Hoodoo (copy)

Skiers and snowboarders ride up the Easy Rider lift during opening day at Hoodoo Ski Area in 2019.

A new carpet lift and a new day of the week for skiing and snowboarding awaits guests at Hoodoo Ski Area this coming season.

The small resort near Sisters has installed a 200-foot-long conveyor-belt system lift near the Easy Rider chairlift that allows novice skiers and snowboarders easy access up the slope to the east of Easy Rider.

“It allows for an easier transition if you’re at a point where maybe you’re not ready to get on a chairlift but would like to take some laps on a shorter section of the hill,” said Leif Williams, vice president of marketing for Hoodoo.

The carpet lift will also help to ease some of the congestion at the Easy Rider lift, one of the more crowded lifts at Hoodoo, he said.

“We’re well known for not having lines, except for that chairlift,” Williams said.

“You should be able to get more laps in on a busy day, and not spend a lot of time standing in line while learning to ski,” added Matthew McFarland, general manager of Hoodoo.

Hoodoo is known as a

user-friendly mountain that does not intimidate beginner skiers and snowboarders, and as such, the resort hosts a lot of lessons for new snowriders.

“We get a lot of people who are new to the sport,” Williams said. “We wanted to just add more of a way to make it easier for them.”

Similar carpet lifts are used all over the world at ski resorts, theme parks and recreation centers.

All guests can access the carpet lift with a valid lift ticket.

In addition to the new carpet lift, Hoodoo is adding Wednesdays to its operations for the coming season, which will increase night skiing to four weekly sessions. Hoodoo plans to be open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The resort will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. It was previously open Thursdays through Mondays.

“Looking at all the school schedules now, a lot of them effectively have no school on Wednesday,” McFarland said. “So with our increased night-skiing terrain, if we add Wednesday and Wednesday night, that gives another day for families and kids to come and ski. Being open Wednesdays really just seemed like the natural fit.”

Hoodoo opened on Dec. 27 last season and closed in mid-March amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The resort, which is typically open until about mid-April, lost about a month of business in the spring.

Williams said that Hoodoo needs about a 24- to 30-inch base of snow to open for the season.

“We don’t really have a date in mind,” he said. “Hopefully, we get a good base of 20 to 30 inches and it stays there for a little bit and we’re able to get some good compaction on there and run the snow-cats over it. But if it snows 30 inches and rains for two days, that’s not good.”

A forecasted La Niña, which makes for a colder winter with above-average precipitation, is promising for Hoodoo and other Northwest ski resorts.

“We like to open by the second week of December,” McFarland said. “It gives plenty of time to train staff and be ready for the holidays. That’s always the hope.”

When Hoodoo does open, it will do so with COVID-19 restrictions in place.

Under state-mandated guidelines, Hoodoo’s lodge capacity will be reduced to 480 guests, about one-third its normal capacity, Williams said. Tables and chairs will be spaced out and dining options will be more of the grab-and-go variety. Face masks will be required in the lodge and “encouraged” when guests enter the lift lines.

“People will need to be patient as we allow people who come by themselves to not ride with other people, which will increase lines,” Williams said. “We are going to encourage masks when people enter the lift line. A lot of faces will be covered up naturally.”

Guests will also be encouraged to use their vehicles as their gathering spot when the lodge is at capacity.

“But we have additional dry camping spots for overnight guests and still have a lot of opportunities for people to enjoy the nightlife and gather at their own RV spot at night,” Williams said.

For more information, visit skihoodoo.com.

Reporter: 541-383-0318,

mmorical@bendbulletin.com

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