A last hurrah at Hoodoo

Skiers, boarders turn out for final day of season at resort

By Rachael Scarborough King / The Bulletin
Published: April 09. 2007 5:00AM PST

SISTERS – While many Central Oregon residents enjoyed the warm sunshine Sunday, skiers and snowboarders at Hoodoo Mountain Resort enjoyed the last remnants of winter.

The snow cover was patchy and the lifts mostly empty as a handful of people took advantage of the last day of the season at the mountain northwest of Sisters.

Crystal Pizzola, director of marketing for the mountain, said Hoodoo usually closes by Easter.

“What we decide on is the snow level,” Pizzola said. “Right now, we’re around 30 inches – it just gets unsafe to ski and there’s no people.”

By comparison, Mount Bachelor Ski Resort’s base has about 95 inches right now, according to its Web site.

Pizzola said that Hoodoo usually aims to reopen by the last weekend in November. Hoodoo held its annual end-of-the-season “Spring Fling” Saturday, but its last official day of operation was Sunday.

Alice Moffitt, a Eugene resident who was skiing with her 4-year-old daughter Miranda, said she grew up skiing at Hoodoo. “We didn’t get to ski as much as we wanted to, so we thought, ‘Oh, we better get up here today before it closes,'” Moffitt said.

Lisa and Bernard Seguin, of Corvallis, said that Hoodoo is a nice mountain for their son Alex, 3, to learn how to ski.

“It’s good for families,” Lisa Seguin said.

Katelyn Mansberger, 5, was also learning with a parent. Her father, Steve Mansberger, said they live in Portland but often visit the area to ski at Hoodoo.

“We go here all the time because it’s a great place for the kids, a great place to learn,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nathan Muilenburg, of Bend, was also making his way down the bunny hill on his first day of snowboarding. A friend, Mike Thompson, who said he has “been riding for 20 years,” was videotaping Muilenburg’s efforts using a digital camera.

“It will be fun to laugh at when we hang out and show the friends,” Muilenburg said as he lay in the snow after a fall.

Swinging his board overhead in an attempt to stand up, he channeled the Little Engine That Could, saying, “I think I can do it, I think I can do it.”

Two other snowboarders resting in the sun after their morning runs may have been the most exotic on the mountain Sunday. James White, from Ireland, and Alex Ledoux, from France, said they are currently staying in Salem on business and decided to drive down for the closing day. White was snowboarding for the first time, but Ledoux said he has visited Hoodoo several times since he has been in Salem.

“It’s just quiet and relaxing,” Ledoux said. “(There are) no queues to get to the lifts.”

White added, “It’s a really nice setup here – everyone’s very friendly.”

Pizzola, the marketing director, said that the year-round employees will now turn their attention to the 72 campsites and four RV parks Hoodoo manages for the U.S. Forest Service.

Four of the sites are already opened, a few more will open in late April, and almost all should be ready by Memorial Day, according to the resort’s calendar. Information on all the sites can be found at www.hoodoo.com, Pizzola said.

“We’ve actually been working on campground stuff for the last month, getting that stuff ready,” she said.

Snowboard instructor Peggy Barrett said she had enjoyed her first full season working at Hoodoo. “It’s really fun; it’s a great environment,” Barrett said. “I mean, it’s not the biggest mountain, but that’s not all that matters.”

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