by: Randy Rogers - 8th January 2008

  • 5
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 5All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 4Family Friendly
  • 4Aprés Ski
  • 3Terrain Park
  • Overall Value
Best place in Oregon to ski in a storm
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Full review

If you know me, you know I have no reason to bullshit. About anything. My first turns were at Willamette Pass. The last turns I made were there last weekend...absolutely incredible. Easily half of my top ten runs in my life have been at Willamette Pass. The others? Les Arcs, France - six feet of new just before the 1992 Olympics opened. La Parva, Chile - 15 inches of 15 degree snow at 13,000 feet in August. Val Thorens, France - nearly whiteout conditions. 4000 feet of vertical without a tree, up to our waist. You get the picture. I have matched each of those experiences at the local hill. Try the time we had 108 inches new after a monster storm. Fifteen degrees. Snorkle time for first tracks down Northern Exposure. Made my son take the day off from school for part of his education. Willamette Pass has the terrain and it gets the snow. Just last Saturday? 20 degrees, and they only reported 8 inches new. I had at least 40 face shots. Still finding untracked in SDN or West Peak at 2pm. Try to match that ANYWHERE? This spot is wonderous. I read a lot of whining. If you are going to compare it to resorts owned by mega-corporations you will find deficiencies. I say, shut up and get skiing. I had 15,000 vertical in before lunch last Saturday. Without a helo. This place is owned by one wallet. The guy could be doing anything else with the MILLION$ invested so you whiners can complain about not having a shelf to put your gloves in when you pee. You would forget them anyway. You want atmosphere? The bar was made by true craftsmen who cut, trimmed, sanded the golden oak and installed the cut crystal glass that reflects the mountain glow off Eagle Peak from March until closing - sometimes that is in May. The service was great, the waitresses could work at a resort anywhere. You can't beat Jubule Ale...even if it is $4.25 a glass. Its a ski resort. Try the Call of the Wild. If they make it right you will howl at the moon. Just don't overdo it or you won't be out racking up non-stops in SDN after lunch. Dare ya. Find anywhere in America that has better terrain at better value? Check my list of resorts before you brag about your somewhere. Oh, I forgot they didn't have Alta on the list. Willamette Pass is Oregon's Alta. Old school, kick ass, people who ski for the core experience? You can hear the tele crowd laughing in the woods. Who needs a terrain park, whiners? The whole 550 acres has more drops, natural rails, cliffs than you can handle. Oh, I forgot you want crap where your buddies can ooooh and ahhh at you. Try the trees between Goodtimes and High Lead. Try the Dragon's Back. Rip it down Cherokee Ridge. Try Way to F%$#ing Harry. Yeah, you won't find these names on the trail map. Why clue weenies into the good stuff. If you can walk the walk? Ski Willamette Pass. Ski it, Ride it, Live it! For real... oh, and for Apres Ski? Where in the world can you match the ambiance at Manley's Tavern? Get the chicken and jojos - gulp down the hot mustard. Gooooood stuff. Post your photo of a 20 pound lake trout or 4 pound Brown. Chicks will dig it. Mix with the snowmobile crowd. Lodging? Try the Kokanee Lodge at Shelter Cove Resort. Doesn't get any better. Anywhere. I have lived in Aspen "Dog" and this place is skiing at its core. Family Atmoshpere? Where can you find the combination of a Magic Carpet, Sleepy Hollow, and a 1.2 mile beginner run at this price? Not Breckenfridge or Vail? Plus you can't get lost deciding which lodge you are going to meet at for lunch. Good enough for me. Good enough for my son Ketchum. Oh, and he has skied on three continents too. Love's Willamette as much as I do. Look me up, I will give you the tour of places that will leave your jaw dislocated. That is before we go off piste.
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