and the rest was done in house.”

Riley and his employees are understandably excited about the improvements, but the biggest beneficiaries are the guests. Three-quarters of a million dollars was spent and not one cent was added to the previous rates.

Cost for a day of fun at Cooper Spur remains at $15, while a season pass costs $99 and an unlimited family pass is just $250.

People can also purchase an “all-access” pass for $25 ($20 for kids), which allows use of the chairlift, the innertubing tows, the cross-country trails and rental equipment.

If you would like more information on Cooper Spur, visit their website at

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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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