Yesterday, the 2019/20 North American ski season officially came to a close.
Timberline, Oregon is known for having the longest ski season in North America. Their traditional winter season typically starts early November and finishes Memorial Day weekend. Their summer season then starts back up early June and continues through Labor Day, and sometimes even longer. This season, Timberline opened their summer season under different circumstances May 15th, albeit with COVID-19 restrictions, and decided to call it on August 30th.
During their summer season, Timberline runs the iconic Palmer Chair. The Palmer Chair accesses high alpine terrain underneath the imposing peak and glacier of Mt. Hood. In fact, the chair is usually completely buried during the winter season, and mainly only runs in the summer. Summer camps for race and freestyle training flock to Timberline, as well as diehard skiers looking for summer turns.
While we may want to forget it, it’s no secret the winter 19/20 ski season was one that will not be forgotten anytime soon. The season started off as normal and then made quite the turn once COVID-19 made its way to North America in early 2020. Ski resorts across the country (and World) closed down seemingly overnight. Spring break travelers were caught in mountain towns with the resort closed, mountain employees were stuck in limbo, and everyone seemed unsure what the best foot forward would be.
While Timberline implemented health and safety protocols for COVID-19, it’s great to see that they were able to open back up and provide a sense of normalcy. I’m sure it was a great learning experience for the staff and the industry as a whole of what to expect operationally next season. Speaking of next season, resorts are prepping and snowmaking guns should be firing up soon enough. Winter is coming.