Behind-the-scenes: Hoodoo's current status
January 15, 2014
The State of the Snow at Hoodoo
Waiting for snow, but hoping to open very soon!
All of us at Hoodoo are anxiously awaiting to open for the season. We appreciate your patience and apologize that we have not been able to get the lifts running. In an effort to keep all of our awesome Hoodoo guests continually updated, here's a behind-the-scenes look at the current situation at Hoodoo Ski Area.
Hoodoo’s lead groomer Ray Gates did an outstanding job of acting fast with the snow we've received so far. Our first priority was to soak up the standing water in the bowl and to build a snow bridge to the Manzanita chair lift. Every year, Hoodoo has to push snow into the bowl to soak up water that drains down from above Ray Benson Sno-Park. “We are mining every available pile of snow and using it to make bridges across the pond, but it’s nearly all gone and we don't have what we need," explains Hoodoo General Manager Matthew McFarland.
Unfortunately, we did not receive as much snow as we had hoped for in last week's much-needed storm, and the current high temperatures on the mountain continue to keep our hands tied.
Jim Follis, Hoodoo’s Mountain Manager, who has more than 40 years of grooming experience, gives us a look at what it takes to get the slopes ready for skiers and snowboarders: "In order to ensure a long lasting, durable base layer, it’s critical to take the steps necessary before we allow riders on the snow. Right now, we are very limited in where our snowcats can compact snow due to the limited coverage and warm weather. Currently there is only about 8 inches at the top of the Easy Rider lift and nearly every run is off limits to heavy machinery."
Initially, the grooming machines head out on the slopes to track pack the first snow by driving on every run possible to achieve first compaction. This squeezes the air out of the snow so the snow crystals can bond together, making the snow denser. Afterward, the snow is left undisturbed for several hours and the grooming machines return with their rotary tillers and start the actual grooming process. The rotary tillers pulverize the snow crystals and remove even more air, and the snow is compressed under the weight of the machine. This process seals the snow surface, making it more resistant to wear from skiers, snowboarders and warmer temperatures. The initial ‘track packing’ and first grooming of the snow surface creates that first layer on which the season is built.
While the snow pack is much less than normal for this time of year, all of us at Hoodoo are optimistic that we'll be able to open soon with just a bit more snowfall. “When we can open more than one run with a snowcat, we will open. Six more inches should do!” says McFarland.
We would like to thank all our loyal Hoodoo fans for your patience and understanding during this difficult start to the season. We miss you and can’t wait to see this place back in action. Stay positive, keep praying for snow, keep doing your snow dances and we will see you on the slopes soon!
McKenzie River Reflections