Even though I’ve been sliding down mountains since I was three years old, I still turn into a kid every time my season pass arrives in the mail.

Each year I anxiously await the first big snowfall of the season. It’s this time of year I find myself day-dreaming about the epic days I’ve had, and the great experiences the mountains have given me. From the silent serenity in the aftermath of a big snow storm to the memories laughing with friends and family on warm spring day, the mountains have always provided me with something to look forward to.

This season is no exception. I recently caught up with Jerry Krieg, Director of Marketing for Ski Oregon, to ask him what we can expect for the upcoming season. Read what Jerry has to say about this year’s Oregon ski season.

Jerry, I’ve heard that the Oregon ski areas have made a lot of improvements this year. Can you tell me about a few that skiers would be most interested in?
Well, there are several improvements that will impact every skier and rider in Oregon. First off is the brand new High Speed Quad at Mt. Bachelor. The Pine Martin Express Lift, the most used lift at the 3,683 acre ski area, has been replaced with a brand new $3.5 million dollar high speed quad – same name.

Mt. Hood Meadows put over $2.5 million in capital improvements, including a new Children’s Learning Center, New Rental Center, increased restaurant seating, electronic message boards throughout the ski area and a new Smarte Locker System.

The Fusion Pass is a breakthrough for ski area guests; a revolutionary new season pass. It is a pass that offers skiers and riders an unlimited pass to both Skibowl and Timberline ski areas – all days, all nights and all winter.

And don’t forget to check out www.SkiOregon.org for up-to-date snow reports and conditions for all of Oregon’s Ski Areas, along with all current news and activities in Oregon. This is the first and only site dedicated solely to Oregon’s Snowsports. This is also the only place to find information that is specific to Oregon, including Events, programs, general and detailed info and current news; and of course the Conditions Page that has snow reports from all 11 Oregon Ski Areas.

Sustainability is a core value in Oregon and even more so in the ski industry where the business hinges on the environment. Can you tell us about some of the steps Oregon’s ski areas have taken in this area?
Oregon is a leader in environmental sustainability and exploring ways to help the environment. It seems to be embedded in every Oregon resident and our ski areas are setting a great example, including Cooper Spur, Mt. Ashland, Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Hood Meadows, Ski Anthony Lakes and Timberline ski areas.

That is six out of our 11 ski areas (55%) that are a part of the “Keep Winter Cool” campaign, in partnership with the National Ski Area Association and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. You can learn more about these programs at www.skigreen.org.

This summer, Mt. Ashland became the 1st ski area in the Pacific Northwest to be 100% offset with renewable energy, placing the ski area in company with Vail Resorts, Aspen Resorts and Sugar Bowl as one of the few ski areas nationally to offset 100% of its electrical use with renewable energy investments.

There has been some initial rumblings in the media about this being an “El Nino” winter in Oregon. Can you give Northwest skiers any inside information based on the numbers and predictions you’re seeing?
Well, depending on who you ask, the season could be a number of things. The great thing we have on our side is the sheer amount of snowfall we normally receive in Oregon. If we have a “normal” winter, we will be in great shape!

Since coming into the industry, I have been partial to the Farmer’s Almanac’s predictions, and The Farmer’s Almanac has a fantastic forecast for this winter – “widespread cold from coast to coast, especially for the western section of the country…we do expect this to be the coldest winter we’ve seen for quite a few years.” The Farmer’s Almanac also predicted: “Snow, and lots of it, is also forecast for the nations midsection, parts of New England, and the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.” http://www.farmersalmanac.com/forthepress/uspressrelease.html

I am not sure how much faith anyone puts in long term forecasts, but if you want my forecast…make sure your equipment is ready, your body is ready and you have your season pass. I have met many skiers and riders throughout the last year that were kicking themselves because they DID NOT purchase a pass last season.

Luckily, in Oregon we have the longest ski season in North America. We are normally able to ski and ride from November to August.

Powder Days are normally stacked from Nov/Dec to May. That is 6 months of pure freedom and satisfaction in my life, and I am eagerly waiting for that first large dump that will get the ground frozen and the lifts turning!

Thanks for taking some time to talk. I am very, very excited about the upcoming season, in fact, I just finished tuning and waxing my skis and boards…and the snow is on the way!! –

Kevin Wright, Travel Oregon

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