UCC’s ski/snowboard class was canceled in previous years due to lack of snow, but with record snowfall nearly in our backyard, now might be the time to dust off your boards or skis and smash some gnarly powder.

Willamette Pass offers different packages including group packages. Students interested in starting a UCC ski club or just getting some friends together could take advantage of group pricing with 15 or more members. With your group package you get discounts on lift tickets and rentals. Every group package at Willamette Pass also comes with one free lift ticket.

Snowboarding classes, a full service rental shop, and Wi-Fi are some amenities. Other amenities include cafeteria dining bench style. If you’re planning to be a spectator, bring a comfy chair. If you’re poor like me, you can also bring food; prices get a bit expensive up there.

Tickets for adults without a group discount run $49. If you are planning to take your family, a daily ticket to ride starts at $30 for lift-lickers (children 6 to 10 years old). Masters (age 65+) only have to pay $30.

It’s cool if you don’t know the lingo; it won’t keep you from suffering a serious biff. Beginners can take advantage of lessons that are offered at these resorts. There are a few packages to choose from at Willamette Pass. The 1-2-3 program includes three group lessons, a lower mountain lift ticket, and rentals for $139. Willy offers a “First Timer” program that includes lower mountain lift access and rentals. Instructors will introduce you to the facilities, ski area safety, and lead you through a beginner skiing or snowboarding progression. Other packages start at $35 each person for groups and $65 for private individual lessons.

Beginners also learn that skiing/snowboarding is a great workout.  According to Dr. John W. Castellani, an exercise physiologist at the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, “It’s never too cold to work out.” Exercise keeps your heart pumping and will boost your number of virus-killing cells making it easier to fight a cold or the flu.

As experienced skiers and snowboarders already know, having the right attire is also important. First you want to make sure your clothing keeps you warm and dry. Be aware that ski resorts don’t rent clothes. If you do to buy at the resort, expect to pay more than you would at your local sporting goods store. Goggles will be necessary, and you can pick up a decent pair at Big 5 starting around $20 before you go. If you are advanced, consider a helmet in case catching big air goes bad and you pack it in the snow.

If you’re new to snowboarding, I have some advice to help you when renting a board. I once as a newb rented the wrong gear when the guy at the counter asked me “goofy or regular?” Trying to be cool, I chose regular because goofy sounded, goofy.

I learned the hard way I had made the wrong decision. The difference is in how your body likes to position itself. Think of it as riding a skateboard, if you have ever done that. You are regular if you lead with your right foot, meaning your right front stands on the front of the board. Goofy is the opposite.

If you’re new to skiing or snowboarding, learn the slope ratings. If you get on the wrong lift, you’re gonna have a bad time. Each trail has a difficulty level. See the posters of the mountain located around the resort, and look for the diamond ratings which indicate slope difficulty. Check at the lift before boarding for its name and difficulty level. For your first time, it can be scary getting off the lift, so ask the operator to slow down the lift to help you get off safely.

Waldron’s on Garden Valley in Roseburg rents snowboards and cross country skis. If you already own skis or a board, they can fill in scratches and wax them up for you.

Dakota Carter of Waldron’s reminds people they need Oregon Sno-Park passes to park their vehicle while enjoying the slopes. Passes can be purchased at DMV.  An annual pass is $25, weekend permits go for $9 and a one-day pass is only $4. You can buy these passes elsewhere, but they will likely cost more.

So get your friends together and take advantage of the group prices and record snowfall.  The snow won’t last long; plan your trip now.  Slackers ride slush!

mark hamel portrait
Provided by Mark Hamel
Students Mark Hamel and his friend Chris Jewell are out shredding the Oregon slopes this winter.